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Investigators and Program Directors

Lei Zhu

Lei Zhu

Research Scientist, Wadsworth Center
Professor, Environmental Chemistry, SUNY-Albany

Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, Columbia University (1991)
Enrico Fermi Scholar, Chemistry Division, Argonne National Laboratory (1991-1993)
Member, NAS/NRC Committee on the Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research, 2015-2016


Research Interests

My research program has been designed to investigate and understand what controls the atmosphere’s energy balance and how chemical reactions impact composition, pollutant and oxidant formation in the earth’s environment. Answers to these questions are highly relevant to understanding atmospheric climate change, as well as controlling/preventing air pollution and protecting public health.

My group has carried out a number of research projects to address important issues influencing atmospheric radiative balance and chemistry with the support of NSF.

  • Demonstrated the existence of water vapor near UV absorption in the 290-350 nm region. By coupling experimentally-determined water vapor cross section data with modeling of the solar flux at the ground using radiative transfer model, my group and a collaborator have shown that water vapor absorption in the 290-350 nm region can cause significant difference in solar flux at the ground.
  • Investigated adsorbed water UV absorption from monolayer to multilayer, and to heterogeneous nucleation. Demonstrated the sensitivity and the feasibility of Brewster angle cavity ring-down technique in studying molecular adsorption on surfaces at different coverage levels and the heterogeneous nucleation on surfaces.
  • Measured wavelength-dependent UV absorption cross sections of surface-adsorbed HNO3 and surface-adsorbed H2O. Surface absorption cross sections of HNO3 and H2O are several orders of magnitude larger than those in the gas phase.
  • Determined surface absorption and surface adsorption of various HNO3/H2O mixtures, and developed a method to calculate/estimate mixture surface absorption based upon multi-component Langmuir adsorption isotherm, total surface sites per unit area for a given mixture, and surface absorption cross sections for individual components.
  • Determined the photolysis of acetaldehyde and nitric acid in the gas phase, and on Al, ice, and fused silica surfaces
  • Investigated gas phase reaction/wavelength-dependent photolysis of vinoxy radical, alkyl nitrates and a wide variety of aldehydes.
>> Select Publications

Contact Information

Phone: (518) 474-6846
Fax: (518) 473-2895