E. Charles Sykes

E. Charles Sykes

John Wade Professor
Pearson Chemical Laboratory
62 Talbot Avenue, Medford, MA


Physical & Surface Chemistry

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 Publications and Presentations

"An Atomic-Scale View of Single-Site Pt Catalysis for Low-Temperature CO Oxidation" A. J. Therrien, A. J. R. Hensley, M. D. Marcinkowski, R. Zhang, F. R. Lucci, B. Coughlin, A. C. Schilling, J. McEwen, E. C. H. Sykes Nature Catalysis 2018, 1, 192. [Cover Story]

"Pt/Cu Single-atom Alloys as Coke-resistant Catalysts for Efficient C-H Activation" M. D. Marcinkowski, M. T. Darby, J. Liu, J. M. Wimble, F. R. Lucci, S. Lee, A. Michaelides, M. Flytzani-Stephanopoulos, M. Stamatakis, E. C. H. Sykes Nature Chemistry 2018, 10 325.

"Correlated Rotational Switching in 2D Self-Assembled Molecular Rotor Arrays" N. A. Wasio, D. P. Slough, Z. C. Smith, C. J. Ivimey, S. W. Thomas III, Y.-S. Lin, and E. C. H. Sykes Nature Communications 2017, 8, 1-6.

"Tackling CO Poisoning with Single Atom Alloy Catalysts" J. Liu, F. R. Lucci, M. Yang, S. Lee, M. D. Marcinkowski, A. J. Therrien, C. T. Williams, E. C. H. Sykes, and M. Flytzani-Stephanopoulos Journal of the American Chemical Society 2016, 138, 6396-6399. [Cover Story]

"Enhancement of Low-Energy Electron Emission in 2D Radioactive Films" A. Pronschinske, P. Pedevilla, C. J. Murphy, E. A. Lewis, F. R. Lucci, G. Brown, G. Pappas, A. Michaelides, and E. C. H. Sykes, Nature Materials 2015, 14, 904-907.

"Selective Hydrogenation of 1,3-butadiene on Platinum-Copper Alloys at the Single-Atom Limit" F. R. Lucci, J. Liu, M. D. Marcinkowski, M. Yang, L. F. Allard, M. Flytzani-Stephanopoulos, and E. C. H. Sykes, Nature Communications, 2015, 6, 8550.

"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.

"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.

"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. [Cover Story