University of California, Riverside

Department of Chemistry




Francisco Zaera
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry


B.S., 1979, Simon Bolivar University, Caracas, Venezuela
Ph.D., 1984, University of California, Berkeley
Postdoctoral Fellow, 1984-86, Brookhaven National Laboratory

Office: 146A Chemical Sciences
Phone O/L: (951) 827-5498/5736
Research Area: Analytical Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Materials Chemistry, Physical Chemistry
Group Site


The overall goal of our research is to understand the mechanism of surface reactions at the molecular level. Our studies are directed towards the characterization of key stable and unstable moieties relevant to heterogeneous catalysis, chemical vapor deposition, and other materials processes. We use a large combination of surface-sensitive techniques, including thermal programmed desorption (TPD), infrared (IR), X-ray photoelectron (XPS), statis secondary ion mass (SSIMS), ion scattering (ISS), low energy electron diffraction (LEED) and Auger electron (AES) spectroscopies in conjunction with molecular beams and high pressure cells, and other spectroscopies.

One of our main projects focuses on the surface reactions of hydrocarbon species involved in catalytic reforming and in oxidation processes. We aim to understand the thermodynamic and kinetic forces responsible for the activity and selectivity of conversion reactions involving small hydrocarbons on metal and oxide surfaces. We have recently embarked in the study of ways to impart chirality to surfaces in order to promote enantioselectivity to heterogeneous catalytic processes. We also work on a number of other catalytic problems, including the catalytic conversion of NO, CO, and other poisonous gases responsible for air pollution.

A second program is directed toward issues associated with materials chemistry. We are studying the mechanisms of chemical vapor deposition (CVD) processes, in particular the newer atomic layer deposition (ALD) approach, focusing on the kinetics of the elementary decomposition steps of the molecules used as precursors as well as on the morphology of the resulting films.


Selected Publications


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General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Department of Chemistry
Chemical Sciences
501 Big Springs Road

Tel: (951) 827-3789 (Chair's Assistant)
Fax: (951) 827-2435 (confidential)