Department of Chemistry at Illinois State University

Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty


Lisa F Szczepura

Professor, Inorganic Chemistry

Office Address: 313 Science Laboratory Building
Office Phone: (309) 438-2359
Office Hours: M 10-11 a.m.; T 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Email: Contact Lisa Szczepura (lfszcze)
Website: Visit Lisa Szczepura’s Website
Teaching Schedule:
Course NumberSectionCourse NameTimeRoom NumberCourse Links
CHE290.021Research in Chemistry   
CHE490.021Research in Chemistry   
Teaching Interests:
Inorganic Chemistry, Organometallic Chemistry and General Chemistry.
Research Interests:

Research in the Szczepura group involves exploring the chemistry of supraoctahedral clusters with the basic formula [M63-X)8L6]n where M = Mo or Re, and X = halide or chalcogenide.  We are particularly interested in developing synthetic methodologies which will enable us to design new cluster complexes.  We are also interested in conducting fundamental studies which will allow us to understand ligand effects on the physical properties and reactivity of these new cluster complexes.  This knowledge is essential for the deliberate application of supraoctahedral clusters towards specific applications such as catalysis.

Students conducting research in the Szczepura group synthesize and characterize new transition metal cluster complexes, and are trained to work with air sensitive compounds (glove box and Schlenk line techniques).  Common characterization techniques include NMR (1H,13C and 31P), IR and UV-vis spectroscopies, X-ray crystallography and cyclic voltammetry.  In addition, our laboratory is equipped with a state-of-the-art rapid scanning spectrophotometer with a stopped flow device. This instrument enables us to conduct detailed analyses of very fast reactions.

Activation of Small Molecules:  Recently, we demonstrated that the hexanuclear [Re6Se8]2+ cluster core activates organonitriles to undergo a [2+3] dipolar cycloaddition reaction with NaN3 (Chem. Commun. 2007, 4617-4619).  Specifically, [Re6Se8(PEt3)5(MeCN)]2+ and N3- react to form [Re6Se8(PEt3)5(1,5-methyltetrazolate)]+ within minutes at room temperature.  Our findings mark the first time rhenium has activated an organonitrile to undergo a cycloaddition reaction, and the first hexanuclear cluster complex to contain this type of N-donor ligand.  There is a great deal of interest in tetrazoles because they have such varied uses, in addition to their use in synthetic organic chemistry.  We are currently exploring the scope and mechanism of small molecule activation by the [Re6Se8]2+ cluster core.

Luminescent Properties of Hexanuclear Clusters: It is well known that both the hexanuclear molybdenum halide and rhenium chalcogenide cluster complexes display interesting photophysical properties.  In fact, [Mo­63-Cl)8Cl6]2- is known to have one of the longest excited state lifetimes for a transition metal complex.  In the process of characterizing a new series of [Mo­6Cl8(SR)6]2- (R = Et, Bu, benzyl, Ph, 3-indolyl) clusters, we investigated their luminescent properties.  Shown here are emission spectra of (Bu4N)2[Mo6Cl8(SEt)6] in MeCN at three different excitation wavelengths.  (These studies were done in collaboration with Prof. D. Cedeño.)  In a manuscript published in the Journal of Cluster Science (2009, 20, 105-112) we provide the excited state lifetimes and quantum yields of these thiolate complexes.  Notably, we found that the [Mo6Cl8(SR)6]2- complexes exhibit long excited state lifetimes.  Although the emission maximum does not vary with a change in the substituent on the thiolate ligand, there is a correlation between the substituents and the excited state lifetime and quantum yield.  We have also collaborated with Prof. Cedeño on a study investigating a family of [Re6S8(PEt3)nCl6-n]4-n (n = 1 – 4) clusters (Inorg. Chem. 2010, 49, 11386-11394).

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: The educational component of my NSF CAREER award (2003-08) resulted in the development and implementation of a program aimed at improving the success rate of underrepresented minorities majoring in the sciences at Illinois State University (ISU).  The program, titled the Enrichment Workshop Program (EWP), offered a small group of incoming students a unique opportunity to become part of a support group where they could network with faculty and other minority students.  The development and preliminary assessment of this program are detailed in a manuscript published in The Chemical Educator (2010, 15, 126-133).

