Brandon Bukowski

Graduate Research Assistant

Advised by Professor Jeffrey Greeley

Professional Networks



Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester MA. B.Che.E. Minor in Physics (2014)
Purdue University, Ph.D. Chemical Engineering (2014 - present)

About Me

I was born and raised in Connecticut and studied in Massachusetts at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. I worked with Prof. Aaron Deskins studying photocatalysis on decorated graphene sheets using Density Functional Theory (DFT). I looked at the band structure of TiO2 clusters as they adsorb onto graphene sheets with oxide defects. Another area of interest to me was the effect of Nitrogen defects on the methanol synthesis of Pt containing carbon nanotubes. In my final summer at WPI I began examining the band structure of doped BiVO4 bulk crystals to help identify new photoactive materials in conjunction with the WPI Material Sciences department.

Project Description

As energy demands increase, a fundamental understanding of catalysis is required to meet global needs. The field of catalysis has already demonstrated that many seemingly impossible chemical processes can be realized through an appropriate choice of materials and operating conditions. It is clear that new catalytic research will have a direct impact on the efficiency of petroleum and shale gas industries, as well as alternative energy sources such as fuel cells and hydrogen. Although catalysts have been in use for a century, there is tremendous room for the design of novel catalysts. Advanced computational studies will allow for more focused catalyst design exercises that will ultimately lead to a larger number of catalysts reaching the industrial scale. The computational method of Density Functional Theory (DFT) allows for rapid screening of potential alloys that meet desirable criteria. This methodology predicts catalytic trends and measure physical data that is inaccessible to experimentalists.

My research interest is to gain a more robust fundamental understanding of the interfaces in multifunctional catalysts with complex metal/metal-oxide structures. The goal of my project is to understand the interaction between metal-oxide surfaces and gold nanoparticles. This includes many avenues which haven’t been robustly understood such as the effect of dopants in the metal-oxide support. These dopants may be mobile in the support and affect the interfacial phenomena when in contact with gold.