Petkov photo

Dr. Valeri Petkov

Contact Information:

232 Dow Hall, Dept. Physics
Phone: (989) 774-3395
Fax: (989)-774-2697
e-mail: petko1vg @

 Research Fields:
  • X-ray/synchrotron diffraction on disordered crystals, nanocrystals, glasses and liquids
  • Computer simulations  
  • Applied crystallography computing

Research Activities:

Properties of materials are predetermined by their atomic-scale structure. For example, diamonds are hard, transparent and expensive. Graphite is black, soft and cheap. Both are pure carbon though; the difference comes from the different arrangament of carbon atoms. It is a tetrahedral network in diamond and a stack of hexagonal layers in graphite. Dr. Petkov's research aims at  determining the 3D atomic-scale structure of materials by x-ray diffraction and computer simulations.  Research is done at CMU and  synchrotron radiation facilities. Mostly, a non-traditional experimental approach, that of atomic pair distribution function analysis, is employed. Traditional crystallography (Rietveld) is done as well. Materials of current interest include glasses (metallic, silicate, phosphate, germanate, fast conductors), liquids (water), polymers (dendrimers),  composites (inorganic/organic),  nanoporous zeolites and carbons, ceramics (titanates, zirconates), catalysts (Mo, Au and Pt based), nanoparticles (metallic and inorganic), data storage media (optical: Ge-Sb-Te; magnetic: Pt/Pd/Fe), disordered ferro and ferri magnets (transition & rare earth metals based), and others. Funding sources include NSF, DoE, ARL and CMU.  
Ru particle
2 nm Ru (red) particle with sulfur (yellow) skin

Latest News: V.P. gave 1-day workshop at the Annual Meeting of Argentinian Association for Crystallography in Mar del Plata, Argentina (October 2014); V.P. gave talks at MRS 2014 Fall and MRS 2015 Spring meetings; V.P. bid farewell to two of his students who graduated in June (2015); Paper of V.P. and others appeared on the cover of ACSNano (May, 2015). First author of the paper is N. Bedford, former V.P.'s student..

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