Research/Areas of Interest:
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.
PhD Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2002
BS/MS Chemistry, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, 1998