James Kercher, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry

James Kercher


I grew up on Long Island, NY and lived there until attending college. I received my Bachelor of Science from Gettysburg College and went directly to graduate school at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. There, I earned my MA and PhD in Physical Chemistry under the direction of Professor Tomas Baer. My research focused on unimolecular reaction dynamics in the gas-phase.

After graduating from UNC-CH, I became a Camile and Henry Dreyfus Post Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences working with Professor Joel Thornton. I spent two years there conducting laboratory and field-based measurements.

I joined the Hiram College faculty in 2009 and continue my scholarship in both areas, now using the velocity map double imaging photo electron photo ion coincidence time of flight mass spectrometer at the vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) beamline of the Swiss Light Source (SLS) at the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) in Villigen Switzerland.

I enjoy being in the classroom and working with students in the lab, but I also enjoy working with them outside of the class in areas such as Habitat for Humanity. I enjoy the outdoors and take every opportunity to visit Hiram College’s Northwoods Field Station in the UP.


  • Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, UNC -Chapel Hill
    • December, 2006
    • Research Advisor: Professor Tomas Baer
    • Thesis: On Parallel and Sequential Dissociations in Energy Selected Ions
  • M.A., Physical Chemistry, UNC – Chapel Hill
    • May, 2004
    • Research Advisor: Professor Tomas Baer
    • Thesis: A TPEPICO Study of Triethyl Phosphine and Various Dihalomethanes
  • B.S., Chemistry, Gettysburg College
    • May, 2002
    • Research Advisor: Michael Wedlock

Research Interests

Our group studies unimolecular dissociation dynamics using imaging photoelectron photoion coincidence time-of-flight mass spectrometery. This work is carried out at vacuum ultraviolet beamline of the Swiss Lisght Source maintained at the Paul Scherer Institut in Villigen, Switzerland.

Our group also investigates tropospheric halogen chemistry, nocturnal ozone and nitrogen oxide cycling reactions, and the atmospheric chemistry of environmental interfaces using mass spectrometry.

Selected Publications

  • [1] Krisztina Voronova, Krisztian G. Torma, James P. Kercher, Andras Bodi, and Balint Sztaray. “Dissociative Photionization of Chromium Hexacarbonyl: A Round-Trip Ticket to Non-Statisticality and a Detective Story in Thermochemistry”. Int. J. Mass Spec. 438, 63-71 (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.ijms.2018.12.010.
  • [2] Andras Bodi, Tomas Baer, Nancy Wells, Daniel Fakhoury, David Klecyngier, and James P. Kercher. “Tunnelling control and controlling tunnel in methane abstraction from acetone ions”. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 17(43), 2015. DOI: 10.1039/c5cp02944a.
  • [3] Eileen M. Russell, Elvis Cudjoe, Michael E. Mastromatteo, James P. Kercher, Balint Sztaray, and Andras Bodi. “From Iron Pentacarbonyl to the Iron Ion by Imaging Photoelectron Photoion Coincidence”. J. Phys. Chem. A., 117(22), 4556-4563, 2013. DOI: 10.1021/jp402443e.
  • [4] Joel A. Thornton, James P. Kercher, Theran P. Reidel, Nicholas L. Wagner, Julie Cozic, John S. Holloway, Willian P. Dube, Glenn M. Wolfe, Patricia K. Quinn, Ann M. Middlebrook, Becky Alexander, Steven S. Brown. “A large atomic chlorine source inferred from mid-continental reactive nitrogen chemistry”. Nature, 2010, 464, 271.
  • [5] James P. Kercher, Theran P. Reidel, and Joel A. Thornton. “Chlorine Activation by N2O5: Simultaneous, In Situ Detection of ClNO2 and N2O5 by Chemical Ionizaiton Mass Spectrometry”. Atmos. Meas.Tech.,2009, 2, 1-12.

Fun Facts

  • I love being outdoors backpacking, cycling, climbing, ice climbing, and kayaking.
  • I spent 40 days at sea on a Navy Research Vessel Knorr as part of the International Experiment of the Arctic Lower Troposphere.

Additional Links

PDF Icon linked to my CV