Valeri Petkov
Department of Physics
Dow Science Complex 232

Dr. Petkov is a professor in the Department of Physics at Central Michigan University.


  • Ph.D., Physics, University of Sofia, Bulgaria, 1991
  • M.S., Physics, University of Sofia, Bulgaria, 1983

Research Fields

  • Applied crystallography
  • X-ray (synchrotron) diffraction
  • 3-D structure determination and modeling
  • Magnetism

Research Projects

  • Properties of materials are predetermined by the 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 arrangement 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.​

Selected Publications

  • V. Petkov, K. Chapagain, S. Shastri and Y. Ren “Genesis of the periodic lattice distortions in the charge density wave state of 2H-TaSe2“ Phys. Rev. B 101, 121114 (Rapids) (2020). 
  • Zh. Kong, Y. Maswadeh, J. A. Vargas, Sh. Shan, Zhi-Peng Wu, H. Kareem, A. C. Leff, Dat T. Tran, F. Chang, Sh. Yan, S. Nam, X. Zhao, J. M. Lee, Jin Luo, S. Shastri, G. Yu, V. Petkov and Ch.-J. Zhong “Origin of High Activity and Durability of Twisty Nanowire Alloy Catalysts under Oxygen Reduction and Fuel Cell Operating Conditions” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 142, 1287 (2020). 
  • V. Petkov, J.-W. Kim, S. Shastri, Sh. Gupta and Sh. Priya “Geometrical frustration and piezoelectric response in oxide ferroics” Phys. Rev. Mat. 4, 014405 (2020). 
  • D. Pournara, A. Margariti, G. D. Tarlas, A. Kourtelaris, V. Petkov, Ch. Kokkinos, A. Economou, G. S. Papaefstathiou and M. J. Manos "A Ca2+ MOF combining highly efficient sorption and capability for voltammetric determination of heavy metal ions in aqueous media" J. Mat. Chem. A 7 (2019)15432.
  • V Petkov, Y. Maswadeh, J. A. Vargas, S. Shan, H. Kareem, Z.-Peng Wu, J. Luo, Ch.-J. Zhong, S.Shastri and P. Kenesei "Deviations from Vegard’s law and evolution of the electrocatalytic activity and stability of Pt-based nanoalloys inside fuel cells by in operando X-ray spectroscopy and total scattering" Nanoscale 11 (2019) 5512.
  • A. Vargas, V. Petkov, El Said A. Nouh, R. K. Ramamoorthy, L.-M. Lacroix, R. Poteau, G. Viau, P. Lecante, and R. Arenal “Ultrathin Au Nanowires with the polytetrahedral structure of manganese” ACS Nano 12 (2018) 9521.
  • V. Petkov, S. Shastri, J.-Woo Kim, S. Shan, J. Luo, J. Wu and Ch.-J. Zhong “Application of differential resonant high-energy X-ray diffraction to three-dimensional structure studies of nanosized materials: A case study of Pt–Pd nanoalloy catalysts” Acta Cryst. A (2018), 74, 553-566.