Emeritus Professor of Chemistry
Dr. Andrzej Wieckowski is the North American Editor for Electrochimica Acta and Professor of Chemistry at UIUC. He received his M.Sc., Ph.D. and D.Sc. in 1981 from University of Warsaw, Poland, and came to the University of Illinois in 1985 after two years of a visiting scientist post at the University of California at Santa Barbara. His main research focus is on electrode surface structure in relation to electrocatalysis combined with molecular-level studies of surface oxidation and reduction processes, as well as on surface motional behavior in electrocatalysis. Wieckowski pioneered the development (and use) of the method now known as Electrochemica NMR (EC-NMR), which combines metal/surface NMR and electrochemistry for studies of electrochemical interfaces. His group contribution is through new catalyst syntheses, the use of electroanalytical and spectroscopic methods: EC-NMR, XPS, STM, BB-SFG, synchrotron GIF-XAS for single crystal and nanoparticle studies, and through broadly published correlations of electronic-level data and reactivity for fuel cells. Professor Wieckowski has received several national and international chemistry awards, and frequent lecture awards. Beyond the editorship of Electrochimica Acta, he is editing electrochemistry books and is on editorial boards of several chemistry journals. The progress in his research has been reported in more than 250 publications and chapters. Wieckowski has held Chairs or equivalent positions in scientific organizations such as ECS, ISE and ACS.
Research interests of the Wieckowski group are in electrochemical surface science, fuel cells, heterogeneous electrocatalysis and corrosion. One of the accomplishments was the pioneering adaptation of the solid-state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance for studies of electrochemical interfaces in situ and under electrode potential control; the method termed electrochemical NMR (EC-NMR). Nuclear Magnetic Resonance has a unique ability of providing electronic and structural information on a subatomic level, and allows one to perform experiments on time-scales unattainable by other spectroscopic techniques. This enables study of motions or surface diffusion of adsorbates. Typical EC-NMR results led to elucidation of new details concerning molecular adsorption at metal electrode surfaces, and to estimates of Fermi level local densities of states of metal atoms and adsorbates on such surfaces. The ability to probe more directly the electronic structure should greatly help in defining the nature of metal-adsorbate interactions in electrochemical systems. This, in turn, is promising in future synthetic designs of more potent nanosized catalytic materials to be used, for instance, in fuel cells.
The Wieckowski research group recent contribution has also been through catalyst syntheses that exploit spontaneous deposition of submonolayer-to-monolayer amounts of noble metals on foreign noble metal substrates. Using this overall "surface decoration" procedures, investigated by atomic probe spectroscopies (mainly by STM), the discovery was that nanosized admetal islands were formed, which could either be metallic or were made of mixed metal/oxides phases. Such surfaces are reactive to interfacial organic molecules, and are versatile models of practical heterogeneous catalysts. Therefore, the group addresses basic science and applied issues involved in the catalytic activity enhancement in fuel cells. Another line of the group contribution has been through the development of new methods for studies in heterogeneous electrocatalysis. Explored were, for instance, some unique means to use radioactive labeling for characterization of electrode adsorption and rate processes at catalytic surfaces.
Fuel cells referred to above convert chemical energy to electricity. They are efficient, greatly reduce green house CO2 emissions, operate with almost no NOx emission, and are of a considerable promise for future use in land based and marine transportation. However, more potent electrocatalysts than currently available are needed to make fuel cells a viable alternative to other energy sources. Such new materials are produced and tested in the Wieckowski laboratory. Beyond electrochemical NMR and radioactive labeling, other methods used by his group in studies of fuel cell catalysts are ultra-high vacuum techniques, such as LEED, AES, CEELS, TPD, XPS, and a broad range of electroanalytical techniques. The implementation of the Wieckowski program has a distinct advantage for today's ecologically conscious society; the current demand for clean and efficient new energy sources is certain to become even greater in the future.
Last, but not least, corrosion damage costs the United States 5% of its GNP, which stirred Wieckowski's interest in corrosion science and corrosion protection. The group investigates aluminum and aluminum alloys, which are key materials for future lightweight applications. Despite passivating easily, these materials are also subject to various forms of corrosion attack. The main goal of the Wieckowski corrosion group is—using an array of surface analysis techniques—to investigate the effect of solution anions on the structure of aluminum surfaces, and to probe pitting initiation and inhibition as a function of anion's exposure. Surface atomic maps obtained by scanning Auger microscopy revealed the distribution of both corrosive anions and corrosion inhibitors on the surface.
