We are studying the electronic structures of new and advanced materials. We are using synchrotron radiation to perform soft x-ray emission and absorption spectroscopy of systems like biomaterials, superconductors and transition metal compounds.

Eamon McDermott

Eamon McDermott

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  • University of Toronto
    Toronto, Ontario
    B.A. Sc. (Engineering Science - Major in Nanoengineering)
    May 2008
  • University of Saskatchewan
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    M.Sc. Physics
    October 2012

M.Sc. Thesis

  • Study of Solid State Photocatalysts and other Energy Materials using Synchrotron Radiation

Current Position

Eamon has moved on to the Solids4Fun doctoral school at the Technical University of Vienna and is working in the Theoretical Chemistry group under Prof. Peter Blaha. Solids4Fun seeks to improve the interdisciplinary communications between physicists, chemists and material scientists, and to this end Eamon is continuing his experimental work with soft X-ray spectroscopy as well as increasing his focus on calculations using DFT and other codes.


  • E. J. McDermott, E. Z. Kurmaev, T. D. Boyko, L. D. Finkelstein, R. J. Green, K. Maeda, K. Domen, and A. Moewes,
    Structural and Band Gap Investigation of GaN:ZnO Heterojunction Solid Solution Photocatalyst Probed by Soft X-ray Spectroscopy,
    Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 116 (14), 7694–7700, (2012).

Research Projects

g-C3N4 carbon-nitride photocatalyst

A post-carbon energy infrastructure will rely on two primary energy carriers: electricity and hydrogen fuel. At present time hydrogen is less economic to use in energy applications than conventional fossil fuel sources, limiting it to niche markets. Advanced materials design and nanotechnology offer the possibility of producing and using hydrogen in a more economic and sustainable fashion.

I am using synchrotron radiation and soft X-ray techniques to study the electronic properties of a crystalline poly(triazine-imide) (PTI) compound with interstitial lithium and chlorine. PTI compounds have been demonstrated to catalyze the splitting of water into oxygen and hydrogen gas under illumination without the addition of precious metal catalysts. The material has the potential to be a stable, inexpensive method to generate hydrogen fuel from water.

(Ga1-xZnx)(N1-xOx) photocatalyst

Visible light photocatalysis of water splitting has also been reported in a solid solution between GaN and ZnO. The material exhibits a reduced bandgap significantly lower than either precursor, indicating an opportunity to optimize and further reduce it to improve photoabsorption.


  • University of Saskatchewan Graduate Teaching Fellowship (2010-2011)
  • Engineering Society Award (University of Toronto, 2008)
  • Canada Millenium Scholarship (2001)

Student Governance

  • University of Saskatchewan Graduate Students' Association - Vice President External Affairs 2010-2011. Responsible for external relations with provincial and federal student organizations and government. Lobbied for the newly implemented graduate student specific stream for provincial immigration.


  • 1. Finite temperature effects on the X-ray absorption spectra of lithium compounds: first-principles interpretation of X-ray Raman measurements T.A. Pascal, U. Boesenberg, R. Kostecki, T.J. Richardson, T.-C. Weng, D. Sokaras, D. Nordlund, E. McDermott, A. Moewes, J. Cabana, and D. Prendergast, J. Chem. Phys. 140, 034107-1-13 (2014).

  • 2. Band gap tuning in Poly(triazine imide), a Non-metallic Photocatalyst E.J. McDermott, E. Wirnhier, W. Schnick, K.S. Virdi, C. Scheu, and A.Y. Kauffmann, W.D. Kaplan, E.Z. Kurmaev, and Moewes, J. Phys. Chem. C 117, 8806-8812 (2013).

  • 3. Structural and band gap investigation of GaN:ZnO heterojunction solid solution photocatalyst probed by soft X-ray spectroscopy E.J. McDermott, E.Z. Kurmaev, T.D. Boyko, L.D. Finkelstein, R.J. Green, K. Maeda, K. Domen, and A. Moewes, J. Phys. Chem. C 116, 7694-7700 (2012).