Loyola University Chicago

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Faculty & Staff

Mahapatra, Mausumi

Title/s:  Assistant Professor

Office #:  FH - 401

Phone: 773.508.3169

Email: mmahapatra1@luc.edu


  • Postdoctoral fellow, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 2020 -2022
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Brookhaven National Laboratory, 2017-2020
  • Ph.D. in Chemistry, UW Milwaukee, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, 2009-2015

Research Interests

My research interest focuses on heterogeneous catalysis and chemical reactions on well-defined surfaces of oxides and metal/oxide interfaces. We will study the atomic design and characterization of novel catalytic surfaces with tailored chemical properties for clean energy, sustainability, and environment-related applications. Ultrahigh vacuum scanning tunneling microscopy will be used to visualize the geometric and electronic properties of the catalyst surfaces at atomic level resolution. In addition, various spectroscopic techniques such as X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, and mass spectrometry will be used to probe the oxide/metal interfacial chemistry and its interaction with chemical reactants. These studies will be complemented by theoretical density functional theory calculations. There are two separate research thrusts that my group will focus on:

Carbon negative strategies: Atomic design and characterization of novel catalyst surfaces relevant to C1 molecule (e.g., CO2, CH4) conversion chemistry

Global warming and climate change pose serious threats to our society. CO2 and CH4 are two major sources of atmospheric greenhouse gases, the primary source of global warming. To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a threshold the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) suggests is safe, we must remove the greenhouse gases (carbon negative) from the atmosphere. My lab will focus on fundamental studies to develop catalytic surfaces and processes for the chemical conversion of such greenhouse gases to value-added chemicals such as methanol (CH3OH). Methanol is a primary feedstock in many important industrial processes and can also be mixed with gasoline as a clean fuel. We will study the morphology, electronic properties, reactivity, and structure-activity relationships of novel organometal modified single atom catalyst surfaces relevant to such catalytic reactions within this scope.

Design of chiral oxide surfaces for enantioselective applications

Chirality prevails in nature and the molecules that make up life on earth (e.g., sugars, DNA, amino acids, proteins) are homochiral and exist in only one of their two enantiomeric forms.  Therefore, it is critical to synthesize pharmaceuticals in enantiomerically pure form to avoid the undesired side effects of the other enantiomer on the human body. My lab will focus on designing novel 2-dimensional chiral surfaces that can be tuned to perform key chemical reactions with very high enantiospecificity. The chiral surfaces will be prepared by simple adsorption of chiral molecules (e.g., amino acids) of a single enantiomer on oxide surfaces. These studies will provide fundamental and mechanistic insights into the molecular origins of chiral catalysis, which has potential applications in the pharmaceutical industry.  

Selected Publications

Link to google scholar: (https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=kMQuUhEAAAAJ)

  1. Mahapatra, M.; Kang, J.; Ramírez, P. J.; Hamlyn, R.; Rui, N.; Liu, Z.; Orozco, I.; Senanayake, S. D.; Rodriguez, J. A., Growth, structure, and catalytic properties of ZnOx Grown on CuOx/Cu(111) surfaces. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 2018, 122 (46), 26554-26562.
  2. Hamlyn, R. C.; Mahapatra, M.; Grinter, D. C.; Xu, F.; Luo, S.; Palomino, R. M.; Kattel, S.; Waluyo, I.; Liu, P.; Stacchiola, D. J., Imaging the ordering of a weakly adsorbed two-dimensional condensate: ambient-pressure microscopy and spectroscopy of CO2 molecules on rutile TiO2(110). Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 2018, 20 (19), 13122-13126.
  3. Mahapatra, M.; Burkholder, L.; Bai, Y.; Garvey, M.; Boscoboinik, J. A.; Hirschmugl, C.; Tysoe, W. T., Formation of chiral self-assembled structures of amino acids on transition-metal surfaces: alanine on Pd (111). The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 2014, 118 (13), 6856-6865.
  4. Mahapatra, M.; Burkholder, L.; Garvey, M.; Bai, Y.; Saldin, D. K.; Tysoe, W. T., Enhanced hydrogenation activity and diastereomeric interactions of methyl pyruvate co-adsorbed with R-1-(1-naphthyl) ethylamine on Pd(111). Nature communications 2016, 7, 12380.
  5. Liu, Z.; Huang, E.; Orozco, I.; Liao, W.; Palomino, R.M.; Rui, N.; Duchoň,T.; Nemšák,S.; Grinter,D.C.; Mahapatra, M.; Liu,P.; Rodriguez,J.A.; Senanayake, S.D., Water-promoted interfacial pathways in methane oxidation to methanol on a CeO2-Cu2O catalysts. Science 2020, 368 (6490) 513-517
  6. Huang, E.; Orozco, I.; Ramirez, P.; Liu, Z.; Zhang, F.; Mahapatra, M.; Nemsak, S.; Senanayake, S.; Rodriguez, J.; Liu, P., Selective methane oxidation to methanol on ZnO/Cu2O/Cu(111) Catalysts: Multiple  site-dependent behaviors. JACS 2021