Alexander Benderskii

Associate Professor of Chemistry
Email Office SSC 602 Office Phone (213) 740-3220

Research & Practice Areas

Nonlinear optical spectroscopy and ultrafast dynamics of condensed-phase surfaces and interfaces


  • Ph.D. Physical Chemistry, University of Utah, 7/1996
  • M.S. Chemical Physics, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (Russia), 6/1992
    • Postdoc, Columbia University, 09/01/1999-07/31/2002
    • Postdoc, University of California Irvine, 09/01/1996-08/31/1999
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Associate Professor, University of Southern California, 08/15/2009 –
    • Associate Professor, Wayne State University , 08/16/2008 – 08/15/2009
    • Assistant Professor, Wayne State University, 08/17/2002 – 08/15/2008
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Our research focuses on molecular structure and dynamics of surfaces and interfaces important in life sciences, nano- and bio-technology, and material science. Two complementary aspects of our research program are (1) development of new and more powerful surface spectroscopy techniques with better sensitivity and detection limits, ultrafast time resolution, and improved molecular-level information content; and (2) applications of these techniques for studies of molecular structure, organization, reactivity, and dynamics in these interesting and complex environments. We focus on vibrational spectroscopy because it provides a wealth of information on the molecular structure and organization. To achieve surface selectivity, we utilize even-order nonlinear optical processes, such as Sum Frequency Generation (SFG), which are symmetry-forbidden in isotropic bulk media. Our current projects fall into three categories: (1) Structure and dynamics of the hydrogen bonding network at aqueous interfaces, with the long-range goal of better understanding ‘biological water’ and biomembrane surfaces. (2) Molecular organization of monolayer and surface materials used in organic photovoltaics, nanoscale devices, and biomedical technology. The ‘tailored’ surface materials under investigation include: Langmuir-Blodgett monolayers, Self-Assembled Monolayers, polymer surfaces, and bio-functionalized surfaces. (3) Surfaces of nanostructures: a common motif in many emerging nanotechnology applications involves organic molecules adsorbed on nanostructures to perform the desired physical, chemical, or biological function. We focus on the new effects arising when the characteristic size of the nanostructure approaches the molecular scale. We also explore the enhancement of nonlinear spectroscopic signals due to local nanoplasmon effects, with potential application in sensors with ultra-low detection limits and high molecular information content.

    Research Keywords

    Chemical dynamics; Femtosecond laser spectroscopy; Ultrafast dynamics; Nonlinear optical spectroscopy; Sum frequency
    generation (SFG); Second Harmonic Generation (SHG); Hydrogen bond dynamics; Monolayers; Surfaces; Interfaces

  • Journal Article

    • Vinaykin, M., Benderskii, A. V. (2013). Orientational dynamics in sum frequency spectroscopic line shapes. The journal of physical chemistry. B. Vol. 117 (49), pp. 15833-42. PubMed Web Address
    • Valley, D. T., Onstott, M., Malyk, S., Benderskii, A. V. (2013). Steric hindrance of photoswitching in self-assembled monolayers of azobenzene and alkane thiols. Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids. Vol. 29 (37), pp. 11623-31. PubMed Web Address
    • Dhar, A. V., Khlyabich, P., Burkhart, B., Roberts, S. T., Malyk, S., Thompson, B. T., Benderskii, A. V. (2013). Annealing-Induced Changes in the Molecular Orientaiton of Poly-3-hexylthiophene at Buried Interfaces. J. Phys. Chem.Vol. 117,pp. 15213-15220.
    • Malyk, S., Shalhout, F. Y., O’Leary, L. E., Lewis, N. S., Benderskii, A. V. (2012). Vibrational Sum Frequency Spectroscopic Investigation of the Azimuthal Anisotropy and Rotational Dynamics of Methyl-Terminated Silicon(111) Surfaces. J. Phys. Chem. C. Vol. 117 (2), pp. 935-944.
    • Shalhout, F. Y., Malyk, S., Benderskii, A. V. (2012). Relative Phase Change of Nearby Resonances in Temporally Delayed Sum Frequency Spectra. J. Phys. Chem. Lett.. Vol. 3 (23), pp. 3493-3497.
    • Vinaykin, M. V., Benderskii, A. V. (2012). Vibrational Sum-Frequency Spectrum of the Water Bend at the Air/Water Interface. J. Phys. Chem. Lett.. Vol. 3 (22), pp. 3348-3352.
    • Stiopkin, I. V., Weeraman, C., Pieniazek, P. A., Shalhout, F. Y., Skinner, J. L., Benderskii, A. V. (2011). Hydrogen bonding at the water surface revealed by isotopic dilution spectroscopy. Nature. Vol. 474, pp. 192-195.
    • Stiopkin, I. V., Jayathilake, H. D., Benderskii, A. V. (2010). Temporal Effects on Spectroscopic Line Shapes, Resolution, and Sensitivity of the Broad-Band Sum Frequency Generation. JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS/ AMER INST PHYSICS. Vol. 132 (23), pp. 234503.
    • Benderskii, A. V. (2009). Molecular Order in Langmuir-Blodgett Monolayers of Metal-Ligand Surfactants Probed by Sum Frequency Generation. LANGMUIR / AMERican CHEMICAL SOC. Vol. 25 (12), pp. 6880-6886.
    • Yatawara, A. K., Tiruchinapally, G., Bordenyuk, A. N., Andreana, P. R., Benderskii, A. V. (2009). Carbohydrate Surface Attachment Characterized by Sum Frequency Generation Spectroscopy. Langmuir. Vol. 25 (4), pp. 1901-1904.
    • Jayathilake, H. D., Driscoll, J. A., Bordenyuk, A. N., Wu, L. B., da Rocha, S. R., Verani, C. N., Benderskii, A. V. (2009). Molecular Order in Langmuir-Blodgett Monolayers of Metal-Ligand Surfactants Probed by Sum Frequency Generation. Langmuir. Vol. 25 (12), pp. 6880-6886.
    • Stiopkin, I. V., Jayathilake, H. D., Bordenyuk, A. N., Benderskii, A. V. (2008). Heterodyne-detected vibrational sum frequency generation spectroscopy. Journal of the American Chemical Society. Vol. 130 (7), pp. 2271-2275.
    • Palyvoda, O., Bordenyuk, A. N., Yatawara, A. K., McCullen, E., Chen, C. C., Benderskii, A. V., Auner, G. W. (2008). Molecular organization in SAMs used for neuronal cell growth. Langmuir. Vol. 24 (8), pp. 4097-4106.
    • Bordenyuk, A. N., Weeraman, C., Yatawara, A., Jayathilake, H. D., Stiopkin, I., Liu, Y., Benderskii, A. V. (2007). Vibrational sum frequency generation spectroscopy of dodecanethiol on metal nanoparticles. Journal of Physical Chemistry C. Vol. 111 (25), pp. 8925-8933.
    • Weeraman, C., Yatawara, A. K., Bordenyuk, A. N., Benderskii, A. V. (2006). Effect of nanoscale geometry on molecular conformation: Vibrational sum-frequency generation of alkanethiols on gold nanoparticles. Journal of the American Chemical Society. Vol. 128 (44), pp. 14244-14245.
    • Jayathilake, H. D., Zhu, M. H., Rosenblatt, C., Bordenyuk, A. N., Weeraman, C., Benderskii, A. V. (2006). Rubbing-induced anisotropy of long alkyl side chains at polyimide surfaces. Journal of Chemical Physics. Vol. 125 (6), pp. 064706.
    • Bordenyuk, A. N., Jayathilake, H., Benderskii, A. V. (2005). Coherent vibrational quantum beats as a probe of Langmuir-Blodgett monolayers. Journal of Physical Chemistry B. Vol. 109 (33), pp. 15941-15949.
    • Bordenyuk, A. N., Benderskii, A. V. (2005). Spectrally- and time-resolved vibrational surface spectroscopy: Ultrafast hydrogen-bonding dynamics at D2O/CaF2 interface. Journal of Chemical Physics. Vol. 122 (13), pp. 134713 (11 pages).
    • NSF CAREER Award, 2005/02/01-2010/01/31
    • NSF nomination for the Chairmen of the European Research Councils’ Chemistry Committees (CERC3) Young Chemists Workshop (one of 3 nominees from the US), 2007-2008
    • WSU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award, 2005-2006
    • ACS Petroleum Research Fund, 2004-2005
  • Committees

    • Co-Chair, Gradaute Recruiting Committee, 2010-2011
    • Co-Chair, Gradaute Recruiting Committee, 2009-2010
  • Conferences Organized

    • Organizer, Telluride Science Research Center Workshop “Nonlinear Optics at Interfaces” , Telluride, CO, 2011-2012
    • Conference organizer, Telluride Science Research Center Workshop “Nonlinear Optics at Interfaces”, Telluride, CO, 2009-2010
    • Conference organizer, Telluride Science Research Center Workshop “Nonlinear Optics at Interfaces”, Telluride, CO, 2008-2009

    Professional Memberships

    • American Chemical Society, 01/21/2000 –
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