Carnegie Mellon University

John Kitchin

John Kitchin

Professor, Chemical Engineering


Professor Kitchin completed his B.S. in Chemistry at North Carolina State University. He completed a M.S. in Materials Science and a PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware in 2004 under the advisement of Dr. Jingguang Chen and Dr. Mark Barteau. He received an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellowship and lived in Berlin, Germany for 1 ½ years studying alloy segregation with Karsten Reuter and Matthias Scheffler in the Theory Department at the Fritz Haber Institut. Professor Kitchin began a tenure-track faculty position in the Chemical Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University in January of 2006. He was awarded a DOE Early Career award in 2010. He received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2011. At CMU, Professor Kitchin studies catalysis on metals and metal oxides using density functional theory. He develops software for modeling materials, solving engineering problems and writing scientific documents. He also studies new materials for CO2 capture applications.


Ph.D. Chemical Engineering 2004, University of Delaware
M.S. Materials Science and Engineering 2002, University of Delaware
B.S. Chemistry 1996, North Carolina State University


Research Interests

Transition metal alloys are used throughout the chemical and energy industry as catalysts, and structural materials. Our group is developing methodologies to predict the reactivity of heterogeneous alloy surfaces using density functional theory and statistical models. We investigate the role of segregation in determining the surface composition and reactivity of alloy catalysts. We are using machine learning algorithms trained by large datasets derived from density functional theory to run long time and large length scale simulations of materials including alloys, oxides and interfaces.

CO2 capture is another integral part of future energy technology, as it may enable existing technology to be used with lower impact on the environment while renewable technologies are developed. We develop characterization methods for new CO2 capture materials including sorbents, physical and chemical solvents. Our recent work has focused on in situ Raman spectroscopy to characterize the physical solubility of CO2 in solvents for pre-combustion capture applications, and the development of a microfluidic device to measure chemical absorption rates in solvents for post-combustion CO2 capture applications.

Data sharing and reproducibility is a growing need and requirement in science. We develop software to facilitate data sharing and reproducibility of data analysis. Our software integrates narrative text, equations, images, tables, and citations with data and analysis code in a single source, providing a complete scientific record of the work. The document can then be exported to other formats for scientific publishing.

Research Websites

Catalysis and Surface Science
Energy Science and Engineering
Research Group Site

Awards and Honors

  • Philip L. Dowd Fellowship Award, 2014.
  • CIT Dean’s Early Career Fellowship, 2013.
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 2011.
  • Department of Energy Early Career Award, 2010.
  • Kun Li Award for excellence in Education, 2008.
  • Wimmer Faculty Fellow, CMU, 2008.
  • Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2004-2005.
  • American Vacuum Society Russell & Sigurd Varian Award, 2003.
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2000.
  • George W. Laird Fellowship, 2000.


See Publications