Petr Vanysek

Petr Vanýsek

Associate Professor
Analytical Chemistry
(815) 753-6876,  fax (815) 753-4802

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115-2862 (U.S.A.)

B.S., Charles University, Prague (1976)
RNDr., Charles University, Prague (1977)
Ph.D. (CSc.), Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences (1982)

Research Associate, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1982-1984)

Research Interests: Electroanalytical chemistry; physical electrochemistry; electrochemistry of electrolyte interfaces; interfacial structure and transport; optical processes on electrified interfaces.
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Petr Vanýsek received his undergraduate degree from the Department of Natural Sciences at the Charles University in Prague (Czechoslovakia) in 1976. He received the degree Doctor of Natural Sciences (RNDr, rerum naturalium doctoris) from the Charles University in 1977 and the Ph.D. degree (CSc., the candidate of sciences) in physical chemistry from the Heyrovský Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in Prague in 1982.

In 1982-84 he worked as a research associate for an electrochemistry group at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Prof. R. P. Buck, and during academic year 1984-85 he was a faculty-in-residence at the University of New Hampshire. Vanýsek joined the faculty at NIU in 1985. He spent the 1993-94 academic year in electrochemical laboratories in Calgary, Canada, collaborating with Prof. V. I. Birss, and in Münster, Germany.

Our present research is aimed at the study of interfacial structures using electrochemical techniques. One of the studied systems is the interface between two immiscible solutions; the other is a solid surface of a metal, oxide or ionic conductor, immersed in a solution. The main research techniques involve voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, electrochemical noise analysis, mass change measurements using piezoelectric sensors, and optical probe beam deflection.

Although electrochemistry is taught by the analytical division of the department, the research itself is much broader, including the fields of physical chemistry, materials science and even biological sciences.

The interface between two immiscible solutions (e.g., water and nitrobenzene) containing dissolved electrolytes is a site of an electric potential. This potential can be altered by changing the makeup of the solutions in contact; similarly, the makeup of the solutions can be altered by applied electric current. Judicious choice of applied current or potential can be used to learn about the structure of the interface. Since the interface is very thin, it cannot be observed directly. It can be, in addition to the electrochemical methods, observed indirectly by studying a degree of deflection of a laser beam as it is passed in proximity of the interface. We are also considering future collaboration with the Argonne National Laboratory. There we will investigate the interface between two immiscible solutions using the new powerful UV beam line.

The expertise gained on the immiscible liquid interfaces can be applied also to the studies between solution and a metal. Many metals form on their surfaces layers of oxides. The nature of the oxides is very important in understanding corrosion. The oxides are also very important for the new technology of small very effective capacitors used in electronic industry. Currently we are collaborating with several local industries in the field of aluminum oxide formation and aluminum alloy corrosion.

The noise and impedance measurements that we can perform reliably in our laboratory, are also of interest to corrosion industry. In particular, we are collaborating with a company specializing in manufacturing additives to crude oil pipelines. These additives inhibit corrosion of the steel pipes, hence lowering maintenance cost and possibly protecting the environment from effects of oil spills. We are helping this company in screening the best possible inhibitors.

The motivation for the study of such interfaces is therefore both of theoretical and practical interest. The range of applications is very broad and research in this field is going to be even more important in the future. Some of the areas are:

bulletElectroanalytical chemistry
bulletStudy of the structure of a double-layer
bulletModeling of biochemical processes, especially in biological membrane models
bulletElectrochemical processes on liquid membranes
bulletElucidation of processes in ion sensitive electrodes with liquid membranes
bulletStudy of processes involving electrochemical microdomains
bulletMetal surface analysis and corrosion studies
bulletDevelopment of new structured materials
bulletCorrosion protection
bulletFormulation of coatings and paints
bulletDevelopment and introduction of new analytical methods

The equipment base of our laboratory has been built with the financial help of the Office of Naval Research.

Any of these projects are suitable for graduate research (PhD. or M.S.), or for a person interested in postgradual experience. A number of shorter projects is also available for undergraduate research. We have recently relocated to new laboratories with sufficient space for more researchers.


