Associate Professor of
Chemistry, Department of Chemistry
B.S., 1983, Bradley University,
Ph.D., 1991, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Postdoctoral Fellow, 1990-93, Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Physical and Surface Chemistry. The
Utz group studies how molecules react on surfaces.
Reactions at the gas-surface interface involve
large-scale atomic and vibrational motions
transform reactants into products on sub-ps and Å
scales. The group's experiments probe the 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. Energy
redistribution within the reaction complex is not
complete prior to reaction, and the competing
kinetics of energy redistribution and reaction can
be manipulated to control the outcome of a reaction.
This has been subsequently confirmed by exerting
bond-elective control over a heterogeneously
Recent experiments are revealing how the vibrational
motion of the metal surface can also influence the
energetics and dynamics of reaction.
Reactivity of Vibrationally Hot Molecules: Methane
Activation on Ir(111), E. Dombrowski, E. Peterson, D. DelSesto,
A. Utz, Cat. Today, 244,
10-18 (2014) (10.1016/j.cattod.2014.10.025).
"On the origin of mode- and bond-selectivity in
vibrationally mediated reactions on surfaces", D. R. Killelea, A. L. Utz,
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 15,
20545-20554 (2013); (10.1039/c3cp53765j).
"State-Resolved Reactivity of Methane (nu(2) +
nu(4)) on Ni(111)", N. Chen, Y. Huang, A. L. Utz, J.
Phys. Chem. A., 117, 6250-6255
"Quantum-State Resolved Gas/Surface Reaction
Dynamics Experiments", R. D. Beck, A. L. Utz, in
Dynamics of Gas-Surface Interactions: Atomic-level
Understanding of Scattering Proceses at Surfaces, R.
D. Muiño, H. F. Busnego, Eds. (Springer-Verlag,
Berlin, 2013), chap. 8.
"State-Resolved Probes of Methane Dissociation
B. F. Juurlink, D. R. Killelea, A. L. Utz,
Prog. Surf. Sci. 84, 69-134 (2009).
Additional publications can be