Zhongnan Xu



Zhongnan Xu grew up in Portland, OR. From 2007-2010, he attended the University of Michigan — Ann Arbor, where he studied chemical engineering. During his time there, he worked in the research groups of Johannes Schwank and Suljo Linic, developing microwave characterization techniques of supported catalysts and studying plasmonic Ag nanoparticles. Upon graduation in 2010, Zhongnan joined the Kitchin group at CMU studying transition metal oxide (TMO) stability and activity using density functional theory (DFT). In 2016, Zhongnan joined Paul Voyle’s and Dane Morgan’s group as a postdoctoral researcher.

Research Interests

Zhongnan is currently developing computational tools for determining the structure and composition of real nano-particles. These tools combine the atomic-scale resolution techniques of the Voyles group and structure determination tools of the Morgan group. The overall goal is to identify active sites of highly active nano-particles.


    1. Z. Xu, J. R. Kitchin, “Tuning Oxide Activity through Modification of the Crystal and Electronic Structure: From Strain to Potential Polymorphs”, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 17, (2015), 28943-28949
    2. Z. Xu, Y. V. Joshi, S. Raman, J. R. Kitchin, “Accurate electronic and chemical properties of 3d transition metal oxides using a calculated linear response U and a DFT+U(V) method”, J. Chem. Phys., 142, (2015), 144701
    3. Z. Xu, J. Rossmeisl, J. R. Kitchin, “A Linear Response, DFT+U Study of Trends in the Oxygen Evolution Activity of Transition Metal Rutile Dioxides”, J. Phys. Chem. C, 119, (2015), 4827-4833
    4. Z. Xu, J. R. Kitchin, “Relationships between the surface electronic and chemical properties of doped 4d and 5d late transition metal dioxides”, J. Chem. Phys., 142, (2015), 104703
    5. Z. Xu, J. R. Kitchin, “Probing the Coverage Dependence of Site and Adsorbate Con gurational Correlations on (111) Surfaces of Late Transition Metals”, J. Phys. Chem. C, 118, (2014), 25597-25602
    6. Z. Xu, J. R. Kitchin, “Relating the electronic structure and reactivity of the 3d transition metal monoxide surfaces”, Catal. Commun., 52, (2014), 60-64

Awards and Honors

  1. 2015-2016 Dighe Fellowship
  2. 2015 AIChE Chemical and Reaction Engineering (CRE) Division Travel Award
  3. 2013 International Center for Materials Research (ICMR) Research Fellowship
  4. 2013 Bradford and Diane Smith Graduate Fellowship
  5. 2011 James C. Meade Chemical Engineering Graduate Fellowship
  6. 2010 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience Fellowship