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Principal Investigator
Prof. Trenary

Current Group Members

Dr. Paul Melnikov

Dr. Paul Melnikov

(Senior Visiting Researcher)


Arephin Islam

Arephin Islam

M.S. in Applied Chemistry, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2016

B.S. in Chemical Engineering, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2014


I am studying hydrogenation of COover the Cu(111) and Pd/Cu(111) single-atom alloy surfaces under ambient pressure conditions using Infrared spectroscopy. Copper catalysts are used in the water gas shift reaction to convert mixtures of carbon monoxide and water to hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Conversely, the reverse water gas shift reaction utilizes carbon dioxide as a resource.  Related to the reverse water gas shift reaction is the synthesis of methanol from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The mechanisms of these reactions involve several possible surface intermediates, each of which should be identifiable by their vibrational spectra. Polarization modulation reflection absorption infrared spectroscopy (PM-RAIRS) can be used to study these reactions under ambient pressures. By performing the experiment with polarized infrared radiation, the gas phase and surface species are easily distinguished. My experimental results demonstrate that CO2 hydrogenation is readily achieved over a Cu(111) model catalyst and that surface intermediates are detected with PM-RAIRS.


Ravi Ranjan

Ravi Ranjan

Integrated B.S. & M.S. in Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali, India, 2017


My research area covers the spectroscopic characterization and identification of surface intermediates formed from acetylene (C2H2) and 1,3-butadiene (C4H6) on Pd(111). I identify and characterize the surface species formed by adsorption and hydrogenation of C2H2 and C4H6 on the Pd(111) surface. Reflection absorption infrared spectroscopy (RAIRS) and temperature-programmed desorption (TPD) are the most frequent techniques used in my studies.


Beside my research work, I like travelling, reading books, watching current affairs and playing games in my mobile phone.


Buddhika Wijenayake

Buddhika Wijenayake

M.S. in Engineering, University of Yamanashi, Japan, 2016

B.S. in Chemistry, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, 2014   


I am currently studying deposited Pd at low coverage on Ag (111) surface by scanning tunneling microscope (STM). STM is an instrument for imaging surfaces at the atomic level. Therefore, it is the best tool to study the Pd islands on Ag (111) surface. I observe single-layered and double-layered high, triangular shape islands and some vacancy pits upon deposition of 0.05ML Pd on Ag (111) surface at 380 K. 


Apart from my research work, I love watching TV series, listening to songs, and swimming.


David Molina

David Molina

B.A. in Chemistry, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2018


I am studying the selective hydrogenation of acetylene on a Ag(111) surface and Pd/Ag(111) single-atom alloy (SAA) using reflective absorption infrared spectroscopy (RAIRS), temperature-programmed desorption (TPD) spectrometry and temperature-programmed reaction spectrometry (TPRS). We are interested in seeing the effect that alloying Pd with Ag has on the hydrogenation of acetylene and compare that to the reaction on the Ag(111) surface.


Outside the lab, I like to stay physically active if possible, by playing my favorite sports: soccer, volleyball and biking. I like to enjoy nights out with friends and loved ones and finding new places to eat. I am a fan of cooking and traveling to new places, so whenever possible I take the opportunity to try cooking different dishes from Japanese, Italian, Argentinian, and Spanish cuisines.


Recent PhD Recipients

Mohammed Abdel-Rahman

Mohammed Abdel-Rahman 

Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2020

B.S. in Chemistry University of Illinois at Chicago, 2012


Thesis title: Bridging the Pressure Gap in the Surface Analysis of Transition Metal Catalyzed Reactions 

Graduation date: November 16, 2020 

Current position and address: Postdoctoral Fellow at Johns Hopkins University 3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218


Mark muir

Mark Muir

Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2020

M.S. in Chemistry, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2019

B.S. in Mathematics, St. Xavier University, 2016

B.S. in Chemistry, St. Xavier University, 2015


Thesis title: Selective Hydrogenation Reactions on Ag(111) and Pd/Ag(111) Single Atom Alloy Surfaces 

Graduation Date: December 10, 2020

Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Chicago


Click Here for PhD Recipients and former Postdoctoral Fellows before 2020

Chemistry Department

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Professor Michael Trenary
Phone: (312)996-0777