Göttinger Graduiertenschule für Neurowissenschaften, Biophysik und Molekulare Biowissenschaften

Wodtke, Alec M., Prof., Ph.D.

  • 1981: Bachelor of Arts, Major in Chemistry, University of Utah
  • 1986: Doctor of Philosophy in Physical Chemistry, University of California Berkeley
  • 1981-1986: Graduate Student Researcher, U.C. Berkeley
  • 1986-1988: Guest Scientist, Max Planck Institute for Fluid Dynamics, Göttingen, Germany
  • 1991: Guest Scientist, Dept. of Physics, University of Kaiserslautern, Germany
  • 1988-1993: Asst. Professor, Dept. of Chemistry UC Santa Barbara
  • 1993: Visiting Scientist, Catholic University of Nejmegen, the Netherlands
  • 1993-1996: Associate Professor with Tenure, Dept. of Chemistry, UC Santa Barbara
  • 1996-2010: Full Professor, Dept. of Chemistry, UC Santa Barbara
  • 2003-2009: Chairman, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UC Santa Barbara
  • 2004-2007: Associate Director of the Institute for Quantum and Complex Dynamics
  • 2005-: Director, Partnership for International Research and Education – Electro Chemistry and Catalysis at Interfaces
  • 2010: Professor Above-Scale, Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UC Santa Barbara
  • 2010: Professor, Institute for Physical Chemistry, Georg-August University Göttingen, Germany
  • 2010: Director and Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, Max Planck Institute for biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany

Major Research Interests

An important aspect of future research is based on advancing understanding in problems related to electronically nonadiabatic energy transfer at surfaces. Electronically non-adiabatic effects refer to Born-Oppenheimer approximation (BOA) breakdown where energy can be converted back and forth between nuclear and electronic motion. While electronically nonadiabatic interactions have been observed in other physical contexts – for example gas-phase and liquid-phase energy transfer – for molecular interactions at surfaces; they appear to be of central importance. For example, observations of electron emission from low work function surfaces resulting from collisions of highly vibrationally excited molecules give direct evidence of the conversion of internal (vibrational) energy of a molecule. Such behavior is of significant interest to energy conversion research as it represents an entirely new field of inquiry into how elementary atomic scale energy conversion processes take place, where chemical and electrical energy are intrinsically interrelated. The theoretical basis for the first-principles understanding of this class of phenomenology is still in its infancy. Thus, new experiments motivate new theoretical developments and vice versa. Furthermore, as our understanding of such elementary energy conversion processes improves, we may predict behavior and attempt to exploit our new knowledge to create conditions for unexpected new kinds of energy conversion.

Homepage Department/Research Group



Selected Recent Publications

  • Russell Cooper, Christof Bartels, Aleksandr Kandratsenka, Igor Rahinov, Niel Shenvi, Zhisheng Li, Daniel J. Auerbach, John C. Tully, Alec M. Wodtke (2012) Multiquantum vibrational excitation of NO scattered from Au(111): Quantitative comparison of benchmark data to ab initio theories of nonadiabatic molecule-surface interactions. Angew. Chemie Int. Ed., 124, 5038 –5042.

  • Rahinov I, Cooper R, Bartels C, Matsiev D, Auerbach DJ and Wodtke AM (2011) Quantifying the break-down of the Born-Oppenheimer approximation in surface chemistry. Perspective Article for Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, DOI: 10.1039/clcp20356h.

  • Larue J, Schäfer T, Matsiev D, Velarde L, Auerbach DJ and Wodtke AM (2011) Vibrationally promoted electron emission at a metal surface: Electron kinetic energy distributions. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 13, 978-99 (2011).

  • Russell Cooper, Igor Rahinov, Daniel Matsiev, Daniel J. Auerbach, Alec M. Wodtke (2010) Vibrational overtone excitation in electron mediated energy transfer at metal surfaces, Chemical Science, 1 55-61.

  • Jeong Min Baik, Myung Hwa Kim, Christopher Larson, Xihong Chen, G. Shujing, X. Bao, X. Pan, Alec M. Wodtke, and Martin Moskovits (2008) High-yield TiO2 nanowire synthesis and field-effect transistor fabrication. Appl. Phys. Letts, 92 242111.

  • Sven P.K. Koehler, Y. Y. Ji, Daniel J. Auerbach, and Alec M. Wodtke (2009) Three-dimensional velocity map imaging of KBr surface photochemistry. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 11, 7540-7544.

  • Nahler H, Larue J, White J, Auerbach DJ and Wodtke AM (2008) Inverse velocity dependence of vibrationally promoted electron emission from a metal surface. Science 321, 1191-1194.

  • Ran Q, Matsiev D, Auerbach DJ and Wodtke AM (2007) Change of vibrational excitation mechanism in HCl/Au collisions with surface temperature: transition from electronically adiabatic to non-adiabatic behavior. Physical Review Letters 98, 237601.

  • White J, Chen J, Matsiev D, Auerbach DJ and Wodtke AM (2005) Conversion of large amplitude vibration to electron excitation at a metal surface. Nature 433, 503-505.