Chemistry at Illinois University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Andrew A. Gewirth

Professor of Chemistry
alumni research scholar

Professor Andrew A. Gewirth received his A.B. from Princeton University in 1981 and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1987. He joined the Illinois faculty in 1988 after postdoctoral work at the University of Texas, Austin. Research in his group focuses on the structure and reactivity of surfaces and interfaces.


Research in our group focuses on the structure and reactivity of surfaces and interfaces. We utilize local probe microscopies in conjunction with electrochemical, computational, and spectroscopic methods. Electrochemical use of the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) was developed in our laboratory.

Metal surfaces in electrochemical environments are important in satisfying future energy and remediation needs. One focus of recent activity is the four electron electroreduction of O2 to H2O. Despite intensive effort, little is understood about this reaction, which complicates design of new catalysts. We are using spectroscopic means on well-defined catalyst surfaces along with computational methods to interrogate intermediates and understand the mechanism of this reaction. The insight we obtain from these studies is used to design materials that may exhibit enhanced activity. We emphasize coupling inorganic materials, such as polyoxometalates, with electrochemical activity. These surfaces have potential use in fuel cells and other energy-related applications.

We examine electrode surfaces in order to elucidate properties of the electrochemical double layer and focus on fundamental properties of the electrified solid-liquid interface. For example, we use vibrational spectroscopic means to address, for the first time, the structure of water at this interface and the way in which the water molecules interact with the anions and cations that constitute the double layer. A related effort uses potential dependent "force spectroscopy" with the AFM to examine the composition of electrode materials.

Electrodeposition of Cu is the preferred method today to metallize semiconductors. Small organic and inorganic molecules control the texture of the electrodeposit, and developing an understanding of the way in which these molecules act becomes increasingly important as feature sizes decrease. We use vibrational spectroscopy and probe microscopy to interrogate these molecules and understand the way in which they moderate the electron transfer process occurring during deposition.

A new focus examines the behavior of supported phospholipid bilayers both by themselves and after introduction of relevant materials including polymers and proteins. We examine the interaction of different proteins with each other and with other constituents of the bilayer film as a function of external variables such as temperature, pressure, and applied field. These measurements are providing insight into the behavior of proteins and other constituents in cell membranes.


Multicopper Models for the Laccase Active Site: Effect of Nuclearity on Electrocatalytic Oxygen Reduction
Tse, E. C. M.; Schitler, D.; Gray, D. L.; Rauchfuss, T. B.; Gewirth, A. A. Inorg. Chem. 2014.

In Situ Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy of the Electrochemical Reduction of Carbon Dioxide on Silver with 3,5-Diamino-1,2,4-Triazole
Schmitt, K. G.; Gewirth, A. A. J. Phys. Chem. C 2014.

Proton switch for modulating oxygen reduction by a copper electrocatalyst embedded in a hybrid bilayer membrane
Barile, C. J.; Tse, E. C. M.; Li, Y.; Sobyra, T. B.; Zimmerman, S. C.; Hoesseini, A.; Gewirth, A. A. Nat. Mater. 2014.

Investigating the Reversibility of in Situ Generated Magnesium Organohaloaluminates for Magnesium Deposition and Dissolution
Barile, C. J.; Spatney, R.; Zavadil, K. R.; Gewirth, A. A. J. Phys. Chem. C 2014.

Investigating Rhodanine film formation on roughened Cu surfaces with electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and surface-enhanced Raman scattering spectroscopy
Honesty, N. R.; Kardas, G.; Gewirth, A. A. Corros. Sci. 2014.

Effect of Mn and Cu Addition on Lithiation and SEI Formation on Model Anode
Esbenshade, J.; Gewirth, A. A. J. Electrochem. Soc. 2014.

Fabrication of an oxysulfide of bismuth Bi2O2S and its photocatalytic activity in a Bi2O2S/In2O3 composite
Pacquette, A. L.; Hagiwara, H.; Ishihara, T.; Gewirth, A. A. J. Photochem. Photobio. A 2014.

Polymer supported organic catalysts for O2 reduction in Li-O2 batteries
Weng, W.; Barile, C. J.; Du, P.; Abouimrane, A.; Assary, R. S.; Gewirth, A. A.; Curtiss, L. A.; Amine, K. Electrochim. Acta 2014.

Model Ge microstructures as anodes for Li-ion batteries
Long, B. R.; Goldman, J. L.; Nuzzo, R. G.; Gewirth, A. A. J. Solid State. Electrochem. 2013.

Directed Transport as a Route to Improved Performance in Micropore-Modified Encapsulated Multilayer Silicon Electrodes
Goldman, J. L.; Cason, M. W.; Wetzel, D. J.; Vieker, H.; Beyer, A.; Golzhauser, A.; Gewirth, A. A.; Nuzzo, R. G. J. Electrochem. Soc. 2013.

In-situ measurement of ethanol tolerance in an operating fuel cell
Naughton, M. S.; Tornow, C. E.; Bonita, Y.; Jhong, H.; Brushett, F. R.; Gewirth, A. A; Kenis, P. J. A. Int. J. Hydrogen Energ. 2013.

Surface Coverage and SEI Induced Electrochemical Surface Stress Changes during Li Deposition in a Model System for Li-Ion Battery Anodes
Tavassol, H.; Chan, M. K. Y.; Catarello, M. G.; Greeley, J.; Cahill, D. G.; Gewirth, A. A. J. Electrochem. Soc. 2013.

X-ray diffraction microscopy of lithiated silicon microstructures
Fister, T. T.; Goldman, J. L.; Long, B. R.; Nuzzo, R. G.; Gewirth, A. A.; Fenter, P. A. Appl. Phys. Lett. 2013.

Identifying lithium-air battery discharge products through 6Li solid-state MAS and 1H-13C solution NMR spectroscopy
Huff, L. A.; Rapp, J. L.; Zhu, L.; Gewirth, A. A. J. Power Sources 2013.

Investigating the Li-O2 Battery in an Ether-Based Electrolyte Using Differential Electrochemical Mass Spectrometry
Barile, C. J.; Gewirth, A. A. J. Electrochem. Soc. 2013.

3-Hexylthiophene as a Stabilizing Additive for High Voltage Cathodes in Lithium-Ion Batteries
Abouimrane, A.; Odom, S. A.; Tavassol, H.; Schulmerich, M. V.; Wu, H.; Bhargava, R.; Gewirth, A. A.; Moore, J. S.; Amine, K. J. Electrochem. Soc. 2013.



  • University of Illinois Scholar, 1995
  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, 1993
  • DOE Outstanding Accomplishment in Materials Science, 1993
  • Fellow, UIUC Center for Advanced Study, 1991
  • Presidential Young Investigator Award, 1990



Photo of Andrew Gewirth