Congratulations to Erik Skibinski!

Winner of the 2017 Nottingham Prize in Surface Science — the 9th winner from Cornell!

Watching Chemistry in Action

The goal of our research is to use atomic-scale images of surfaces to quantitatively understand and control their reactivity.

We use scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), surface spectroscopies, as well as density functional theory (DFT) and Monte Carlo simulations to understand and control chemical reactivity at the nanoscale. Much of our current research is aimed at developing a new surface-science approach to understanding sustainable nanocatalysis and photocatalysis on earth-abundant metal oxides under technologically relevant conditions. This research probes catalytically active sites with atomic-scale spatial resolution and submonolayer spectroscopic sensitivity — studies that have been previously infeasible due to technical limitations. Although TiO2 is our current focus, our goal is to use these techniques on a much wider variety of sustainable metal oxide nanocatalysts, such as oxygen evolution catalysts, envioronmental remediation photocatalyst, and electroactive materials for battery applications.

We gratefully acknowledge support by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Award CHE-1708025 and the NSF IGERT program (DGE-0903653). This research uses resources of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, a DOE Office of Science User Facility supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DE-AC02-05CH11231) as well as the Cornell Center for Materials Research Shared Facilities supported through the NSF MRSEC program (DMR-1120296).