Dr. Martin Rahm

Office: 210 Baker Laboratory

Phone: (310) 621-5305

E-mail: martin.rahm(at)


Curiosity driven and passionate, I believe true insight arises from an interdisciplinary perspective. With a broad background in both experimental and computational chemistry, my current focus is the development of new frameworks for rationalizing chemical and physical transformations.  I strive to attain mastery of realistic bottom-up “in silico” design of functional materials, and use quantum chemistry methods to solve both practical and fundamental problems. As a multidisciplinary expert, I enjoy the opportunity to work with and learn from others, both in science and everyday life.

Martin Rahm’s LinkedIn


Research Interests:

–       Prediction of material properties and reaction pathways

–       Chemical descriptors and energy partitioning (chemical bonding, electronegativity, electron delocalization)

–       Quantum chemical topology

–       Energetic materials

–       Prebiotic chemistry


Education and Employment (Selection):

March 2014 –

–       Postdoctoral Research Associate, Cornell University, Ithaca.

Feb 2011 – Feb 2014

–       Senior Research Associate, University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles.

Jul 2006 – Nov 2010

–       PhD in Physical Chemistry, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm

Jul 2001 – May 2006

–       Master of Science in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (MSc), Royal Institute of   Technology (KTH), Stockholm

Sep 2004 – Jul 2005

–       Exchange year, Imperial College, London


Merits and Awards: 

–       The 2013 Arthur Adamson Postdoctoral Recognition Award (for scholarly excellence and innovative postdoctoral research)

–       The Dr. Bernard E. Douda-IPS-Young Scientist Award, 2013.

–       Sweden – America Foundation Post Doctoral Fellow, 2013.

–       Swedish Research Council (VR) Post Doctoral Fellow, 2012.

–       Elected to attend the 63rd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting (Chemistry), 2013. Fellow of the Jörnvall Foundation.

–       Elected to attend the Gordon Conference on Computational Chemistry, 2014

–       Elected to attend the Gordon Conference on Electron Distribution & Chemical Bonding, 2013

–       Elected to attend the Gordon Conference on Energetic Materials, 2012.

–       Awarded scholarships from AstraZeneca, the Erasmus program, KTH School of Chemistry, Styffes foundation and the Nobelska foundation.


Peer-Reviewed Original Articles 

  1. M. Rahm and T. Brinck, Novel 1,3-Dipolar Cycloadditions of Dinitraminic Acid: Implications for the Chemical Stability of Ammonium Dinitramide, J. Phys. Chem. A, 112, 2456, 2008.
  2. M. Rahm and T. Brinck, Dinitraminic acid (HDN) Isomerization and Self-Decomposition Revisited, Chem. Phys., 348, 53, 2008.
  3. H. Dong, M. Rahm, T. Brinck, O. Ramström, Supramolecular Control in Carbohydrate Epimerization: Discovery of a New Anion Host-Guest System, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 130, 15270, 2008.
  4. R. Caraballo, M. Rahm, P. Vongvilai, T. Brinck, O. Ramström, Phosphine-Catalyzed Disulfide Metathesis, Chem. Commun., 48, 6603, 2008.
  5. M. Rahm, T. Brinck, The Anomalous Solid State Decomposition of Ammonium Dinitramide: A Matter of Surface Polarization, Chem. Commun., 20, 2896, 2009.
  6. M. Rahm, R. Westlund , C. Eldsäter, E. Malmström, Tri-Block Copolymers of Polyethylene Glycol and Hyperbranched Poly-3-ethyl-(hydroxymethyl)oxetane Through Cationic Ring Opening Polymerixation, J. Polym. Sci. Part A: Polym. Chem., 47, 6191, 2009.
  7. M. Rahm, T. Brinck, On the Anomalous Decomposition and Reactivity of Ammonium and Potassium Dinitramide J. Phys. Chem. A, 114, 2845, 2010.
  8. M. Rahm, T. Brinck, Kinetic Stability and Propellant Performance of Green Energetic Materials, Chem. Eur. J. 16, 6590, 2010. [One of four “Hottest articles in Green & Sustainable Chemistry” in Chemistry – A European Journal.]
  9. M. Angelin, M. Rahm, A. Fisher, T. Brinck, O. Ramström, Diastereoselective One-Pot Tandem Synthesis of 3-Substituted Isoindolinones: a Mechanistic Investigation, J. Org. Chem. 75, 5882, 2010.
  10. M. Rahm†, S. V. Dvinskikh, I. Furó, T. Brinck†, Experimental Detection of Trinitramide, N(NO2)3 Angew.        Chem. Int. Ed. 50, 1145, 2011. [The 2nd most accessed article of the year in Angewandte Chemie, highlighted in Chemical Engineering News, Chemistry World, and in numerous blogs].
  11. M. Rahm, E. Malmström, C. Eldsäter, Design of an Ammonium Dinitramide Compatible Polymer Matrix, J. Appl. Pol. Sci. 122, 1-11, 2011.
  12. M. Rahm, E. Tyrode, T. Brinck, C. M. Johnson, The Molecular Surface Structure of Ammonium and Potassium Dinitramide: A Vibrational Sum Frequency Spectroscopy and Quantum Chemical Study, J. Phys. Chem. C. 115, 10588, 2011.
  13. G. K. S. Prakash, F. Wang, M. Rahm, J. Shen, C. Ni, R. Haiges, G. A. Olah, On the Nature of C-H···F-C Interactions in Hindered CF3-C(sp3) Bond Rotations, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 50, 11761, 2011.
  14. R. Haiges†, M. Rahm†, D. A. Dixon, E. G. Garner III, K. O. Christe†. Binary Group 15 Polyazides. Structural Characterization of [Bi(N3)4], [Bi(N3)5]2-, [bipy·Bi(N3)5]2-, [Bi(N3)6]3-, bipy·As(N3)3, bipy·Sb(N3)3, and [(bipy)2·Bi(N3)3]2 and on the Lone Pair Activation of Valence Electrons, Inorg. Chem. 51, 1127, 2012.
  15.     M. Angelin, M. Rahm, E. Gabrielsson, L. Gumaelius, Rocket Scientist for a Day: Investigating Alternatives for Chemical Propulsion, J. Chem. Educ. 89, 1301, 2012.
  16. R. Haiges, M. Rahm, K. O. Christe, Unprecedented Conformational Variability in Main Group Inorganic Chemistry: the Tetraazidoarsenite and Antimonite Salts A+[M(N3)4] (A = NMe4, PPh4, (Ph3P)2N; M = As, Sb), Five Similar Salts, Five Different Anion Structures, Inorg. Chem. 52, 402-414, 2013.
  17. H. Dong, M. Rahm, N. Thota, L. Deng, T. Brinck, O. Ramström, Control of the Ambident Reactivity of the Nitrite Ion, Org. Biomol. Chem. 11, 648-653, 2013.
  18. 18.     Bélanger-Chabot, M. Rahm, R. Haiges, K. O. Christe, [BH3C(NO2)3]: The First Room-Temperature Stable (Trinitromethyl)borate, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 52, 11002-11006, 2013.
  19. 19.   Rahm†, K. O. Christe, Quantifying the Nature of Lone Pair Domains, ChemPhysChem, 14, 3714-3725, 2013.
  20. Y. Zhou, M. Rahm, B. Wu, X. Zhang, B. Ren, H. Dong, H-bonding Activation in Highly Regioselective Acetylation of Diols, J. Org. Chem., 78, 11618-11622, 2013.
