Federico Rabuffetti

Federico Rabuffetti

Associate Professor


313-577-8822 (fax)


Chem 181



Federico Rabuffetti

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

Inorganic and Hybrid Materials, Solution and Solid-State Chemistry, Lanthanide Chemistry, Luminescence



Our group is interested in establishing chemical and structural principles enabling the design of materials with tailored reactivity and luminescence response. We seek to achieve this goal by exploring novel and exotic chemical compositions and through a fundamental understanding of composition-structure and structure-luminescence relationships. This understanding lays the foundation for technology deployment in fields such as health care, sustainable energy conversion, microelectronics, and defense.

Our research bridges the areas of inorganic and solid-state chemistry (synthesis and reactivity), structural chemistry (crystallography and structure analysis), physical chemistry (spectroscopy and photophysics), and analytical chemistry (instrumentation, measurement, and sensor development).

Materials that are the focus of our studies include inorganic and organic-inorganic hybrid solids in a variety of form factors such as single crystals, bulk polycrystalline solids, nanocrystals, and thin films. Among the synthesis routes used to prepare these materials are liquid-phase air-free synthesis (Schlenk-line based), high-temperature solid-state reaction (conventional and microwave), solvothermal synthesis, and spin coating. Once in hand, their chemical composition, morphology, structure, reactivity, and luminescence are probed using a plethora of analytical techniques including elemental analysis, NMR, TGA/DSC-MS, S/TEM, EDS elemental mapping, X-ray and neutron diffraction, X-ray and neutron pair distribution function, XANES/XAFS, UV-vis and diffuse reflectance spectroscopies, Raman spectroscopy, and spectrofluorometry. Our group makes extensive use of synchrotron and neutron sources at the Advanced Photon Source (Argonne National Laboratory), Advanced Light Source (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), and the Spallation Neutron Source (Oak Ridge National Laboratory).

Research topics include:

Synthesis and reactivity of mono- and bimetallic halogenated organic-inorganic hybrids.
Discovery of novel metal-organic precursors to mixed-metal halides and mixed-halides.
Solid-state chemistry and nanochemistry of lanthanides.
Understanding the impact of crystal-chemistry on the photophysics of thermosensitive phosphors.
Discovery of chemically and structurally tunable luminescent nanocrystals for biophotonic sensing.
Development of oxide phosphors as optical temperature sensors for extreme environments.
Instrumentation and method development for luminescent sensor testing.



  • Ph.D. Chemistry, Northwestern University 2010
  • M.Sc. Chemistry, Universidad de la Republica (Uruguay) 2004
  • B. Sc. Chemistry, Universidad de la Republica (Uruguay) 2001

Selected publications

Munasinghe, H.N.; Szlag, R.G.; Imer, M.R.; and Rabuffetti, F.A. “Synthesis, Structure, and Luminescence of Mixed-Ligand Lanthanide Trifluoroacetates”. Inorganic Chemistry 2022, 61, 5588-5594.

Dhanapala, B.D.; Munasinghe, H.N.; Dissanayake, K.T.; Suescun, L.; and Rabuffetti, F.A. “Expanding the Synthetic Toolbox to Access Pristine and Rare-Earth-Doped BaFBr Nanocrystals”. Dalton Transactions 2021, 50, 16092-16098.

Perera, S.S.;* Munasinghe, H.N.;* Yatooma, E.N; and Rabuffetti, F.A. (*equal contribution) “Microwave-Assisted Solid-State Synthesis of NaRE(MO4)2 Phosphors (RE = La, Pr, Eu, Dy; M = Mo, W)”. Dalton Transactions 2020, 49, 7914-7919.

Amarasinghe, D.K. and Rabuffetti, F.A. “Bandshift Luminescence Thermometry Using Mn4+:Na4Mg(WO4)3 Phosphors”. Chemistry of Materials 2019, 31, 10197-10204.

Szlag, R.G.; Suescun, L.; Dhanapala, B.D.; and Rabuffetti, F.A. “Rubidium-Alkaline-Earth Trifluoroacetate Hybrids as Self-Fluorinating Single-Source Precursors to Mixed-Metal Fluorides”. Inorganic Chemistry 2019, 58, 3041–3049. 

Perera, S.S.; Dissanayake, K.T.; and Rabuffetti, F.A. “Alkaline-Earth Fluorohalide Nanocrystals for Upconversion Thermometry”. Journal of Luminescence 2019, 207, 416–423.

Dissanayake, K.T. and Rabuffetti, F.A. “Multicolor Emission in Chemically and Structurally Tunable Er:Yb:SrFX (X = Cl, Br) Upconverting Nanocrystals”. Chemistry of Materials 2018, 30, 2453–2462.

Dhanapala, D.B.; Munasinghe, H.N; Suescun, L.; and Rabuffetti, F.A. “Bimetallic Trifluoroacetates as Single-Source Precursors for Fluoroperovskites”. Inorganic Chemistry 2017, 56, 13311–13320.

Perera, S.S.;§ Amarasinghe, D.K.;§ Dissanayake, K.T.; and Rabuffetti, F.A. (§equal contribution). “Average and Local Crystal Structure of β-Er:Yb:NaYF4 Upconverting Nanocrystals Probed by X-ray Total Scattering”. Chemistry of Materials 2017, 29, 6289–6297.


Currently teaching

  • CHM 1230 General Chemistry Laboratory, W2021
  • CHM 3020 Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry, W2021




Courses taught

  • CHM 1220/1225 General Chemistry I
  • CHM 3020 Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry
  • CHM 6060/7060 Materials Chemistry and Engineering