Surface Chemical Physics

Photo-reaction on monolayer MoS2



Monolayer MoS2 has become a very promising two-dimensional materials for photo-related applications, potentially serving as the basis for an ultrathin photodetector, switching device, or  transistors due to its strong interaction with light in ambient conditions. Establishing the impact of individual ambient gas components on the optical properties of MoS2 is a necessary step toward application development.


B. Birmingham, J. Yuan, M. Filez, D. Fu, J. Hu, J. Lou, M.O. Scully, B.M. Weckhuysen, Z. Zhang, Probing the Effect of Chemical Dopant Phase on Photoluminescence of Monolayer MoS2 Using in Situ Raman Micro-Spectroscopy. J.Phys. Chem. C 2019 123, 25, 15738-15743

B. Birmingham, J. Yuan, M. Filez, D. Fu, J. Hu, J. Lou, M.O. Scully, B.M. Weckhuysen, Z. Zhang, Spatially-Resolved Photoluminescence of Monolayer MoS2 under Controlled Environment for Ambient Optoelectronic Applications, ACS Appl. Nano Mater.20181 (11), pp 6226–6235

Defect engineering on MoS2



MoS2 is the most promising electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). The objective is to understand the defects creation on MoS2 at an atomic-level and their role in HER and optoelectronic applications. 


W. Lu, B. Birmingham, Z. Zhang, Defect Engineering on MoS2 Surface with Argon Ion Bombardments and Thermal Annealing, Applied Surface Science, 532, (2020) 147461;


Catalytic Reactions on TiO2



The research objective of this project is to understand the individual reaction steps of adsorbates on TiO2 thin films in the visible-light photodegradation of organic air pollutants. This research plan addresses fundamental questions that are essential for the rational design of catalysts that efficiently carry out the photo-oxidation of organic pollutants.


K. Zhu, Y. Xia, Z. Zhang, K. T. Park, Photo-stimulated desorption of trimethyl acetic acid on cross-linked (1 × 2) TiO2(110) probed by scanning tunneling microscopy, Applied Surface Science,511,(2020) 1455553; DOI: 10.1016/j.apsusc.2020.14555

M. Tang, Z. Zhang and Q. Ge, A DFT-based study of surface chemistries of rutile TiO2 and SnO2 (110) toward formaldehyde and formic acid, Catalysis Today, 274 (2016) 103-108 

X. Yu, Z. Zhang, C. Yang, F. Bebensee, S. Heissler, A. Nefedov, M. Tang, Q. Ge, L. Chen, B. Kay, Z. Dohnalek, Y.Wang, Interaction of Formaldehyde with the Rutile TiO2(110) Surface: A Combined Experimental and Theoretical StudyJ. Phys. Chem. C, 120 (2016) 12626–12636