Research focuses on several subjects in the area of the chemistry of surfaces.

  • (a) catalytic reactions; investigation of the catalytic chemistry of gold-palladium alloys.
  • (b) fundamental investigations of the origin of friction and the role of surface chemical reactions in friction reduction.
  • (c) the understanding of catalytic enantioselectivity.
  • (d) the growth and characterization of molecular conductors

          A wide range of experimental techniques are employed to understand the chemistry involved in each of these areas. These include Auger, X-ray and ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopies, near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure, low energy electron diffraction, electron energy loss spectroscopy, low-energy ion scattering, molecular beam methods, temperature-programmed desorption and infrared spectroscopies, including reflection/absorption infrared spectroscopy of single crystal surface in ultrahigh vacuum and at high-pressures, Raman spectroscopy, scanning tunneling microscopy and atomic force microscopy. In particular, in order to probe the nature of the surface under high gas pressures (~100 Torr), we use polarization modulation to allow us to eliminate effects due to background gases and have shown that we can measure the spectrum of CO adsorbed on Pd(111) in the presence of 200 Torr of the gas phase. In addition, we have developed an ultrahigh vacuum compatible tribometer, which allows us to measure frictional properties of model tribological surfaces generated in situ. We have also developed, in collaboration with Dilano Saldin of the Physics Department, a method for determining the structures of disordered overlayer on surface using the intensity-versus voltage curvesof the substrate diffraction spots.
          We also collaborate with several other scientists:

    • Professor Matthew Neurock at the University of Virginia to carry out density functional calculation to understand catalytic reactions, currently focusing on vinyl acetate synthesis from ethylene and surface acetate species on palladium and palladium/gold alloys.
    • Professors Gellman and Sholl at Carnegie-Mellon University and Professor Zaera at UC-Riverside to examine the molecular origins of enantioselective heterogeneous catalysis
    • Dr. Miquel Salmeron at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories at the University of California to examine the surface and tribological chemistry of water/carbon dioxide mixtures with copper surfaces
    • Professor Mike Weinert in the Physics Department to using quantum mechanics to calculate the mechanical properties of thin surface films.

  • Contact

    Wilfred T. Tysoe

    Distinguished Professor

    3210 N. Cramer Street
    Milwaukee, WI 53211
    Phone: (414) 229-5222
    FAX: (414) 229-5036
    Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry   •   University of Wisconsin - MilwaukeeHome