Tracking the ultrafast dynamics of surface photocatalytic reactions - Physics

This project focuses on understanding the reaction mechanisms that lead to the photocatalytic generation of fuels from renewable sources at the surface of nanostructured materials. A technique that combines ultraviolet or extreme ultraviolet femtosecond laser pulses with pump-probe spectroscopy and mass spectrometry will be employed to investigate the dynamics of the elementary steps of surface photocatalytic reactions such as bond breaking and bond making, with time-, mass-, and energy resolution. Specifically, this technique is producing real-time movies of atoms and molecules during light-driven reactions at surfaces. Reactions that lead to the formation of fuel molecules via water-splitting in the presence of small carbon compounds will be investigated. These reactions will be explored on photocatalytic materials consisting of two-dimensional (2D) semiconductors decorated with metal and metal oxide nanoparticles. The students working on this project will acquire a good understanding of various photocatalytic processes and will learn about photocatalytic reactions, and materials, as well as ultrafast spectroscopy, surface molecular dynamics, and mass spectrometry. The student will also acquire skills in using various tools for surface preparation and characterization as well as complex optical systems. Furthermore, the student will develop skills in data collection, analysis, and dissemination.

Project Dates

Start Date: 1/8/2024 - End Date: 4/28/2024

Students Needed

Type of Project


Student Responsibilities

Time Commitment

10-15 hours / week hour(s)

Student Requirements

No prerequisite courses, previous research experience or special skills sets are necessary. However, only highly motivated students are encouraged to apply for this position.

Interested in Working With the Following Programs

For EXCEL URE Students Only
Honors Undergraduate Thesis
McNair Scholars
Research and Mentoring Program
Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Additional Notes

Position Overview

  • Date Posted: 10-20-2021
  • Research Categories:
    • Physical Sciences
  • Location:
    • Orlando (Main Campus)
  • Paid: Yes