Michael O'Keeffe

Regents' Professor of Chemistry

Arizona State University


(for contact info, recent publications, etc., go to link M.O'Keeffe at top left)


My research is mainly concerned the atomic and electronic structure and properties of crystalline inorganic solids. Recent work has particularly focused on the geometry of periodic frameworks and its importance in crystal chemistry. Immediate goals are to design possible topologies, to evaluate which of these would serve as the basis for materials of interesting and useful properties (e.g. gas adsorption and catalytic properties), and to discover routes for their synthetic realization.

I, and my group, work closely with the group lead by Omar Yaghi at the University of California, Berkeley. One of our projects is the Reticular Chemistry Structure Resource - a database of geometrical structures. It is still under development, but you can try it using the link (RCSR) at the left.. A fruitful collaboration with Olaf Delgado-Friedrichs (now at ANU, Canberra) has led to deeper insights into the taxonomy and nature of the nets underlying crystal topology. For Olaf's indispensible proram Systre see link on left. The dissection of periodic structures into tilings has been especially fruitful in this regard. The picture at the top of this page illustrates 5 tiles ("adamantane units") of the diamond net. The group at ASU interested in such things is known as the "Net-Pickers"— the Net-Pickers link lists recent publications of the group. We are also part of a larger group interested in the boundary between mathematics and crystal chemistry – see the Lyon2007 picture in the "nice pictures" link.

I also have a long-standing collaboration with John Spence (ASU Physics) using electron diffraction to get accurate information on electron density in crystals and to interpret this in terms of bonding models.

My book, Crystal Structures: Patterns & Symmetry, with Bruce Hyde can be downloaded as pdf files from link on left.