Gary Gray. Professor
Chemistry Building 288
(205) 934-8094

Research Interests: Synthesis and Characterization of New Poly-functional Inorganic and Organometallic Compounds with Applications as Catalysts, Sensor Elements and Sensor Protectors.

Teaching Interests: Honors General Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, NMR Spectroscopy and Small-molecule X-ray Crystallography. 

Office Hours: By appointment

  • BS, Lehigh University, Chemistry
  • PhD, Lehigh University, Inorganic Chemistry

I am originally from north-central Pennsylvania and received my education at the Lehigh University (BS and PhD) in southeastern Pennsylvania. I then stayed in the Lehigh Valley for five years working at J. T. Baker Chemical Co. (Phillipsburg, NJ) on the development of new plant growth regulators and deep-UV photoresists. I was awarded patents in each of these areas.

I then decided to pursue an academic career and accepted a position as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at UAB in 1983. I was promoted to Associate Professor in 1989 and to Professor in 1999. My two daughters both attended Vestavia High School; one went to Auburn University and the other to the University of Alabama. Rita, my wife of nearly 40 years, has worked at both UAB and Southern Research Institute.

My research is in the area of poly-functional inorganic and organometallic compounds with applications as catalysts, sensor elements, and sensor protectors. Research Corporation, the Petroleum Research fund of the American Chemical Society, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Energy, and the US Army have generously supported my research. I enjoy teaching a variety of courses, including General Chemistry, junior and senior Inorganic Chemistry, and advanced graduate courses. In 2011, I initiated the Honors General Chemistry course and continued to teach these courses.

In my spare time, I am involved in sponsoring individuals who are interested in becoming members of the Catholic Church and in preparing and presenting adult education courses on everything from the Bible to the theology of J. R. R. Tolkien.

Curriculum Vitae

My research interests are in three areas of inorganic/organometallic chemistry.
  • The first area of research interest is the synthesis and characterization of metallacrown ethers, complexes formed by the chelation of α,ω-bis(phosphorus donor)polyether ligands to transition metals. These complexes are able to bind a variety of cations and small molecules and have applications as alkene hydroformylation catalysts and as sensors.
  • My second area of research interest is in the incorporation of inorganic and organometallic functional groups into linear polymers. Such polymers may exhibit properties that are quite different from those of the better-known organic polymers and thus have quite different applications.
  • My third area of research interest is in transition metal complexes and phosphine-substituted oligothiophenes as nonlinear optical materials. Our studies have demonstrated that such materials exhibit some of the highest non-resonant third order optical nonlinearities that have been reported and that the phosphine-substituted oligothiophenes are some of the first materials to exhibit nonlinear absorption in the blue spectral region. This research is carried out in collaboration with Dr. Chris Lawson of the UAB Physics Department.
  • Murphy-Jolly, M. B.; Owens, S. B. Jr.; Freeman,  J. L.; Gray, G. M.; Lawson, C. M.; Shelton, D. P. Syntheses, Crystal Structures and Photophysical Measurements of Phosphite-Substituted Schiff Base and Azobenzene Ligands. Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2010, 5263-5271.
  • Zhao, Q.; Wang, J.; Freeman, J. L.; Murphy-Jolly, M.; Wright, A. M.; Scardino, D. J.; Hammer, N. I.; Lawson, C. M.; Gray, G. M. Syntheses, and Optical, Fluorescence, and Nonlinear Optical Characterization of Phosphine-Substituted Terthiophenes. Inorg, Chem. 2011, 50, 2015-2027.
  • Wang, J.; Lawson, C. M.; Zhao, Q.; Gray, G. M. Strong nonlinear optical absorption in the blue spectral region by phosphine-substituted bithiophenes. Opt. Commun. 2011, 284, 390-394.
  • Sheff, J. T.; Lucius, A. L.; Owens, S. B.  Jr; Gray, G. M. Generally Applicable NMR Titration Methods for the Determination of Equilibrium Constants for Coordination Complexes: Syntheses and Characterizations of Metallacrown Ethers with α,ω-Bis(phosphite)-polyether Ligands and Determination of Equilibrium Binding Constants to Li+Organometallics 2011, 30, 5695-5709.
  • Zhao, Q.; Freeman, J. L.; Wang, J.; Zhang, Y.; Hamilton, T. P.; Lawson, C. M.; Gray, G. M. Syntheses, X-ray Crystal Structures, and Optical, Fluorescence, and Nonlinear Optical Characterizations of Diphenylphosphino-Substituted Bithiophenes. Inorg. Chem. 2012, 51, 2016-2030.
  • Hastings, S. D.; Byrd, H.; Gray, L. N.; Jablonsky, M. J.; Freeman, J. L.; Gray, G. M. Multinuclear NMR Spectroscopic and X-ray Crystallographic Studies of Electronic and Steric Effects of Phosphonous Acid Ligands and Their Chlorophosphite Ligand Precursors in Tungsten Pentacarbonyl Complexes. European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry 2013, 2900–2911.
  • Freeman, J. L.; Zhao, Q.; Zhang, Y.; Wang, J.; Lawson, C. M.; Gray, G. M. Synthesis, linear and nonlinear optical properties of phosphonato-substituted bithiophenes derived from 2,2’-biphenol. Dalton Transactions 2013, 42, 14281-14297.
  • Corbin, W. C.; Mai, K. M.; Freeman, J. L.; Hastings, S. D.; Gray, G. M. The Coordination Chemistry of Phosphonites Inorganica Chimica Acta 2013, 407, 223–230.
  • Martin, J. R.; Hastings, S. D.; Freeman, J. L.; Gray, G. M. Synthesis, Characterization and the Thermal Isomerization Mechanism of a Series of Trans-tetracarbonyl-bis(phosphinite)molybdenum(0) Complexes and an Evaluation of Their Potential to form Heterobimetallic Compounds. Journal of Organometallic Chemistry 2014, 751, 695-702.
  • Martin, J. R.; Lucius, A. L.; Gray, G. M. Metallathiacrown Ethers: Synthesis and Characterization of Transition Metal Complexes Containing α,ω-Bis(phosphite)-polythioether ligands and an Evaluation of Their Soft Metal Binding Capabilities. Organometallics,
  • Professor of Chemistry, UAB, 1999-present
  • Associate Professor of Chemistry, UAB, ;1989-1999
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, UAB, 1983-1989
  • Senior Research Chemist, J. T. Baker Chemical Co., Phillipsburg, NJ, 1982-1983
  • Scientist, J. T. Baker Chemical Co., Phillipsburg, NJ, 1978 – 1982
  • Faculty of Character Award, 2014
  • President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2000