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Katherine Cimatu

Katherine Cimatu, portrait
Associate Professor & Graduate Chair
Chemistry 341, Athens Campus

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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

(°student and * corresponding author)

Yi He; Shuai Ren; Xi Wang; David Young; Marc Singer; Zineb Belarbi;Maalek Mohamed-Said; Sheyla Camperos; Md Rubel Khan; Katherine Cimatu, Delinkage of Metal Surface Saturation Concentration and Micellization in Corrosion Inhibition, CORROSION 4086, 2022. 

Annik Bernhardt, Tharushi D. Ambagaspitiya, Martin E. Kordesch, Katherine Leslee A. Cimatu, Jixin Chen*, In-situ ellipsometry measurements on the phase segregation of mixed halide lead perovskites, ChemPhysChem. April 26, 2022. Accepted Author Manuscript. 

Katherine Leslee A. Cimatu,* Tharushi D. Ambagaspitiya, Uvinduni I. Premadasa, Narendra M. Adhikari, Adelaide Kruse, Emily Robertson, Shanshan Guan, Lihan Rong, Rigoberto Advincula,b Benjamin J. Bythell, Polymer-Solvent Interaction and Conformational Changes at a Molecular Level: Implication to Solvent-Assisted Deformation and Aggregation at the Polymer Surface, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Volume 616, 15 June 2022, Pages 221-233.

Li, Feifei; Hopwood, Jonathan; Hu, Xiaobing; Ambagaspitiya, Tharushi; Cimatu, Katherine Leslee Asetre; Ciszek, Jacob, Monolayer Induced Changes in Metal Penetration and Wetting for Metal-on-Organic Interfaces, ACS Chemistry of Materials, ACS Chemistry of Materials, American Chemical Society, 2021, 33, 24, 9515-9523

Yasser Saleh Mustafa Alajerami*, David Drabold, M. H. A. Mhareb, Katherine Leslee A. Cimatu, Gang Chen, and K. M. Abushab, Investigation of Gamma Radiation Shielding Properties of Cadmium Bismuth Borate Glass Experimentally, XCOM Program and MCNP5 Code(opens in a new window), Physica Status Solidi B: Basic Solid State Physics, 21 November 2020.

Md. Rubel Khan°, Himanshu Singh, Sumit Sharma, Katherine Leslee A. Cimatu*, Direct Observation of Adsorption Morphologies of Cationic Surfactants at the Gold Metal-Liquid Interface(opens in a new window), The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 2020, 11, 22, 9901-9906. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.0c02517

Katherine Leslee A.Cimatu*, Uvinduni I.Premadasa°, Tharushi D.Ambagaspitiya°, Narendra M.Adhikari°, Joon Hee Jang, Evident phase separation and surface segregation of hydrophobic moieties at the copolymer surface using atomic force microscopy and SFG spectroscopy(opens in a new window), Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 2020, Volume 580, 15 November 2020, Pages 645-659.

Y. S. Alajerami*, D. A. Drabold, M. Mhareb, Kashi N. Subedi, Katherine Leslee A. Cimatu, and Gang Chen, Physical, structural, and shielding properties of cadmium bismuth borate-based glasses, Journal of Applied Physics 127, 175102 (2020); in a new window)

Y.S. Alajerami*, D. Drabold, M.H.A. Mhareb, Katherine Leslee A.Cimatu, Gang Chen, M.Kurudirek, Radiation shielding properties of bismuth borate glasses doped with different concentrations of cadmium oxides, Ceramics International, Volume 46, Issue 8, Part B, 1 June 2020, Pages 12718-12726, in a new window)

Md. Rubel Khan°, Uvinduni I. Premadasa°, Katherine Leslee A. Cimatu*, Role of the cationic headgroup to conformational changes undergone by shorter alkyl chain surfactant and water molecules at the air-liquid interface, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 2020, Volume 568, 15 May 2020, Pages 221-233, (Inside Cover: Vol 570)

Romelyn Obiles°, Uvinduni I. Premadasa°, Paul Cudia, Uriel Joseph Erasquin°, Jenna M. Berger°, Imee Su Martinez*, and Katherine Leslee Asetre Cimatu*, Insights on the Molecular Characteristics of Molecularly Imprinted Polymers as Monitored by Sum Frequency Generation Spectroscopy, Langmuir, 2020, 36, 1, 180-193, Publication Date: December 15, 2019

Uvinduni I. Premadasa°, Narendra M. Adhikari°, and Katherine Leslee A. Cimatu*, Molecular Insights into the Role of Electronic Substituents on the Chemical Environment of the −CH3 and & >C═O Groups of Neat Liquid Monomers Using Sum Frequency Generation Spectroscopy, J. Phys. Chem. C, 2019, 123, 46, 28201-28209, DOI:10.1021/acs.jpcc.9b07816

Narendra M. Adhikari°, Uvinduni I. Premadasa°, Zachary J. Rudy°, and Katherine Leslee A. Cimatu*, Orientational Analysis of Monolayers at Low Surface Concentrations Due to an Increased Signal-to-Noise Ratio (S/N) Using Broadband Sum Frequency Generation Vibrational Spectroscopy, Applied Spectroscopy, 2019, 0, 0, 1-14, DOI: 10.1177/0003702819857139

Jeeranan Nonkumwong, Joseph Uriel Erasquin°, Kurt Waldo Sy Piecco, Uvinduni I. Premadasa°, Ahmed M. Aboelenen, Andrew Tangonan, Jixin Chen, David Ingram, Laongnuan Srisombat*, and Katherine Leslee Asetre Cimatu*, Successive Surface Reactions on Hydrophilic Quartz for Modified Magnetic Nanoparticle Attachment Probed by Sum-Frequency Generation Spectroscopy, Langmuir, 2018, 34, 43, 12680-12693 Published DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.8b01333

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.