Bagus, P.S., Woll, C., & Wieckowski, A. Dependence of surface properties on adsorbate-substrate distance: Work function changes and binding energy shifts for I/Pt(111). Surface Science 603:273-283. (2009)
Behrens, R.L., Lagutchev, A., Dlott, D.D., & Wieckowski, A. Broad-band sum frequency generation study of formic acid chemisorption on a Pt(100) electrode. Submitted (2009)
Babu, P.K., Chung, J.H., Oldfield, E. & Wieckowski, A. CO surface diffusion on platinum fuel cell catalysts by electrochemical NMR. Electrochimica Acta 53:6672-6679. (2008)
Bonakdarpour, A., Delacote, C., Yang, R., Wieckowski, A. & Dahn, J.R. Loading of Se/Ru/C electrocatalyst on a rotating ring-disk electrode and the loading impact on a H2O2 release during oxygen reduction reaction. Electrochemistry Communications 10:611-615. (2008)
Delacote, C., Bonakdarpour, A., Johnston, C.M., Zelenay, P. & Wieckowski, A. Aqueous-based synthesis of ruthenium-selenium catalyst for oxygen reduction reaction. Faraday Discussions 140:269-281. (2008)
Gancs, L., Kobayashi, T., Debe, M.K., Atanasoski, R. & Wieckowski, A. Crystallographic characteristics of nanostructured thin-film fuel cell electrocatalysts: A HRTEM study. Chemistry of Materials 20:2444-2454. (2008)
Neurock, M., Janik, M. & Wieckowski, A. A first principles comparison of the mechanism and site requirements for the electrocatalytic oxidation of methanol and formic acid over Pt. Faraday Discussions 140:363-378. (2008)
Rigsby, M.A., Zhou, W.P., Lewera, A., Duong, H.T., Bagus, P.S., Jaegermann, W., Hunger, R. & Wieckowski, A. Experiment and theory of fuel cell catalysis: Methanol and formic acid decomposition on nanoparticle Pt/Ru. Journal of Physical Chemistry C 112:15595-15601. (2008)
Zhou, W.P., Lewera, A., Bagus, P.S. & Wieckowski, A. Electrochemical and electronic properties of platinum deposits on Ru(0001): Combined XPS and cyclic voltammetric study. Journal of Physical Chemistry C 111, 13490-13496 (2007).
Spendelow, J.S., Xu, Q., Goodpaster, J.D., Kenis, P.J.A. & Wieckowski, A. The role of surface defects in CO oxidation, methanol oxidation, and oxygen reduction on pt(111). Journal of the Electrochemical Society 154, F238-F242 (2007)
Spendelow, J.S. & Wieckowski, A. Electrocatalysis of oxygen reduction and small alcohol oxidation in alkaline media. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 9, 2654-2675 (2007).
Lewera, A. et al. Chalcogenide oxygen reduction reaction catalysis: X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy with Ru, Ru/Se and Ru/S samples emersed from aqueous media. Electrochimica Acta 52, 5759-5765 (2007)
Lewera, A. et al. Core-level binding energy shifts in Pt-Ru nanoparticles: A puzzle resolved. Chemical Physics Letters 447, 39-43 (2007).
Kobayashi, T., Babu, P.K., Chung, J.H., Oldfield, E. & Wieckowski, A. Coverage dependence of CO surface diffusion on Pt nanoparticles: An EC-NMR study. Journal of Physical Chemistry C 111, 7078-7083 (2007)
Inukai, J.J. et al. In situ synchrotron X-ray Spectroscopy of ruthenium nanoparticles modified with selenium for an oxygen reduction reaction. Journal of Physical Chemistry C 111, 16889-16894 (2007).
Duong, H.T., Rigsby, M.A., Zhou, W.P. & Wieckowski, A. Oxygen reduction catalysis of the Pt3Co alloy in alkaline and acidic media studied by x-ray photoelectron Spectroscopy and electrochemical methods. Journal of Physical Chemistry C 111, 13460-13465 (2007).
Dabo, I., Wieckowski, A. & Marzari, N. Vibrational recognition of adsorption sites for CO on platinum and platinum-ruthenium surfaces. Journal of the American Chemical Society 129, 11045-11052 (2007).
Babu, P.K., Lewera, A., Chung, J.H., Hunger, R., Jaegermann, W., Alonso-Vante, N., & Wieckowski, A. Selenium becomes metallic in Ru-Se fuel cell catalysts: An EC-NMR and XPS investigation. Journal of the American Chemical Society 129, 15140-15141 (2007).
- Fellow of the International Society of Electrochemistry, 2009
- Nominated: ECS fellow and the Pergamon Electrochimica Acta Gold Medal of the International Society of Electrochemistry
- Invited lectureship in Japan: January 18, 2004 - February 16, 2004.
- The ECS David C. Grahame Award, 2002-03
- North American Editor for Electrochimica Acta, January 1, 2001
- Jacques Tacussel Prize of the International Society of Electrochemistry, 1999
- The US Department of Energy Prize, 1992