Jean-François Boily

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2008-present     Professor, Umeå University, Sweden
2004-2008          Scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, USA
2000-2004          Post-doc ETH-Zürich, Switzerland
1999                      Ph.D. Umeå University, Sweden
1997                      M.Sc. McGill University, Canada
1994                      B.Sc. McGill University, Canada



Reactions at mineral surfaces have shaped Earth’s ever-changing environments throughout geological times. They are of central interest for Atmospheric Chemistry, Biogeochemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Technology, as well as in the study of Space Chemistry.

My research activities are largely focused on  geochemical reactions at mineral surfaces, and connect scales of molecules, single mineral particles, to single macroscopic crystals.  Examples of interest include thin water and ice films,  ice nucleation & growth, interfacial electrochemistry.

Our approach is multidisciplinary, and we routinely blend experiment with theory. Main experimental approaches include vibrational (FTIR, Raman, Sum Frequency Generation) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Electrochemical methods include Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) and Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy (SECM). Interpretations of laboratory observations are always assisted by molecular simulations (Molecular Dynamics, Density Functional Theory) of representative systems. Reaction mechanisms are often packaged into thermodynamic/kinetic models that can be used to predict atmospheric and geochemical processes.



The Swedish Research Council is currently supporting our project “Chemistry Within the Confines of Water Films”  

  • Photocatalytic and mineralogical transformation within thin water films (Tan Luong, Ph.D. student)
  • Interfacial chemistry of clay minerals (Jerry Lindholm, Ph.D. student)
  • Isotopic Fractionation of CO2  (Dmitry Shevela, Research Engineer). See Umeå Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory here!
  • Water condensation in unsaturated organic-mineral assemblages (under the User program of the Environmental Sciences Laboratory, PNNL)
  • Electrochemistry of gas bubbles (Veton Haziri, Erasmus Plus exchange Ph.D. Student)
  • Atmospheric ice nucleation (in collaboration with Allan Bertram, University of British Columbia)
  • Fate of antibiotics in nature (in collaboration with Khalil Hanna,  École nationale supérieure de chimie de Rennes (ENSCR))


Links to Previous Group Members

Dr. Wenting Feng (postdoc 2012-2014). Researcher at  Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Dr. Philipp Kozin, (Ph.D. 2014, Postdoc at University of Vienna). Researcher Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, France.

Dr. Masakazu Kanematsu (Postdoc from LBNL, 2014) Environmental Scientist at Anchor QEA, Portland, OR)

Dr Marie Lucas, (Postdoc, 20142016)

Dr. Kenichi Shimizu (postdoc 2009-2014). R&D at Northvolt

Dr. Xiaowei Song (Ph.D. 2013; Postdoc at Fritz-Haber Institute, Max-Planck). Material and Product Developer at IKEA

Dr. Julie Tolu (postdoc 2012-2015). Researcher at EAWAG

Dr. Mushel Uddin Munshi (M.Sc. 2014) Ph.D. at Radboud University, 2019.

Dr, Merve Yeşilbaş (Ph.D. 2018). Now VR and NASA postdoc at SETI





Jean-François Boily
Department of Chemistry
Linnaeusv. 6
Umeå University
SE-901 87 Umeå