Richard Saykally, Class of 1932 Endowed Professor of Chemistry at UC Berkeley, will present the BESE Distinguished Lecture on Probing Complex Interfaces at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology on November 19th.
Chemical processes occurring at liquid interfaces are of profound importance in current scientific contexts ranging from catalysis and water purification to physiology, but the investigation of these systems presents significant obstacles to both theory and experiment.
We have developed several new experiments designed to elucidate vital details of aqueous interfaces, exploiting modern laser and light source technology. Nonlinear spectroscopy in the deep ultraviolet region has been exploited to characterize the mechanism of selective ion adsorption to both the air/water and water/graphene interfaces. Second harmonic generation scattering experiments have characterized the adsorption of neutral molecules to a series of polymer beads. X-ray absorption spectroscopy has been used to characterize the interfacial distribution of aqueous carbonate species. Recently developed soft X-ray free electron lasers have been used to perform the first second harmonic generation experiments in this region, using graphite targets to demonstrate both high surface sensitivity and strong resonance enhancement. These spectroscopic techniques are being used to investigate chemical reactions occurring at aqueous interfaces. Details of these studies will be discussed.
About Professor Saykally:
Born in Rhinelander, Wisconsin and educated at UW-Eau Claire and UW-Madison, Saykally has been a professor at the University of California, Berkeley since 1979. He and his students have pioneered many important advances in spectroscopy, including velocity modulation spectroscopy of ions, terahertz laser vibration-rotation-tunneling spectroscopy of clusters, infrared photon counting spectroscopy, cavity ringdown spectroscopy, and X-ray spectroscopy of liquid microjets. These have permitted the first detailed study of important textbook molecules, including the hydronium (H3O+), hydroxide (OH-) and ammonium (NH4+) ions, as well as small water clusters and carbon clusters.
Recent work includes the spectroscopic determination of a universal water force field via the study of water clusters, the development of femtosecond nonlinear optical molecular imaging methods applied to single nanowire lasers and biological systems, femtosecond UV SHG/SFG studies of liquid electrolyte surfaces, and soft X- ray spectroscopy of liquids and liquid surfaces.
A co-author of over 400 publications that have been cited over 45,000 times (H index > 100), the recipient of over 75 honors and awards from 12 different countries, Saykally is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has received the E.O. Lawrence Award in Chemistry from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Hinshelwood Lectureship from Oxford University, the Inaugural International Solvay Chair in Chemistry from the Solvay Institutes of Belgium, the Peter DeBye Award in Physical Chemistry from the ACS, the J.C. Bose Lectureship from IACS-Kolkata, and the Faraday Lectureship Prize from the UK Royal Society of Chemistry. He is a UC-Berkeley Distinguished Teacher, and has been active at the national level in science education. Over 150 students and postdocs have trained under his direction, many of whom hold prominent positions in academic, government, and industrial institutions.