  21. G. K. S. Prakash, Z. Zhang, F. Wang, M. Rahm, C. Ni, M. Iuliucci, R. Haiges, G. A. Olah, Stereoselective Synthesis of Fluoroalkenoates and Fluorinated Isoxazolidinones: N-Substituents Governing the Dual Reactivity of Nitrones, Chem. Eur. J, 20, 831-838, 2014.
  22. M. Rahm†, G. Bélanger-Chabot, R. Haiges, K. O. Christe, Nitryl Cyanide, NCNO2, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 53, 6893-6897, 2014 [Designated a “Very Important Publication”, awarded a cover page, and highlighted in Chemical Engineering News.]
  23. G. K. S. Prakash, F. Wang, M. Rahm, Z. Zhang, C. Ni, J. Shen, G. A. Olah, The Trifluoromethyl Group as a Conformational Stabilizer and Probe: Conformational Analysis of Cinchona Alkaloid Scaffolds, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 136, 10418-10431, 2014
  24. B.   Ren, M. Rahm†, X. Zhang, Y. Zhou, H. Dong†, Regioselective Acetylation of Diols and Polyols by Acetate Catalysis: Mechanism and Application, J. Org. Chem. 79, 8134-8142, 2014
  25. G. K. S. Prakash, F. Wang, Z. Zhang , R. Haiges, M. Rahm, K. O. Christe, T. Mathews, G. A. Olah, Long-Lived Trifluoromethanide Anion: A Key Intermediate in Nucleophilic Trifluoromethylations, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 53, 11575-11578, 2014. [Designated a “Very Important Publication”, awarded a cover page, and highlighted in Science and in Chemical Engineering News.]
  26. K. O. Christe, W. W. Wilson, G. Bélanger-Chabot, R. Haiges, J. A. Boatz, M. Rahm, G. K. S. Prakash, T. Saal, M. Hopfinger, Synthesis and Characterization of Fluorodinitroamine, FN(NO2)2, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 53, 1-6, 2014
  27. M. Rahm†, A Chemically Meaningful Measure of Electron Localization, J. Chem. Theory Comput. 11, 3617-3628, 2015
  28. M. Rahm†, R. Hoffmann†, Toward an Experimental Quantum Chemistry: Exploring a New Energy Partitioning, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 137, 10282–10291, 2015. [Highlighted in]
  29. G. Bélanger-Chabot, M. Rahm, R. Haiges, K. O. Christe, Ammonia–(Dinitramido)boranes: High-Energy-Density Materials, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 54, 11730-11734, 2015
  30. W. W. Wilson, A. J. Clough, R. Haiges, M. Rahm, K. O. Christe, Syntheses of Diphenylaminodiazidophosphane and Diphenylaminofluoroazidophosphane, Inorg. Chem. 54, 11859-11867. 2015.
  31. M. Rahm†, R. Hoffmann, Distinguishing Bonds, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 138, 3731-3744, 2016 [Highlighted in Chemistry World and ChemistryViews]
  32. H. E. Maynard-Casely, R. Hodyss, M. L. Cable, T. H. Vub, M. Rahm, A co-crystal between benzene and ethane, an potential evaporite material for Saturn’s moon Titan. IUCrJ, 3, doi:10.1107/ S2052252516002815, 2016 [Highlighted in]
  33. Z. Zhang, Ángel Puente, F. Wang, M. Rahm, Y. Mei, H. Mayr, G. K. S. Prakash On the   Nucleophilicity   of Persistent α-Monofluoromethide Anions. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., accepted for publication, 2016
  34. M. Rahm†, Jonathan I. Lunine, David Usher, David Shalloway, Polymorphism and Electronic Structure of Polyimine and its Potential Significance for Prebiotic Chemistry on Titan, PNAS, 113, 8121-8126,2016 [Highlighted in over 200 media outlets, including the Washington Post and Canadian radio]
  35. M. Rahm, R. Hoffmann, N.W. Ashcroft, Atomic and Ionic Radii of Elements 1-96, Chem. Eur. J. DOI: 10.1002/chem.201602949, 2016


  1. M. Rahm†, Green Propellants, PhD Thesis, E-print Stockholm, ISBN 978-91-7415-758-1, 2010.



  1. T. Brinck, M. Rahm†, Theoretical Design of Green Energetic Materials: Predicting Stability, Detection, Synthesis and Performance, Green Energetic Materials, Chapter 2, pp. 15-39 (John Wiley & Sons Ltd), ISBN: 978-1-119-94129-3, 2014.
  2. M. Rahm†, T. Brinck, Green Propellants Based on Dinitramide Salts: Mastering Stability and Chemical Compatibility Issues, Green Energetic Materials, Chapter 7, pp. 179-201, (John Wiley & Sons Ltd), ISBN: 978-1-119-94129-3, 2014.

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