Virginia Tech® home

John Morris

  • Associate Dean for Research, College of Science
  • Dr. A.C. Lilly Jr. Faculty Fellow in Nanoscience
John Morris
1101 Hahn Hall South

Research Interests

Our experimental investigations are aimed at developing a detailed understanding of the interfacial chemical reactions that play a vital role in numerous biological and environmental processes such as catalysis, chemical sensing, cell transport, and respiration. The experiments are facilitated by using functionalized self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) and Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) films to model a variety of important interfacial systems, and by employing molecular beam techniques to precisely control the gas temperature, directionality, and flux onto the surface. The studies are performed in an ultrahigh vacuum environment which allows the isolation of molecule-surface reactions from bulk phase processes, and enables the implementation of a number of surface sensitive analytical techniques to monitor the destruction and formation of interfacial chemical bonds. The experiments help to reveal gas-surface adsorption and reaction probabilities, determine bonding structures and energies, and identify reaction products for model gas-surface interactions. Some of our current research projects include:

  • Chemical sensor development through studies of the ways in which hydrogen bonding gases, such as a number of volatile organic compounds, adsorb to specially designed functionalized surfaces.
  • Exploration of fundamental reaction mechanisms to provide insight into the ways in which corrosive chemicals bond to, diffuse into, and react at an interface.
  • Development of new strategies for chemical warfare agent sensing and destruction.
  • Investigation of Chemistry at the Gas-Pulmonary Surfactant Interface to provide a more complete understanding of the toxic health effects associated with a number pollutant gases.
  1. Chapleski, R. C.; Zhang, Y.; Troya, D.; Morris, J. R., "Heterogeneous Chemistry and Reaction Dynamics of the Atmospheric Oxidants, O3, NO, and OH, on Organic Surfaces," Chemical Society Review 2016, 45, 3731-3746.
  2. Panayotov, D.; Morris, J. R., "Surface Chemistry of Au/TiO2: Thermally and Photolytically Activated Reactions," Surface Science Reports, 2016, 71, 77–271.
  3. Zhang, Y.; Morris, J. R., "Hydrogen Abstraction Probability in Reactions of Gas-Phase NO3 with an OH-Functionalized Organic Surface," Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2015, 119 (26), 14742-14747.
  4. Russell, J. N., Jr.; Karwacki, C. J., Morris, J. R., "An Operando View of the Nanoscale,"Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 2015, 6 (24), 4923-4926.
  5. Abelard, J.; Wilmsmeyer, A. R.; Edwards, A. C.; Gordon, W. O.; Durke, E. M.; Karwacki, C. J.; Troya, D.; Morris, J. R. Adsorption of 2-Chloroethyl Ethyl Sulfide on Silica: Binding Mechanism and Energy of a Bifunctional Hydrogen-Bond Acceptor at the Gas Surface Interface. Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2015, 119 (1), 365-372.
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2001
  • Army Research Office Young Investigator Award, 2001
  • Clifford Service Award, 2009
  • Viers Teaching Award, 2010
  • Schug Research Award, 2012
  • B.S. Aquinas College, 1991
  • Ph.D. University of Notre Dame, 1996
  • Postdoctoral Associate, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1996–1999