Theodore Dibble

Theodore S. Dibble
Associate Chair and Professor

421 Jahn Lab
1 Forestry Dr.
Syracuse, New York 13210

Phone: (315) 470-6596 Extension: 0



Ph.D., 1992, University of Michigan. Postdoctoral, Wayne State University (1992-1994), Purdue University (1994-1995), California Institute of Technology (1995-1996)

Theodore Dibble is interested in the chemistry of organic compounds important for energy and the environment. His research focuses mostly on atmospheric chemistry and the combustion of biofuels. The tools of the Dibble group range from standard analytical instrumentation to lasers and computational chemistry.

Atmospheric Chemistry

Image of a molecule

Click to animate

The main focus is alkoxy radicals, whose chemistry influences production of ozone and aerosols.  We are extending our studies to alkoxy radicals with functional groups, for which direct experimental data is lacking. We are also investigating deuterium isotope effects in the reaction:

image showing how isoprene is produced

because it tests our understanding of the kinetics and dynamics of alkoxy + O2 reactions, generally, and because the HD produced from CHD=O is monitored to investigate the global hydrogen cycle.

We maintain an interest in isoprene chemistry, and have begun investigating the atmospheric chemistry of gas-phase elemental mercury. Another recent focus has been alkoxy and peroxy radicals containing intramolecular hydrogen bonds to their radical centers, whose hydrogen bonds can promote unusual chemistry. Click thumbnail of molecule above to view animation.

Combustion of Biofuels

We are investigating how molecular structure affects the ignition of biodiesel fuel and the production of Hazardous Air Pollutants. Biodiesel fuel is composed of methyl esters of long chain fatty acids. The key reaction in ignition involves the isomerization of peroxy radicals, ROO•, as illustrated below. This reaction can lead to ignition of diesel fuel, while competing reactions do not. The reaction coordinate diagram below shows that the activation barriers for isomerization does not depend in a simple way on reaction thermochemistry. This figure also suggests that the presence of C=C double bonds and ester groups in biodiesel fuel can enormously influence the kinetics of diesel ignition.  The Arrhenius plot shows the enormous effect of structure on reaction rate constants. Competition between reactions determines the extent of formation of aldehydes and other pollutants.

image showing how isoprene is produced   arrhenius

Pollution Control

We are beginning to investigate the degradation of organic compounds by non-thermal plasmas, particularly electron beams. The organic compounds of interest are ordinary pollutants or chemical warfare agents (we use safer analogues in our laboratory). We are asking basic questions about effectiveness and reaction mechanism, which will be answered by determining destruction rate and product yields, kinetic modeling, and determination of radical concentrations in plasmas by cavity ringdown spectroscopy.


Follow me on ResearchGate.


Email me if you want further information about my research! 

If you want more information about the graduate program, please follow this link to a brief form.

Follow this link for Information on Graduate Admissions in Chemistry

Selected Publications

Complete Listing


Current Graduate Advisees

Current Graduate Advisees

Yuge JiaoYuge Jiao

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Dibble
  • Area of Study: Environmental Chemistry

Web Link

Brian MorganBrian Morgan

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Dibble
  • Area of Study: Environmental Chemistry


YouTube Channels

ESF | Athletics | Research | Academics | Sustainability | New York | Nature

State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
1 Forestry Drive | Syracuse, NY 13210 | 315-470-6500
Copyright © 2015 | Admissions Information | Webmaster