Gabor A. Somorjai

University of California, Berkeley


Election Year: 1979
Primary Section: 14, Chemistry
Membership Type: Member

Research Interests

Principal research is in the field of surface chemistry. Molecular studies of the structure and bonding surfaces focus on the study of the structure of clean metal alloy, oxide, halide and sulfide Crystal surfaces and the structure and bonding of adsorbed monolayers of atoms and molecules by using low energy electron diffraction (LEED), scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopy (STM and AFM), sum frequency generation laser vibrational spectroscopy (SFG), and electron spectroscopies (XPS, AES, and HREELS) techniques. Research in this area is concentrated on organic monolayers adsorbed on platinum, rhodium, copper, palladium, and magnesium chloride surfaces and oxide (titanium and zinc oxides) monolayers adsorbed on molybdenum, copper and platinum crystal surfaces. The surface science of heterogeneous catalysis focuses on the study of surface science of catalyzed reactions over metal single crystal surfaces and metal nanoclusters (1.5-100 nm) fabricated by electron beam lithography. The kinetics and molecular mechanisms of catalysis for hydrocarbon conversion reactions, and hydrogenation and oxidation of carbon monoxide and olefins and theoxydehydrogenation and combustion of ethane are studied over platinum, rhodium, palladium, molybdenum, and cobalt. In situ techniques used in the investigations include SFG and STM. The area of molecular studies of polymer surfaces and polymerization focuses on investigations of polymerization reactions, the mechanical properties of polymers on the molecular scale, and the surface science of polymerization catalysis. Our studies include adhesion, friction, hardness, and lubrication of polymer surfaces using the atomic force microscope and studies of the structure of polymer surface by SFG. Research at present is focused on polyethylene and polypropylene. Polymer blends are used in studies of polymer-protein interfaces to elucidate the molecular level causes of biocompatibility.

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