The Gene and Linda Voiland School of

Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering

Jean-Sabin McEwen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Jean-Sabine McEwen

Research Focus: Atomistic Modeling of Catalytic Processes for Energy Applications

The Gene and Linda Voiland
School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering
Washington State University
105 Wegner Hall Stadium Way
P.O. Box 646515
Pullman, WA 99164-6515

Dr. McEwen’s web site

Office: 257 Wegner Hall
Office Phone: 509-335-8580


Renqin Zhang

Graduate Students

Fanglin Che
Kathy Helling
Alyssa Joy Hensley

Research Interests

The depletion of natural resources, rising fuel costs, and increasingly stringent environmental regulations have created a need for new and diverse forms of energy. Heterogeneous catalysis has played and will continue to play an important role both in the generation and use of energy to ensure a sustainable future, but a number of open questions remain to exploit the full potential of such catalytic systems. In order to do this, one needs not only to understand, but also to control materials at the nanometer length scale and far away from thermodynamic equilibrium.

In my research group, we model such systems from an atomistic (using ab initio quantum chemistry tools) and macroscopic (using Monte Carlo and Transfer Matrix methods) point of view. We also link these methods with corresponding multi-scale models. Our work is done in close collaboration with experimentalists. Some areas of interest to me are listed below.

  • Heterogeneous Catalysis in High Electric Fields
  • Theory of Surface Processes

Biographical Information

Jean-Sabin McEwen earned his B. Sc. in Physics at McGill University, Canada. He then went on to earn his M. Sc. and his Ph.D. in Physics at Dalhousie University, Canada. He spent about two years as a postdoctoral fellow in Belgium at the ULB and three years in Belgium at the F.R.S.-FNRS. He went on to obtain a position as research assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame for two years. He is now an assistant professor at Washington State University.


  • Ph.D. Physics, Dalhousie University (Canada), 2005
  • M.Sc. Physics, Dalhousie University (Canada), 2002
  • B.Sc. Physics, McGill University (Canada), 2000

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Professor - Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, Washington State University, 1/2012–present
  • Research Assistant Professor - Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Notre Dame, 10/2010–12/2011
  • Honorary Postdoctoral Researcher - Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique F.R.S.-FNRS, ULB (Belgium), 10/2010–10/2011
  • Postdoctoral Researcher - Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique F.R.S.-FNRS, ULB (Belgium), 10/2007–10/2010
  • Postdoctoral Researcher - Center for Nonlinear Phenomena and Complex Systems, ULB (Belgium), 01/2006–09/2007
  • Postdoctoral Researcher - Deparment of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University (Canada), 09/2005–12/2005


  • R. Denecke (Universität Leipzig, Germany)
  • P. Gaspard (ULB, Belgium)
  • H. J. Kreuzer (Dalhousie University, Canada)
  • N. Kruse (ULB, Belgium)
  • F. Mittendorfer (Univesität Wien, Austria)
  • F. H. Ribeiro (Purdue University, USA)
  • W. F. Schneider (University of Notre Dame, USA)
  • C. Stampfl (University of Sydney, Australia)
  • H.-P. Steinrück (Universität Erlangen-Nürenberg, Germany)
  • J. Wintterlin (Universität München, Germany)

Selected Publications

  1. J.-S. McEwen, T. Anggara, W. F. Schneider, V. F. Kispersky, J.T. Miller, W.N. Delgass, F. H. Ribeiro, Integrated operando X-ray and DFT charaterization of Cu-SSZ-13 exchange sites during the selective catalytic reduction of NOx with NH3 Catalysis Today 184(2012) 129.
  2. J.-S. McEwen, P. Gaspard, T. Visart de Bocarmé and N.Kruse, Nanometric Chemical Clocks, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106 (2009) 3006–3010.
  3. J.-S. McEwen, P. Gaspard, F. Mittendorfer, T. Visart de Bocarmé and N.Kruse, Field-assisted oxidation of rhodium, Chemical Physics Letters 452 (2008) 133–138.
  4. J.-S. McEwen and A. Eichler, Phase diagram and adsorption-desorption kinetics of CO on Ru(0001) from first principles, Journal of Chemical Physics 126 (2007) 094701.
  5. J.-S. McEwen, S.H. Payne, H.J. Kreuzer, M. Kinne, and R. Denecke, and H.-P. Steinrueck, Adsorption and desorption of CO on Pt(111): a comprehensive analysis, Surface Science 545 (2003) 47–69.
  6. J.-S. McEwen, S.H. Payne and C. Stampfl, Phase diagram of O/Ru(0001) from first principles, Chemical Physics Letters 361 (2002) 317–320.

Research Funding

American Chemical Society - Petroleum Research Fund Washington State University International Programs NSF - National Science Foundation DAAD: Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (German Academic Exchange Service) Washington State University International Programs

Computational Resources

Argonne National Laboratory PNNL - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Research Highlight


Change density difference for the adsorption of phenol on a Pd(111) surface. Large grey spheres are Pd atoms, medium brown spheres are carbon atoms, red sphere is oxygen and small white spheres are hydrogen atoms. Go Read more about Dr. McEwen's research on biofuels

l to r: Renqin Zhang, Fanglin Che, Alyssa Joy Rose, and Dr. Jean-Sabin McEwen

(l to r) Renqin Zhang, Fanglin Che, Alyssa Joy Rose, and Dr. Jean-Sabin McEwen

The Gene & Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, PO Box 646515, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6515, 509-335-4332, Email ChEBE: