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




B.S., 1983, Bradley University, Peoria, IL
Ph.D., 1991, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Postdoctoral Fellow, 1990-93, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA


Research Interests

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 that  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 catalyzed reaction.
Recent experiments are revealing how the vibrational motion of the metal surface can also influence the energetics and dynamics of reaction.


Selected Recent Publications

"Precursor-Mediated 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 (2013); (10.1021/jp400571v).

"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 Dynamics",
L. B. F. Juurlink, D. R. Killelea, A. L. Utz, Prog. Surf. Sci. 84, 69-134 (2009).

Additional publications can be found HERE.