Research Physical

Physical Research

The Department of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, offers a wide range of research opportunities in theoretical and experimental physical chemistry. Our program has broadened from its traditional areas of excellence in molecular chemical physics to include research activities in biophysical and materials sciences. Experimental efforts within these areas involve development and applications of state-of-the-art instrumentations, such as high-resolution ultra-fast laser systems, molecular beam techniques, multi-dimensional spectroscopies, and near-field optics, et cetera.

In addition to traditional areas of chemical theory, recent theoretical chemistry research involves development and applications of new computational methods in quantum/statistical mechanics and polymer physics for studying novel physical phenomena in a wide range of systems from nano-materials to biological membranes. Students have access to several massively parallel high-performance computers at UNC Research Computing, one of the best university computing facilities in the country.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is also home to home to a number of theoretical/computational research groups that are interested in studying exciting problems in molecular, materials, and condensed matter sciences.

Recent Research Results

Microscopic origin of inhomogeneous transport in four-terminal tellurene devices

Tellurene-the 2D form of elemental tellurium-provides an attractive alternative to conventional 2D semiconductors due to its high bipolar mobilities, facile solution processing, and the possibility of dopant intercalation into its 1D van der Waals lattice. Here, we study the microscopic origin of transport anisotropy in lithographically defined four-terminal tellurene devices using spatially resolved near-field scanning microwave microscopy (SMM).

Electrolyte‐Free Spectroscopy and Imaging of Graphite Intercalation

Spectroscopic methods can have limited spatial resolution and low intensity since the signal passes through electrolyte. Here, a device geometry is presented in which the electrolyte is laterally separated from the area probed spectroscopically, so that the signal does not pass through the electrolyte.

First-Principles Prediction of Electrochemical Electron–Anion Exchange: Ion Insertion without Redox

It is widely assumed that the gain or loss of electrons in a material must be accompanied by its reduction or oxidation. Here, we report a system in which the insertion/deinsertion of an electron occurs without any reduction or oxidation.

Representative Publications

Applied Physics Letters.
Microscopic origin of inhomogeneous transport in four-terminal tellurene devices Benjamin M. Kupp, Gang Qiu, Yixiu Wang, Clayton B. Casper, Thomas M. Wallis, Joanna M. Atkin, Wenzhuo Wu, Peide D. Ye, Pavel Kabos, and Samuel Berweger Applied Physics Letters 2020 117 (25), 253102 DOI: 10.1063/5.0025955

Electrolyte-Free Spectroscopy and Imaging of Graphite Intercalation Madeline S. Stark Judy Cheng Hailey Kim Kaci L. Kuntz Scott C. Warren Small 2020, 2004823. DOI: 10.1002/smll.202004823

K-Shell Core-Electron Excitations in Electronic Stopping of Protons in Water from First Principles.
Yi Yao, Dillon C. Yost, and Yosuke Kanai.
Phys. Rev. Lett. 123, 066401 – Published 5 August 2019

Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics of the Markovian Mpemba Effect and its Inverse.
Zhiyue Lu and Oren Raz.
PNAS May 16, 2017 114 (20) 5083-5088;

A Programmable Mechanical Maxwell’s Demon.
Lu, Zhiyue and Jarzynski, Christopher.
Entropy 2019, 21(1), 65

Electronic Excitation Dynamics in DNA under Proton and α-Particle Irradiation.
Dillon C. Yost and Yosuke Kanai.
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019, 141 (13), pp 5241–5251

Bubbles in Water Under Stretch-Induced Cavitation.
Sa Hoon Min and Max L. Berkowitz.
J. Chem. Phys. 150, 054501, Published online, 04 Feb, 2019

Reversible Strain-Induced Electron–Hole Recombination in Silicon Nanowires Observed with Femtosecond Pump–Probe Microscopy.
Erik M. Grumstrup, Michelle M. Gabriel, Christopher W. Pinion, James K. Parker, James F. Cahoon, and John M. Papanikolas.
Nano Lett., 2014, 14 (11), pp 6287–6292

Direct Imaging of Free Carrier and Trap Carrier Motion in Silicon Nanowires by Spatially-Separated Femtosecond Pump–Probe Microscopy.
Michelle M. Gabriel, Justin R. Kirschbrown, Joseph D. Christesen, Christopher W. Pinion, David F. Zigler, Erik M. Grumstrup, Brian P. Mehl, Emma E. M. Cating, James F. Cahoon, and John M. Papanikolas.
Nano Lett., 2013, 13 (3), pp 1336–1340