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College of Arts & Sciences

Katherine Cimatu

Katherine Cimatu

Assistant Professor

Chemistry & Biochemistry
Clippinger 295A

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Ph.D., University of Houston


  • Ultrafast Non-linear Spectroscopy
  • Interfacial Chemistry
  • Materials Science
  • Group Page

Interfaces and surfaces where chemical processes starts play a very significant role in bio-interfaces, heterogeneous catalytic reactions, nanoscience and renewable energy. For the past few years, scientists have been keen in building and developing spectroscopic and microscopic instruments that elucidate the chemical nature of different surfaces and interfaces (i.e. gas-liquid, liquid-solid and gas-solid interfaces). Sum frequency generation (SFG) spectroscopy is a non-linear vibrational technique that has been around for more than two decades. It is a powerful technique that can probe structure, orientation and chemical fingerprint of molecules at the interface. As a second-order nonlinear technique, SFG has an inherent interfacial specificity because in some cases, any signal derived from the bulk that has inversion symmetry is symmetry forbidden in the dipole approximation.

In our group, pico- and broadband sum frequency generation spectroscopic technique will be built, and its corresponding results will be supported by other techniques such as FTIR, Raman, AFM, SEM and TEM to study systems such as biocompatible polymers, lithium battery materials, electrical energy storage materials, nanoparticles and flat metallic and dielectric surfaces, and occurrences of corrosion on conducting and semiconducting materials. And lastly, future studies also will be made by time-resolved SFG spectroscopy. The integration of these various techniques allows us to look at these interfacial systems with a unique perspective.

Research interests in our group are very interdisciplinary, including physical chemistry, interfacial chemistry, analytical chemistry, nonlinear pico- and femtosecond spectroscopy and microscopy, nanotechnology, polymer science, corrosion, and energy application studies.

Selected Publications

Lei Wang, Joseph Pyle, Katherine Cimatu†, Jixin Chen†, "Ultrafast Transient Absorption Spectra of Photoexcited YOYO-1 Ask Additional Investigation on Its Fluorescence Quenching Mechanism," Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry Vol 367, 1 December 2018, Pages 411-419.

Uvinduni I. Premadasa†, Negar Moradighadi‡, Kondalarao Kotturi†, Jeeranan Nonkumwong†§, Md. Rubel Khan†, Marc Singer‡, Eric Masson*†, and Katherine L. A. Cimatu*†, “ Solvent Isotopic Effects on a Surfactant Headgroup at the Air–Liquid Interface.” J. Phys. Chem. C, 2018, 122 (28), pp 16079–16085. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.8b03680

Ali Asghari Adib, Saeed Nazemidashtarjandi, Alexander Kelly, Adelaide Kruse, Katherine Cimatu, Allan E. David and Amir M. Farnoud*, Engineered silica nanoparticles interact differently with lipid monolayers compared to lipid bilayers, Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2018,5, 289-303 10.1039/C7EN00685C (Journal Cover)

Narendra M. Adhikari, Uvinduni I. Premadasa, and Katherine Leslee Asetre Cimatu* “Sum frequency generation vibrational spectroscopy of methacrylate-based functional monomers at the hydrophilic solid–liquid interface,” Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, 19, pp 21818-21828 DOI: 10.1039/C7CP03113K

Uvinduni I. Premadasa, Narendra M. Adhikari, Susil Baral, Ahmed M. Aboelenen, Katherine Leslee Asetre Cimatu*, “Conformational Changes of Methacrylate- Based Monomers at the Air-Liquid Interface Due to Bulky Substituents.” J. Phys. Chem. C, 2017, 121 (31), pp 16888–16902 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b05433

Stephanie C. Chan, Joon Hee Jang, Katherine A. Cimatu*,“Orientational Analysis of Interfacial Molecular Groups of 2-Methoxyethyl Methacrylate Monomer Using Femtosecond Sum Frequency Generation Spectroscopy.”  J. Phys.Chem. C 2016, 120, 29358−29373.

