Computational Physics

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: There will be an opportunity for one or two students to work with Prof. He and Prof. Zygmunt this summer (2014) as research assistants. This research involves the computational study of nano heterostructures designed as bifunctional catalysts for redox reactions. Computational modeling will be carried out using first-principles methods. As an important indicator of the catalytic activity of the combined system, the redox reaction pathways will be investigated and the associated reaction energies and barriers will be calculated. Our goal is to obtain clear insights into the bifunctional role of the diode-like structure to facilitate the reduction and oxidation reactions concertedly.

LOCATION: The work will be performed on the VU campus.

REQUIREMENTS: Strongly-motivated and highly-interested students are encouraged to apply. A commitment to a full-time research in summer is required. Familiarity with Linux/Unix operating system is necessary. Students will learn to use the electronic-structure codes to run calculations, analyze data and report results in both oral and written formats. Students will be required to write and submit a report at the conclusion of the summer.

DATES & STIPEND: This summer appointment will normally be for 8-10 weeks, with an anticipated starting date in early June 2014. Slightly different starting dates or work periods may be possible. The salary will be $410 per week, and it is anticipated that a VU award will cover university housing costs. 

APPLICATION & DEADLINE:  Print and fill out the application form.

Interested applicants are encouraged to turn in completed applications as soon as possible. The deadline for completed applications is Feb. 14, 2014. Evaluation of the applications will take place by the end of March and applicants will be notified by early April. Please contact Prof. He ( or Prof. Zygmunt ( if you have any questions.