Tykhon Zubkov

Tykhon Zubkov

Associate Professor of Chemistry



Room:CP 305

Postdoctoral Fellow Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (2007)
University of Pittsburgh Ph.D. (2004)
Kiev University Science Candidate (1997)
Kiev University B.S. (1993)

Research interests

Our general interests are in the chemistry of solid surfaces.Zubkov_1

Specific Goal: Exploring new photocatalytic materials for oxidation of organic matter under UV or sunlight. These materials can have environmentally important applications such as decontamination, more economical waste treatment (including toxic waste), air purification, bactericidal and self-cleaning surfaces.

zubkov_4The focus materials are transition metal sulfides and oxides, for example MoS2, WS2, TiO2. When irradiated by light, a photocatalyst can remove electrons from adsorbed molecules or it can inject extra electrons onto them, thus initiating further chemical reactions (see Figs. 1 and 2).

In our research, we:Transmission electron micrograph showing synthesized MoS2 nanoparticles. Partiel diameters range from 5 to 30 nm

  • Synthesize prospective photocatalysts if necessary.
  • Characterize them by imaging and spectroscopic techniques, such as Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) (see Fig. 3), ultraviolet-visible absorption spectroscopy (UV vis), infrared spectroscopy (IR).
  • Study how organic molecules adsorb on prospective photocatalysts.
  • Analyze the obtained surface species under clean high-vacuum conditions.
  • Monitor their chemical transformations induced by visible or ultraviolet light or by temperature. Transmission IR spectroscopy is the main analytical technique for identifying surface species and monitoring their reactions. IR- and UV-compatible vacuum cell is being constructed, in which IR spectroscopy of adsorbed species can be performed simultaneously with UV irradiation.
  • Test the photocatalysts performance in the liquid or gas media. This is done using UV vis spectroscopy, High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), and in future, Gas Chromatography (GC or GC-MS combination).