University of Illinois
A506 CLSL, Box 3-6
600 South Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
Additional Campus Affiliations
Professor, Materials Research Lab
Professor Andrew A. Gewirth received his A.B. from Princeton University in 1981 and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1987. He joined the Illinois faculty in 1988 after postdoctoral work at the University of Texas, Austin. Research in his group focuses on the structure and reactivity of surfaces and interfaces.
inorganic spectroscopy; scanning tunneling microscopy; interfacial electrochemistry; materials properties of surfaces; spectroscopic and probe microscopic characterization of surfaces in varied environments
Research in our group focuses on the structure and reactivity of surfaces and interfaces. We utilize local probe microscopies in conjunction with electrochemical, computational, and spectroscopic methods. Electrochemical use of the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) was developed in our laboratory.
Metal surfaces in electrochemical environments are important in satisfying future energy and remediation needs. One focus of recent activity is the four electron electroreduction of O2 to H2O. Despite intensive effort, little is understood about this reaction, which complicates design of new catalysts. We are using spectroscopic means on well-defined catalyst surfaces along with computational methods to interrogate intermediates and understand the mechanism of this reaction. The insight we obtain from these studies is used to design materials that may exhibit enhanced activity. We emphasize coupling inorganic materials, such as polyoxometalates, with electrochemical activity. These surfaces have potential use in fuel cells and other energy-related applications.
We examine electrode surfaces in order to elucidate properties of the electrochemical double layer and focus on fundamental properties of the electrified solid-liquid interface. For example, we use vibrational spectroscopic means to address, for the first time, the structure of water at this interface and the way in which the water molecules interact with the anions and cations that constitute the double layer. A related effort uses potential dependent "force spectroscopy" with the AFM to examine the composition of electrode materials.
Electrodeposition of Cu is the preferred method today to metallize semiconductors. Small organic and inorganic molecules control the texture of the electrodeposit, and developing an understanding of the way in which these molecules act becomes increasingly important as feature sizes decrease. We use vibrational spectroscopy and probe microscopy to interrogate these molecules and understand the way in which they moderate the electron transfer process occurring during deposition.
A new focus examines the behavior of supported phospholipid bilayers both by themselves and after introduction of relevant materials including polymers and proteins. We examine the interaction of different proteins with each other and with other constituents of the bilayer film as a function of external variables such as temperature, pressure, and applied field. These measurements are providing insight into the behavior of proteins and other constituents in cell membranes.
Awards and Honors
University of Illinois Scholar, 1995
University of Illinois Scholar, 1995
DOE Outstanding Accomplishment in Materials Science, 1993
Fellow, UIUC Center for Advanced Study, 1991
Presidential Young Investigator Award, 1990
Al-Zoubi, T., Zhou, Y., Yin, X., Janicek, B., Sun, C., Schulz, C. E., Zhang, X., Gewirth, A. A., Huang, P., Zelenay, P., & Yang, H. (2020). Preparation of Nonprecious Metal Electrocatalysts for the Reduction of Oxygen Using a Low-Temperature Sacrificial Metal. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 142(12), 5477-5481. https://doi.org/10.1021/jacs.9b11061
Bhargava, S. S., Proietto, F., Azmoodeh, D., Cofell, E. R., Henckel, D. A., Verma, S., Brooks, C. J., Gewirth, A. A., & Kenis, P. J. A. (Accepted/In press). System Design Rules for Intensifying the Electrochemical Reduction of CO2 to CO on Ag Nanoparticles. ChemElectroChem. https://doi.org/10.1002/celc.202000089
Chen, X., Henckel, D. A., Nwabara, U. O., Li, Y., Frenkel, A. I., Fister, T. T., Kenis, P. J. A., & Gewirth, A. A. (2020). Controlling Speciation during CO2 Reduction on Cu-Alloy Electrodes. ACS Catalysis, 10(1), 672-682. https://doi.org/10.1021/acscatal.9b04368
Chen, X., Chen, J., Alghoraibi, N. M., Henckel, D. A., Zhang, R., Nwabara, U. O., Madsen, K. E., Kenis, P. J. A., Zimmerman, S. C., & Gewirth, A. A. (Accepted/In press). Electrochemical CO2-to-ethylene conversion on polyamine-incorporated Cu electrodes. Nature Catalysis. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41929-020-00547-0
Li, S., Yu, H., Chen, X., Gewirth, A. A., Moore, J. S., & Schroeder, C. M. (2020). Covalent Ag-C Bonding Contacts from Unprotected Terminal Acetylenes for Molecular Junctions. Nano letters, 20(7), 5490-5495. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c02015