NSF Postdoctoral Fellow (1995-97), University of Illinois, Urbana
Ph.D. (1994) State University of New York at Buffalo 
B.S. (1989) State Unversity of New York at Buffalo
Selected Publications:
Y. Ren, A. M. Bruck, L. F. Szczepura, "Octa-μ3-selenido-pentakis(triethylphosphane-ΚP)(trimethylacetonitrile-ΚN)-octahedro-hexarhenium(III) bis(hexafluoridoantimonate) trimethylacetonitrile monosolvate," Acta Crystallographica Section E: Structure Reports Online, 2014, E70 (7), m242-m243. doi:10.1107/S1600536814011982

W. B. Wilson, K. Stark, D. B. Johnson, Y. Ren, H. Ishida, D. L. Cedeño, L. F. Szczepura, "Photophysical Properties of a Series of Rhenium Selenide Cluster Complexes Containing Nitrogen-Donor Ligands," European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, 2014, 2014 (13), 2254-2261. doi:10.1002/ejic.201301626

S. A. Knott, J. N. Templeton, J. L. Durham, A. M. Howard, R. McDonald, L. F. Szczepura, "Azide alkyne cycloaddition facilitated by hexanuclear rhenium chalcogenide cluster complexes," Dalton Transactions, 2013, 42, 8132-8139. doi:10.1039/C3DT50436K

J. L. Durham, J. N. Tirado, S. A. Knott, M. K. Oh, R. McDonald, L. F. Szczepura, "Preparation of a Family of Hexanuclear Rhenium Cluster Complexes Containing 5-(Phenyl)tetrazol-2-yl Ligands and Alkylation of 5-Substituted Tetrazolate Ligands," Inorganic Chemistry, 2012, 51 (14), 7825-7836. doi:10.1021/ic300877r

L. F. Szczepura, D. L. Cedeño, D. B. Johnson, R. McDonald, S. A. Knott, K. M. Jeans, J. L. Durham, "Substitution of the Terminal Chloride Ligands of [Re6S8Cl6]4- with Triethylphosphine: Photophysical and Electrochemical Properties of a New Series of [Re6S8]2+ Based Clusters," Inorganic Chemistry, 2010, 49 (24), 11386-11394. doi:10.1021/ic101348h

L. F. Szczepura, K. M. Jeans, W. J. F. Hunter, "Development and Preliminary Assessment of the Enrichment Workshop Program: A Program Aimed at Helping Underrepresented Minorities in the Sciences," Chemical Educator, 2010, 15, 126-133. doi:10.1007/s00897102265a

L. F. Szczepura, J. A. Edwards, D. L. Cedeño, “Luminescent Properties of Hexanuclear Molybdenum(II) Chloride Clusters Containing Thiolate Ligands,” Journal of Cluster Science, 2009, 20 (1), 105-112. doi:10.1007/s10876-008-0214-5

L. F. Szczepura, K. A. Ketcham, B. A. Ooro, J. A. Edwards, J. N. Templeton, D. L. Cedeño, A. J. Jircitano, "Synthesis and Study of Hexanuclear Molybdenum Clusters Containing Thiolate Ligands," Inorganic Chemistry, 2008, 47 (16), 7271-7278. doi:10.1021/ic800613d

L. F. Szczepura, M. K. Oh, S. A. Knott, "Synthesis and Electrochemical Study of the First Tetrazolate Hexanuclear Rhenium Cluster Complex," Chemical Communications, 2007, 44, 4617-4619. doi:10.1039/B708390D

C. D. Stevenson, R. C. Reiter, L. F. Szczepura, S. J. Peters, "Polycyclooctatetraeneoxy Alkane Polyanionic Polyradicals,” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2005, 127 (1), 421-427. doi:10.1021/ja046312+

T. D. Lash, D. A. Colby, L. F. Szczepura, "New Riches in Carbaporphyrin Chemistry: Silver and Gold Organometallic Complexes of Benzocarbaporphyrins," Inorganic Chemistry, 2004, 43 (17), 5258-5267. doi:10.1021/ic0400540

L. F. Szczepura, S. R. Hitchcock, G. P. Nora, "(5S,6R)-3,4,5,6-Tetrahydro-5-methyl-6-phenyl-4- propyl-2H-1,3,4-oxadiazin-2-one," Acta Crystallographica, 2004, E60 (9), o1467-o1469. doi:10.1107/S160053680401829X

T. D. Lash, D. A. Colby, S. R. Graham, G. M. Ferrence, L. F. Szczepura, "Organometallic Chemistry of Azuliporphyrins: Synthesis, Spectroscopy, Electrochemistry and Structural Characterization of Nickel(II), Palladium(II), and Platinum(II) Complexes of Azuliporphyrins," Inorganic Chemistry, 2003, 42 (22), 7326-7338. doi:10.1021/ic030166b

L. F. Szczepura, B. A. Ooro, S. R. Wilson, "Synthesis of Hexanuclear Molybdenum Clusters Containing Phosphine Oxide Ligands," Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 2002, 16, 3112-3116. doi:10.1039/B200792D