Arthur L. Utz

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

Office: X-106

Tel: 617-627-3473   Fax: 617-627-3443


Research Homepage

Current Appointment


Associate Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry




Postdoctoral Fellow, 1990-93, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Ph.D., 1991, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

B.S., 1983, Bradley University, Peoria, IL


Research Interests

Physical and Surface Chemistry.  The Utz group studies how molecules react on surfaces. Reactions at the gas-surface interface are highly dynamical events. Large-scale atomic and vibrational motions transform reactants into products on sub-ps and Å scales. The experiments  probe ultrafast nuclear motion and energy flow dynamics that underlie heterogeneous catalysis and chemical vapor deposition. The goal is to to better model existing processes and direct the rational design of new catalytic materials and deposition techniques. The experiments use vibrational- and rotational-state selective laser excitation of molecules in a supersonic molecular beam to provide precise control over the energetics and orientation of the gas-phase reagent as it approaches the surface.  Reaction probability and product identity is then quantified as a function of the reagent’s energetic configuration. These experiments have shown that the vibrational state of the incident molecule can have a profound effect on reaction probability, and suggest that energy redisribution within the reaction complex is not complete prior to reaction and that the competing kinetics of energy redistribution and reaction might be manipulated to control the outcome of a reaction. This has been subsequently confirmed by exerting bond-elective control over a heterogeneously catalyzed reaction.


Selected Recent Publications

"Precursor-mediated reactivity of vibrationally hot molecules: Methane activation on Ir(1 1 1)",
E. Dombrowski, E. Peterson, D. Del Sesto and A. L. Utz, Catalysis Today, 2015, 244, 10-18.


"On the Origin of Mode- and Bond Selectivity in Vibrationally Mediated Reactions on Surfaces",
D. R. Killelea and A. L. Utz, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2013, 15, 20545-20554.


"State-Resolved Reactivity of Methane (v2+v4) on Ni(111)", N. Chen, Y. Huang and A. L. Utz, J. Phys. Chem. A, 2013, 117, 6250-6255.


"Surface Temperature Dependence of Methane Activation on Ni(111), D. R. Killelea, V. L. Campbell, N. S. Shuman, R. R. Smith and A. L. Utz, J. Phys. Chem. C, 2009, 113, 20618-20622.

"Mode Selective Chemistry at Surfaces", A. L. Utz, Curr. Opin. Solid State Mater. Sci., 2009,
13, 4-12.

"State-Resolved Probes of Methane Dissociation Dynamics", L. B. F. Juurlink, D. R. Killelea, and A. L. Utz, Prog. Surf. Sci., 2009, 84, 69-134.

"Isotope Selective Chemical Vapor Deposition via Vibrational Activation", D. R. Killelea, V. L. Campbell, N. S. Shuman, and A. L. Utz, J. Phys. Chem. C, 2008, 112, 9822-9827.

"Bond Selective Control of a Heterogeneously Catalyzed Reaction", D. R. Killelea, V. L. Campbell, N. S. Shuman, and A. L. Utz, Science, 2008, 319, 790-793, doi:10.1126/science.1152819.

"Comparative Study of C-H Stretch and Bend Vibrations in Methane Activation on Ni(100) and Ni(111)", L. B. F. Juurlink, R. R. Smith, D. R. Killelea, and A. L. Utz, Phys. Rev. Lett., 2005, 94, 208303/1-4.


"Preference for Vibrational over Translational Energy in a Gas-Surface Reaction", R. R. Smith, D. R. Killelea, D. F. DelSesto, and A. L. Utz, Science, 2004, 304, 992-995, doi:10.1126/science.1096309.

Additional publications can be found HERE.