Research in the Kulik group

The Kulik group develops advanced simulation methodology ranging from data-driven to computationally-demanding but very accurate quantum mechanical simulation for the advancement of understanding and design of materials, inorganic catalysts, and biological enzymes. Simulations provide researchers in the Kulik group unique insights into relationships between how structure (i.e., where the atoms and electrons are) informs function (i.e., what do we see at the macroscopic scale). These tools all underlie our advancement of new methods to design molecules atom-by-atom. We also advance and use novel computing architectures to make normally impossible to solve calculations tractable, providing some key insights into how electronic structure teaches us new design rules in large, complex systems such as enzymes. Keep up to date by:

How does solid state density localize? (Ed Choice)

Widely employed approximate density functional theory (DFT) suffers from delocalization errors. DFT+U and hybrid functionals are widely employed methods to correct energetic delocalization errors, but their effect on the density is less well known. Our recent workdemonstrated that in transition metal complexes both methods localize density away from the metal and onto surrounding ligands, regardless of metal or ligand identity, in a similar fashion.

Scaling relations in single-site catalysis

Computational catalyst screening is limited primarily by the efficiency with which accurate predictions can be made. In bulk heterogeneous catalysis, linear free energy relationships (LFERs) accelerate screening by relating catalytic activity back to the adsorption energies of key intermediates, but their applicability to single-site catalysts remains unclear, in view of the directional, covalent metal-ligand bonds and the broader chemical space of accessible ligand scaffolds.

Recovering exact conditions in semilocal DFT

Widely employed semi-local DFT suffers from well-known errors that prevent its robust predictio, e.g. in materials and catalyst design. This failure in semi-local DFT can be traced to the violation of exchange-correlation approximations of key exact conditions. The flat-plane condition is the union of two exact constraints in electronic structure theory: (i) energetic piecewise linearity with fractional electron removal or addition and (ii) invariant energetics with change in electron spin in a half filled orbital.


About Us

The Kulik group focuses on the development and application of new electronic structure methods and atomistic simulations tools in the broad area of catalysis.

Our Interests

We are interested in transition metal chemistry, with applications from biological systems (i.e. enzymes) to nonbiological applications in surface science and molecular catalysis.

Our Focus

A key focus of our group is to understand mechanistic features of complex catalysts and to facilitate and develop tools for computationally driven design.

Contact Us

Questions or comments? Let us know! Contact Dr. Kulik: