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John E. Bartmess

Professor Emeritus


I’m now retired , though with emeritus status (still research active, though I don’t run a research group), after 42 years as faculty. My research career has focused on physical organic chemistry, reaction mechanisms, solvation effects, and thermochemistry. This has been done using three main techniques: (1) ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry, to look at experimental gas phase ion/molecule chemistry, including numeric rate constants and equilibria such as gas phase acidities and basicities, (2) solution calorimetry, to examine the thermochemistry of solvation, relative to the gas phase thermochemistry just mentioned, and (3) computational chemistry, as an adjunct to the two previous experimental areas, allowing insight into the structures of gas phase species, and their thermochemistry.

As part of all this, I have been funded by NIST since 1983, to collect gas phase ion thermochemistry (notably gas phase acidities and basicities,  electron affinities, and clustering/ solvation energetics) from the literature, compile them into a database, and most importantly evaluate them, as to which are the best, and which are not accurate. The product is submitted to NIST as yearly updates to the NIST Webbook {}.  This has just been funded again for 2019-2023. I am also still writing up projects from before retirement.


Professor Bartmess joined the Tennessee faculty in 1984. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Northwestern University in 1975 under the direction of Dr. Frederick Bordwell. Following his Ph.D., he performed postdoctoral research with Robert McIver at the University of California at Irvine and was a member of the chemistry faculty at Indiana University.


B.A., Rice University (1970)
Ph.D., Northwestern University (1975)


Stokes, S.T.; Bartmess, J.E; Buonaugurioc, SA.; Wang, Y.; Eustisc, S.N.; Bowen, K.H,Jr.,  “Anion Photoelectron Spectroscopy of the Linear CnH2n+1O- (n = 1-9) Alkoxides,”  Chem. Phys. Lett. 2019, 732, 136638.

Song, L.; Chuah, W.C.; Quick, J.D.; Remsen, E.; Bartmess, J.E. “Nitrogen direct analysis in real time time-of-flight mass spectrometry (N2 DART-TOFMS) for rapid screening of forensic drugs,” Rapid Commun, Mass Spectrom. 2019, 33(),

Bartmess, J.E., “The Brønsted Acid/Base Character of the N-N and N=N Bonds” in “The Chemistry of The NN Bond,” Rappoport, Z.; Liebman, J.E., Eds., Wiley, 2019.Vol. 1, part 2, Ch. 10. ISBN 978-0-470-68263-0

Song, L.; Chuah, W. C.; Lu, X.; Remsen, E.; Bartmess, J.E. “Ionization Mechanism of Positive-Ion Nitrogen Direct Analysis in Real Time,” J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom, 2018, 29(4), 640-650. DOI: 10.1007/s13361-017-1885-7

Song, L.; Bartmess, J.E. “Ionization Mechanisms of Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART),” Chapter for “Ambient Ionization Mass Spectrometry,” Domin, M.; Cody, R.B., Eds. RSC Publications 2014.

Bartmess, J.E.; Liebman, J. “Pushing and Pulling Electrons: The Effect on the Heat of Formation of Trifluoromethyl Compounds”, Structural Chemistry, 2013 24, 2035-2045.

Bartmess, J.E.; Pagni, R.M. “A Photochemical Mechanism for Homochirogenesis. Part 2,” Chirality  2013, 25, 16-21.

Zhu, Zhenqian; Song, Liguo; Bartmess, J.E. "Differentiation of underivatized monosaccharides by atmospheric pressure chemical ionization quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry", Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 2012, 26(11) 1320-1328.

Ionization Mechanism of Positive-Ion Direct Analysis in Real Time: A Transient Microenvironment Concept.  L. Song, S, Gibson, D. Bhandari, K. Cook, and J.E. Bartmess, Anal. Chem. 81, 10080 (2009)

Liquid Chromatography/Negative Ion Atmospheric Pressure Photoionization Mass Spectrometry: a Highly Sensitive Method for the Analysis of Organic Explosives, L. Song and J.E. Bartmess, Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 23, 77 (2009).

A Photochemical Mechanism for Homochirogenesis, R.M. Pagni and J.E. Bartmess, J. Phys. Chem. A 111, 10604 (2007).

The Gas Phase Acidities of the Elemental Hydrides are Functions of Bond Lengths and Electronegativity J.E. Bartmess and R.J. Hinde, Can. J. Chem. 83 2005 (2005).

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