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College of Engineering and Computing

Faculty and Staff

Stavros G. Karakalos

Title: Research Assistant Professor
XPS Facility Director
Department: Chemical Engineering
College of Engineering and Computing
Phone: (803) 777-8028
Office: Swearingen Engineering Center
Room 3C08
301 Main Street 
Columbia, SC 29208
Resources: Google Scholar
headshot of Professor Karakalos


  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Patras, Greece, 2009
  • MSc., Chemical Engineering, University of Patras, Greece, 2005
  • B.S., Physics, University of Ioannina, Greece, 2003 


Understanding the reaction mechanism of various heterogeneous catalytic processes is of fundamental importance for our group. The main goal of a catalyst is to increase the rate of a reaction. This is achieved by creating new energetic pathways for the reaction, through the interaction of the catalyst and the reactants. The interaction can lead to new intermediates and lower activation energies. To this end, the study of model systems is important in order to draw safe conclusions. Important information derived from the study of model catalysts is that a surface can undergo structural and electronic changes during the reaction. The use of efficient techniques under Ultra High Vacuum and the in situ study of catalysts is more than a necessity. In our group we use X-Ray and Synchrotron Radiation Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS, SRPES, NAP-XPS), X-Ray induced Auger Electron Spectroscopy (XAES), Ultra Violet Photoelectron Spectroscopy (UPS), Temperature Programmed Desorption (TPD, TPRS), Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy (SIMS) and in situ Catalytic treatments, to determine the structure, composition and electronic properties of the outermost atomic layers of solid materials.

Selected Publications

  • Atomically Dispersed Single Ni Site Catalysts for Nitrogen Reduction toward Electrochemical Ammonia Synthesis Using N2and H2O. Shreya Mukherjee, Xiaoxuan Yang, Weitao Shan, Widitha Samarakoon, Stavros Karakalos, David A Cullen, Karren More, Maoyu Wang, Zhenxing Feng, Guofeng Wang, Gang Wu, Small Methods, 4, 1900821, 2020.
  • Highly active atomically dispersed CoN4 fuel cell cathode catalysts derived from surfactant-assisted MOFs: carbon-shell confinement strategy. Yanghua He, Sooyeon Hwang, David A. Cullen, M. Aman Uddin, Lisa Langhorst, Boyang Li, Stavros Karakalos, A. Jeremy Kropf, Evan C. Wegener, Joshua Sokolowski, Mengjie Chen, Debbie Myers, Dong Su, Karren L. More, Guofeng Wang, Shawn Litster, Gang Wu, Energy & Environmental Science, 12, 250-260, 2019.
  • Crossing the great divide between single-crystal reactivity and actual catalyst selectivity with pressure transients. Christian Reece, Evgeniy A. Redekop, Stavros Karakalos, Cynthia M. Friend, Robert. J. Madix, Nature Catalysis,1, 852–859, 2018.
  • Atomically dispersed manganese catalysts for oxygen reduction in proton-exchange membrane fuel cells. Jiazhan Li, Mengjie Chen, David A. Cullen, Sooyeon Hwang, Maoyu Wang, Boyang Li, Kexi Liu, Stavros Karakalos, Marcos Lucero, Hanguang Zhang, Chao Lei, Hui Xu, George E. Sterbinsky, Zhenxing Feng, Dong Su, Karren L. More, Guofeng Wang, Zhenbo Wang, Gang Wu, Nature Catalysis, 1, 935–945, 2018.
  • Noncovalent Bonding Controls Selectivity in Heterogeneous Catalysis: Coupling Reactions on Gold. Stavros Karakalos, Yunfei Xu, Fairoja Cheenicode Kabeer, Wei Chen, Juan Carlos F Rodríguez-Reyes, Alexandre Tkatchenko, Efthimios Kaxiras, Robert J Madix, Cynthia M Friend, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 38, 46, 15243–15250, 2016. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.