Professional activities

Secretary of the Electrochemical Society
Member of the International Society for Electrochemistry and a local representative (USA)
Member of The Society for Electroanalytical Chemistry member of the Board of Directors


Representative Publications


P. Vanýsek: The Chalkboard: The glass pH electrode. Electrochemical Society Interface  (2004), 13(2),  19-20.

P. Vanýsek: Meeting reports – Paris Attracts Analytical Chemists. Report on the 203rd Meeting of the Electrochemical Society, held in Paris, France, 26 April – 2 May 2003. Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Vol 22, Nos. 7 + 8, 2003, pp. x-xii.

Basaez, L and Vanysek, P.: Transport studies of beta-lactam antibiotics and their degradation products actoss electrified water/oil interface. J. Pharm. Biomed. Anal., 1999, 19, 183-192.

Janata, J., Josowicz, M., Vanysek, P. DeVaney, D. M.: Chemical Sensors.  Anal. Chem., 1998, 70, 179R-208R.

Birss, V. I., Beck, V. H., Zhang, A. J., Vanysek, P.: Properties of thin, hydrous Pd oxide films. J. Electroanal. Chem., 1997, 429, 175-184.

Vanýsek, P.: Impact of electrode geometry, depth of immersion, and size on impedance measurement. Can. J. Chem., 1997, 75(11), 1635-1642.

Serebrennikova, I., Vanýsek, P., Birss, V. I.: Characterization of porous aluminum oxide films by metal electrodeposition. Electrochim. Acta, 1997, 42 (1), 145-151.

Birss, V. I., Chan, M., Phan, T., Vanýsek, P., Zhang, A.: An electrochemical study of the composition of thin, compact Pd oxide films. J. Chem. Soc., Faraday Trans., 1996, 92 (20), 4041-4047.

Editor of a book: Modern Electroanalytical Techniques, John Wiley, Chemical Analysis Series. Volume 139. J. Winefordner, Ed., New York 1996. Author of one chapter: Liquid-Liquid Electrochemistry, pp. 337-364.

Vanýsek, P: Charge transfer processes on liquid/liquid interfaces: The first century. Electrochimica Acta, 1995, 40 (18), 2841-2847.

Sandí, G.; Vanýsek, P. "Impedance and Voltammetric Studies of Electrogenerated Polyaniline Conducting Film," Synthetic Metals 1994, 64, 1-8.

Vanýsek, P: The Sensor Division: Past, Present and Future. Interface 1994, 3 (4), 19-27.

Vanýsek, P: Interfacial ion transport between immiscible liquids in: M. Blank and I. Vodyanoy (Eds.), Membrane Electrochemistry, Advances in Chemistry Series Vol. 235. p. 55. The American Chemical Society, Washington 1994.

Zhang, A. J., Birss, V. I., Vanýsek, P: Impedance characterization of thin electrochemically formed palladium oxide films. J. Electroanal. Chem. 1994, 378 (1/2), 63-76.

Krejcí, I.; Vanýsek, P. "Effect of Zinc and Iron Ions on the Electrochemistry of Nickel Oxide Electrode: Slow Cyclic Voltammetry," J. Power Sources 1993, 47, 79-88.

Krejcí, I.; Vanýsek, P.; Trojánek, A. "Transport of Zn(OH)42- Ions Across a Polyolefin Microporous Membrane," J. Electrochem. Soc. 1993, 14 (8), 2279-2283.

Vanýsek, P. "Analytical Applications of Electrified Interfaces Between Two Immiscible Solutions," TRAC-Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 1993, 12, 357-363.

Samec, Z.; Trojánek, A.; Vanýsek, P. "Polarization Phenomena at Ionic Membrane/Electrolyte Interfaces. A Nafion Membrane between Two Electrolyte Solutions," J. Electroanal. Chem. 1992, 332, 349-355.


Updated 18 March 1999

(This page is similar to the official departmental page. However, it is not maintaned by the webmaster but by the faculty himself. Thus, the two may eventually diverge. Look for the date to see which is more current.)


Inception: 21 August 1998 
Last revised: 28 February 2008 07:14

© Petr Vanýsek
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