IMI Interdisciplinary Mathematics InstituteCollege of Arts and Sciences

Thomas Vogt

  • Educational Foundation Distinguished Professor
  • Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
  • University of South Carolina

University of South Carolina

Associate Vice President for Research
University of South Carolina


Ph.D. Chemistry University of Tübingen, Germany 1987
Diploma Chemistry University of Tübingen, Germany 1985


2011 – Present Associate Vice President for Reseaerch University of South Carolina
2009 – Present Educational Foundation Distinguished Professor University of South Carolina
2009 – Present Visiting Professor African University of Science & Technology, Abuja, Nigeria
2005 – Present Director NanoCenter, USC
2005 – Present Professor Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, USC
2004 – Present Adjunct Professor Deparment of Philosophy, USC
2003 – 2005 Head of Materials Synthesis & Characterization Group Physics Department, BNL
2003 – 2005 Cluster Leader of Materials Synthesis, and Technical Coordinator for Scientific Equipment Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN), BNL
2000 – 2003 Group Leader of Powder Diffraction Group Physics Department, BNL
1995 – 2000 Physicist Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL)
1992 – 1995 Associate Physicist Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL)
1988 – 1992 Scientist Institute Laue-Langevin, France
1987 Postdoctoral appointment University of Frankfurt


Research Interests

  • structure-composition-property relationships of new materials;
  • materials science;
  • solid state chemistry and physics with a focus on developing and applying neutron, x-ray and electron diffraction and imaging techniques;
  • philosophical, legal, ethical and societal implications of nanotechnology and other emerging technologies.

Current Projects

  • The Design of Novel Photocatalysts - Both solar energy conversion and photo-catalytic waste remediation are based on the excitation of electron-hole pairs and the subsequent promotion of electrons into the conduction band enabling the reduction of an acceptor, while the holes left behind in the valence band will oxidize a donor. The energy required for this process is equal to or greater than the band gap of the semiconductor. In many cases co-catalysts such as Pt or NiO are added to further facilitate the redox process after the electron-hole formation. The peak power of the sun is in the yellow region near 2.5 eV. The photo-catalytic activity of various calcium bismuth oxides(Ca6O6O15, Ca4Bi6O13, CaBi6O10) are being investigated by monitoring the decomposition of methlyene blue (MB) under visible light. Cheap and easy to prepare Ca-Bi-oxides are promising photo-catalysts operating in visible light. The long term stability and activity as well as antibacterial and antimicrobial properties are currently being investigated.

  • New Phosphors for Up- and Down- Conversion of Light - Luminescenece, the absorption of energy with subsequent emission of light and more specific, fluorescence, the absorption of energy with subsequent emission of light in the visible spectrum are the basis of a broad range of every day applications such as lighting and x-ray detectors for medical and technical applications. Luminescent materials, also called phosphors, consist of a host lattice in which activator ions are doped into in small concentrations, typically less than a mole percent. The activator ions have energy levels that can be populated by direct excitation or indirectly by energy transfer, and are responsible for the luminescence. We have discovered a new family of luminescent materials and are currently exploring its use in white light LED applications as well as upconversion applications such as biomedical imaging. This work involves solid state synthesis, structural characterization using x-ray powder diffraction and extensive characterization of the optical properties.

  • HAADF/STEM - Imaging at the Nanoscale High-Angle-Annular-Dark-Field/Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (HAADF/STEM) is a technique uniquely suited for detailed studies of the structure and composition of complex oxides. The HAADF detector collects electrons which interact inelastically with the potentials of the atoms in the specimen and therefore resembles the better known Z2 (Z is atomic number) Rutherford scattering. One class of important catalysts consists of bronzes based on pentagonal {Mo6O21} building units; these include Mo5O14 and Mo17O47. In the last 20 years, new materials doped with a variety of substitution elements, but built upon the same structural building units, have been made and evaluated for their catalytic properties. Applications include the selective oxidation of light paraffins and olefins, as well as the partial oxidation of methanol. We engage in HAADF-STEM investigations of various complex oxide phases and have shown that we can for example distinguish metal-containing sites within these structurally and compositionally complex-oxides through Z2-contrast analysis. We compare our experiments to image simulations which are done in collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Mathematics Institute here at USC. Collaboration with Douglas Blom (University of South Carolina) and Douglas Buttrey (University of Delaware)


Honors and Other Special Scientific Recognition

  • 1996 R&D 100 award from R&D magazine
  • 2002 Design and Engineering Award of Popular Mechanics
  • 2006 Fellow of the American Physical Society
  • 2008 Board of Directors of USC Research Foundation
  • 2008 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 2009 Faculty of African University of Science & Technology, Abuja, Nigeria
  • 2009 Distinguished Research Fellow, University of Sydney, Australia


5 Selected Publications

  • William D. Pyrz, Douglas A. Blom, Masahiro Sadakane, Katsunori Kodato, Wataru Ueda, Thomas Vogt, and Douglas J. Buttrey, Atomic-Level Imaging of Mo-V-O Complex Oxide Phase Intergrowth, Grain Boundaries, and Defects using HAADF-STEM, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010, 107 (14), 6152-6157.
  • Douglas A. Blom, Xin Li, Sonali Mitra, Thomas Vogt, and Douglas Buttrey, STEM-HAADF Image Simulations of the Orthorhombic M1 Phase in the Mo-V-Te-Nb-O Propane Oxidation Catalyst, ChemCatChem, 2011, Volume 3, issue 6, 1028-1033.
  • Douglas A .Blom, William D. Pyrz, Tom Vogt, Douglas J. Buttrey, and W. D. Pyrz, Aberration-corrected STEM investigations of the M2 phase of MoVNbTeO complex oxidation catalyst, Journal of Electron Microscopy, 2009, 58(3), 193-198.
  • William D. Pyrz, Douglas A. Blom, Vadim V. Guliants, Thomas Vogt, and Douglas J. Buttrey, Using Cs-corrected STEM Imaging to Explore Chemical and Structural Variations in the M1 Phase of the MoVNbTeO Oxidation Catalyst, J Phys. Chem., 2008, C 112, 10043-10049.
  • William D. Pyrz, Douglas A. Blom. T. Vogt, and D.J. Buttrey, Direct Imaging of the MoVTeNbO M1 Phase using a Cs-corrected High-resolution Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope (STEM), Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed., 2008, 47, 2788-2791.


IMI Preprints and Seminars

IMI Preprints

IMI Seminars


Curriculum Vitae

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