Campus Box 3290 Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3290, USA

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.

Recent Research Results

Maxwell’s Demon

We introduce and investigate a simple and explicitly mechanical model of Maxwell’s demon, a device that interacts with a memory register, a stream of bits, a thermal...

Mpemba Effect

Under certain conditions, it takes a shorter time to cool a hot system than to cool the same system initiated at a lower temperature...

Imaging Silicon Nanowires

Researchers in the Papanikolas and Cahoon groups have developed a pump–probe microscope capable of...

Representative Publications

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

Energy Transfer Mechanisms in Layered 2D Perovskites.
Olivia F. Williams, Zhenkun Guo, Jun Hu, Liang Yan, Wei You, and Andrew M. Moran.
The Journal of Chemical Physics. Volume 148, Issue 13, March 2018

Imaging Carrier Diffusion in Perovskites with a Diffractive Optic-Based Transient Absorption Microscope..
Zhenkun Guo, Ninghao Zhou, Olivia F. Williams, Jun Hu, Wei You, and Andrew M. Moran.
J. Phys. Chem. C, 2018, 122 (19), pp 10650–10656.

Nanobubbles, Cavitation, Shock Waves and Traumatic Brain Injury.
Upendra Adhikari, Ardeshir Goliaeib, and Max L. Berkowitz.
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2016, 18, 32638-32652