Katherine A. Cimatu, Stephanie C. Chan, Joon Hee Jang, Kasey Hafer., “Preferential Organization of Methacrylate Monomers and Polymer Thin Films at the Air Interface Using Femtosecond Sum Frequency Generation Spectroscopy.” J. Phys. Chem. C. 2015, 119, 45, 25327-25339.

Cimatu, Katherine A., Mahurin, Shannon M., Meyer, Kent A. and Shaw, Robert W., “Nanoscale Chemical Imaging of Zinc Oxide Nanowire Corrosion.” J. Phys. Chem. C, 2012, 116, 10405–10414.

Sagle, Laura B., Cimatu, Katherine A., Litosh, Vladislav A., Liu, Yi, Flores, Sarah C., Chen, Xin, Yu, Bin, and Cremer, Paul S., “Methyl Groups of Trimethylamine N-Oxide Orient Away from Hydrophobic Interfaces.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 18707–18712.

Cimatu, Katherine A. and Baldelli, Steven ,“Chemical Microscopy of Surfaces by Sum Frequency Generation Imaging” J. Phys. Chem. C 2009, 113, 16575-16588.

Hernandez, M., Chinwangso, P., Cimatu, K., Srisombat, L., Lee, T. R., and Baldelli, S.,"Chemical Imaging and Distribution Analysis of Mono-, Di- and Tri-chelating Alkanethiol Self-assembled Monolayers on Gold by Sum Frequency Generation Imaging Microscopy." J. Phys. Chem. C, 2011, 115, 11, 4688–4695.

Cimatu, Katherine, Moore, Justin, Barriet, David, Chinwangso, Pawilai, Lee, T. Randall and Baldelli, Steven. , “Sum Frequency Generation Imaging of -OCH3, -CH3, -C=C, -phenyl, cyclopropyl and fluoro terminated μ-CP SAMS on Au.” J. Phys. Chem. C. 2008, 112, 14529-14537.

Cimatu, Katherine and Baldelli, Steven ,“Chemical Imaging of Corrosion: Sum Frequency Generation Imaging Microscopy of Gold Surface in Cyanide.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 8030-8037.

Hedberg, Jonas, Leygraf, Christofer, Cimatu, Katherine, and Baldelli, Steven. “Adsorption and Structure of Octadecanethiol on Zinc Surfaces As Probed by Sum Frequency Generation Spectroscopy, Imaging, and Electrochemical Techniques.” J. Phys. Chem. C. 2007, 111, 11751-11755.

Cannara, Rachel J., Brukman, Matthew J., Cimatu, Katherine, Sumant, Anirudha V., Baldelli, Steven and Carpick, Robert W. “Nanoscale Friction Varied by Isotopic Shifting of Surface Vibrational Frequencies.” Science 2007, 318, 780.

Cimatu, Katherine, Moore, Justin, Lee, T. Randall and Baldelli, Steven “Imaging of Microcontact Printed Monolayers Generated from Aliphatic Dithiocarboxylic Acids with Sum Frequency Generation Imaging Microscopy: Contrast Based on Terminal Group Orientation.” J. Phys. Chem. C. 2007, 111, 11751-11755.

Cimatu, Katherine and Baldelli, Steven “Spatially Resolved Surface Analysis of Octadecanethiol Self-Assembled Monolayer on Mild Steel Using Sum Frequency Generation Imaging Microscopy.” J. Phys. Chem. C 2007, 111, 7137-7143.

Cimatu, Katherine and Baldelli, Steven “Sum Frequency Generation Imaging Microscopy of CO on Platinum.” J. Am. Chem. Soc 2006, 128, 50, 16016-16017.

Cimatu, Katherine and Baldelli, Steven “Sum Frequency Generation of Microcontact-Printed Mixed Self-Assembled Monolayers.” J. Phys. Chem. B 2006, 110, 4, 1807-1813.

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