Charlie Sykes

Department of Chemistry
Pearson Chemistry Laboratory
62 Talbot Avenue
Tufts University 
Medford, MA 02155 

Office: X-103

Tel: 617-627-3773   Fax: 617-627-3443

E-mail: charles.sykes@tufts.edu

Research Homepage

Current Appointment


Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry




Postdoctoral Research Associate, 2004-05, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, NC
Postdoctoral Research Associate, 2002-04, Pennsylvania State University, PA
Ph.D., 2002, Cambridge University, UK
BS/MS, 1998, Oxford University, UK


Research Interests


Physical Chemistry, Surface Science, and Nanoscience.  The Sykes group utilizes state of the art scanning probes and surface science instrumentation to study technologically important systems. For example, scanning tunneling microscopy enables visualization of geometric and electronic properties of catalytically relevant metal alloy surfaces at the nanoscale. Using temperature programmed reaction studies of well defined model catalyst surfaces structure-property-activity relationships are drawn. Of particular interest is the addition of individual atoms of a reactive metal to a relatively inert host. In this way reactivity can be tuned, and provided the energetic landscapes are understood, novel bifunctional catalytic systems can be designed with unique properties that include low temperature activation and highly selective chemistry. Newly developed curved single crystal surface are also being used to open up previously inaccessible areas of structure sensitive surface chemistry and chiral surface geometries. In a different thrust, the group has developed various molecular motor systems that are enabling us to study many important fundamental aspects of molecular rotation and translation with unprecedented resolution.


Selected Recent Publications

"Controlling the Spillover Pathway with the Molecular Cork Effect" M. D. Marcinkowski, A. D. Jewell, M. Stamatakis, M. B. Boucher, E. A. Lewis, C. J. Murphy, G. Kyriakou, and E. C. H. Sykes - Nature Materials 2013, 12, 523-528

"Isolated Metal Atom Geometries as a Strategy for Selective Heterogeneous Hydrogenations" G. Kyriakou, M. B. Boucher, A. D. Jewell, E. A. Lewis, T. J. Lawton, A. E. Baber, H. L. Tierney, M. Flytzani-Stephanopoulos, and E. C. H. Sykes - Science 2012, 335, 1209-1212


"Experimental Demonstration of a Single-Molecule Electric Motor", H. L. Tierney, C. J. Murphy, A. D. Jewell, A. E. Baber, E. V. Iski, H. Y. Khodaverdian, A. F. McGuire, N. Klebanov and E. C. H. Sykes, Nature Nanotechnology, 2011, 6, 625-629


"Visualization of Hydrogen Bonding and Associated Chirality in Methanol Hexamers" T. J. Lawton, J. Carrasco, A. E. Baber, A. Michaelides, and E. C. H. Sykes - Physical Review Letters 2011, 107, 2561011-2561015


"Regular Scanning Tunneling Microscope Tips Can Be Intrinsically Chiral" H. L. Tierney, C. J. Murphy, and E. C. H. Sykes - Physical Review Letters 2011, 106, 010801


"Atomic-Scale Geometry and Electronic Structure of Catalytically Important Pd/Au Alloys" A. E. Baber, H. L. Tierney, and E. C. H. Sykes - ACS Nano 2010, 4, 1637-1645


"Hydrogen Dissociation and Spillover on Individual Isolated Palladium Atoms" H. L. Tierney, A. E. Baber, J. R. Kitchin and E. C. H. Sykes - Physical Review Letters 2009, 103, 2461021-2461024


"A Quantitative Single-Molecule Study of Thioether Molecular Rotors" A. E. Baber, H. L. Tierney, and E. C. H. Sykes - ACS Nano 2008, 2, 2385-2391

Complete listing of publications can be found HERE.

Selected Media & E/PO Links

- Boston Museum of Science Podcast "World's Smallest Motor" 21 Oct 2011


- BBC Radio 4's interview with Charlie Sykes on the Today Programme 5 Sept 2011


- Sykes group YouTube video "Exploring Nanoscale Machines" 17 Aug 2010


- Erin Iski et al.,"Education in Chemistry" YouTube Video 13 June 2008