Somorjai Research Group


                                           Welcome to the Somorjai group webpage!

Since 1965, Professor Somorjai has proposed, planned, and carried out a program to build the fundamental molecular basis for the surface science of heterogeneous catalysis. He characterized the structure of clean single crystal surfaces, and determined the structure and bonding of adsorbed molecules. He used transition metal single crystal surfaces as model catalysts and carried out catalytic reactions on these crystal surfaces. He developed much of the instrumentation necessary for studying molecular surface chemistry and catalysis at high reactant pressures (atmospheres) on the small area crystals. These include high pressure reaction cells that are combined with ultra high vacuum surface characterization chambers, sum frequency generation (SFG) vibrational spectroscopy, and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), which can be used to monitor surfaces under reaction conditions, in situ. Since 1994, ordered arrays of nanoparticles of transition metals fabricated by electron beam lithography, photolithography, and colloid science techniques, have been studied and also utilized as model catalysts. Since 1997, polymer surfaces, their molecular structure, composition, chemistry, and tribology (friction, hardness), have been explored by SFG and the atomic force microscope (AFM) for this purpose. Professor Somorjai has educated a generation of leading scientists in the field. Out of more than 130 Ph.D. students and 200 Posdoctoral Fellows, 90 hold faculty positions.

University of California, Berkeley -- Department of Chemistry

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory