Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy
Fundamental and Computational Sciences Directorate

Staff information


Grant E. Johnson

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
MSIN: K8-88
Richland, WA 99352


Dr. Grant E. Johnson received his BS degree in chemistry in 2002 from the University of Delaware Honors Program where he studied solvation in supercritical fluids under Professor Robert Wood. He was employed as an analytical chemist with the United States Army at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center in Maryland, from 2002 to 2004. He received his PhD in chemistry in 2009 from the Pennsylvania State University where he studied reactivity of cluster ions under Professor A.W. Castleman Jr. He was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Central Europe Summer Research Institute fellowship in 2006 to study theoretical calculations with Professor Vlasta Bonacic-Koutecky at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. He also received a Department of Energy (DOE) fellowship to attend the 2006 meeting of Nobel Laureates in chemistry in Lindau, Germany. He was awarded the inaugural Linus Pauling Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) from 2010 to 2012 where he studied ion-surface interactions under Laboratory Fellow Dr. Julia Laskin. In 2015 he was awarded the Ronald L. Brodzinski Award for Early Career Exceptional Achievement at PNNL. He currently leads the Separations and Analysis program at PNNL which is focused on developing a fundamental understanding of structure-function relationships to support the design and synthesis of tailored materials for improved separations.

Research Interests

  • Separations
  • Membranes
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Soft- and Reactive-Landing of Mass-selected Ions
  • Electrocatalysis and Supercapacitors
  • Synthesis and Characterization of Nanoparticles and Clusters
  • Preparation of Materials with Emergent Properties

Education and Credentials

  • PhD. Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Chemistry, December 2009
  • BS. University of Delaware Honors Program, Newark, Chemistry, May 2002

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • American Chemical Society (ACS) 2002 - present
  • American Physical Society (APS) 2005 - present
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2005 - present
  • American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) 2010 - present
  • American Vacuum Society (AVS) 2010 - present
  • Materials Research Society (MRS) 2010 - present

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2 Outstanding Performance Awards, PNNL, 2016
  • Ronald L. Brodzinski Award for Early Career Exceptional Achievement, PNNL, 2015
  • Outstanding Performance Award, PNNL, 2010
  • Linus Pauling Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship, PNNL, 2010
  • Lubrizol Graduate Student Research Award, Pennsylvania State University, 2008-2009
  • Certificate for Outstanding Work in Precious Metal Research, International Precious Metals Institute, 2008
  • Fellowship to Attend the Meeting of Nobel Laureates in Chemistry in Lindau Germany, Department of Energy (DOE), 2006
  • Central Europe Summer Research Institute Fellow in Berlin Germany, National Science Foundation (NSF), 2006
  • Dan H. Waugh Memorial Teaching Award, Pennsylvania State University, 2004-2005
  • Performance Award for Excellence, United States Army, Research Development and Engineering Command, 2003
  • Advanced Honors Certificate, University of Delaware Honors Program, 2002
  • First Year Honors Certificate, University of Delaware Honors Program, 1998

PNNL Publications


  • Warneke J, ME McBriarty, SL Riechers, S China, MH Engelhard, E Apra, RP Young, NM Washton, C Jenne, GE Johnson, and J Laskin. 2018. "Self-organizing layers from complex molecular anions." Nature Communications 9(1):1889.  doi:10.1038/s41467-018-04228-2


  • Johnson GE, and J Laskin. 2017. "In-Plane Multimagnetron Approach." Chapter 5 in Gas-Phase Synthesis of Nanoparticles, ed. Y Huttel, pp. 79-100.  Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, Germany.  doi:10.1002/9783527698417.ch5
  • Ligare MR, GE Johnson, and J Laskin. 2017. "Observing the Real Time Formation of Phosphine-Ligated Gold Clusters by Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. PCCP 19(26):17187-17198.  doi:10.1039/c7cp01402c
  • Ligare MR, EM Baker, J Laskin, and GE Johnson. 2017. "Ligand Induced Structural Isomerism in Phosphine Coordinated Gold Clusters Revealed by Ion Mobility-Mass Spectrometry." Chemical Communications 53(53):7389-7392.  doi:10.1039/C7CC02251D


  • Johnson GE, and J Laskin. 2016. "Understanding Ligand Effects in Gold Clusters using Mass Spectrometry." Analyst 141(12):3573-3589.  doi:10.1039/c6an00263c
  • Johnson GE, KDD Gunaratne, and J Laskin. 2016. "Soft- and Reactive Landing of Ions onto Surfaces: Concepts and Applications." Mass Spectrometry Reviews 35(3):439-479.  doi:10.1002/mas.21451
  • Johnson GE, TH Moser, MH Engelhard, ND Browning, and J Laskin. 2016. "Fabrication of electrocatalytic Ta nanoparticles by reactive sputtering and ion soft landing." Journal of Chemical Physics 145(17):Article No. 174701.  doi:10.1063/1.4966199
  • Gunaratne KDD, V Prabhakaran, A Andersen, GE Johnson, and J Laskin. 2016. "Charge Retention of Soft-Landed Phosphotungstate Keggin Anions on Self-Assembled Monolayers." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. PCCP 18(13):9021-9028.  doi:10.1039/C5CP06954H
  • Laskin J, GE Johnson, and V Prabhakaran. 2016. "Soft Landing of Complex Ions for Studies in Catalysis and Energy Storage." Journal of Physical Chemistry C 120(41):23305-23322.  doi:10.1021/acs.jpcc.6b06497
  • Prabhakaran V, GE Johnson, B Wang, and J Laskin. 2016. "In situ solid-state electrochemistry of mass selected ions at well-defined electrode-electrolyte interfaces." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113(47):13324-13329.  doi:10.1073/pnas.1608730113
  • Prabhakaran V, BL Mehdi, JJ Ditto, MH Engelhard, B Wang, KDD Gunaratne, DC Johnson, ND Browning, GE Johnson, and J Laskin. 2016. "Rational Design of Efficient Electrode-Electrolyte Interfaces for Solid-State Energy Storage Using Ion Soft-Landing." Nature Communications 7:Article No. 11399.  doi:10.1038/ncomms11399


  • Johnson GE, AM Olivares, DE Hill, and J Laskin. 2015. "Cationic Gold Clusters Ligated with Differently Substituted Phosphines: Effect of Substitution on Ligand Reactivity and Binding." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. PCCP 17(22):14636-14646.  doi:10.1039/C5CP01686J
  • Johnson GE, and J Laskin. 2015. "Soft Landing of Mass-Selected Gold Clusters: Influence of Ion and Ligand on Charge Retention and Reactivity ." International Journal of Mass Spectrometry 377:205-213.  doi:10.1016/j.ijms.2014.05.013
  • Johnson GE, RJ Colby, and J Laskin. 2015. "Soft Landing of Bare Nanoparticles with Controlled Size, Composition, and Morphology ." Nanoscale (8):3491-3503.  doi:10.1039/C4NR06758D
  • Johnson GE, RJ Colby, MH Engelhard, DW Moon, and J Laskin. 2015. "Soft Landing of Bare PtRu Nanoparticles for Electrochemical Reduction of Oxygen ." Nanoscale 7(29):12379-12391.  doi:10.1039/C5NR03154K
  • El-Khoury PZ, GE Johnson, IV Novikova, Y Gong, AG Joly, JE Evans, M Zamkov, J Laskin, and WP Hess. 2015. "Enhanced Raman Scattering from Aromatic Dithiols Electrosprayed into Plasmonic Nanojunctions." Faraday Discussions 184:339-357.  doi:10.1039/C5FD00036J
  • Gunaratne KDD, V Prabhakaran, GE Johnson, and J Laskin. 2015. "Gas-Phase Fragmentation Pathways of Mixed-Addenda Keggin Anions: PMo12-nWnO403- (n = 0-12)." Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry 26(6):1027-1035.  doi:10.1007/s13361-015-1090-5
  • Gunaratne KDD, V Prabhakaran, YM Ibrahim, RV Norheim, GE Johnson, and J Laskin. 2015. "Design and Performance of a High-Flux Electrospray Ionization Source for Ion Soft-Landing." Analyst 140(9):2957-2963.  doi:10.1039/C5AN00220F


  • Johnson GE, KDD Gunaratne, and J Laskin. 2014. "In Situ SIMS and IR Spectroscopy of Well-Defined Surfaces Prepared by Soft Landing of Mass-Selected Ions ." Journal of Visualized Experiments (88): e51344.  doi:10.3791/51344
  • Johnson GE, TA Priest, and J Laskin. 2014. "Size-dependent stability toward dissociation and ligand binding energies of phosphine-ligated gold cluster ions." Chemical Science 5:3275-3286.  doi:10.1039/c4sc00849a
  • Gunaratne KDD, GE Johnson, A Andersen, D Du, W Zhang, V Prabhakaran, Y Lin, and J Laskin. 2014. "Controlling the Charge State and Redox Properties of Supported Polyoxometalates via Soft Landing of Mass Selected Ions." Journal of Physical Chemistry C 118(48):27611-27622.  doi:10.1021/jp505050m
  • Knappenberger, Jr. KL, GE Johnson, and MA El-Sayed. 2014. "Tribute to A. W. Castleman, Jr." Journal of Physical Chemistry A 118(37):8011-8013.  doi:10.1021/jp501364m
  • Olivares AM, J Laskin, and GE Johnson. 2014. "Investigating the Synthesis of Ligated Metal Clusters in Solution Using a Flow Reactor and Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry." Journal of Physical Chemistry A 118(37):8464-8470.  doi:10.1021/jp501809r


  • Johnson GE, NM Al Hasan, and J Laskin. 2013. "Influence of Heteroanion and Ammonium Cation Size on the Composition and Gas-Phase Fragmentation of Polyoxovanadates." International Journal of Mass Spectrometry 354-355:333-341.  doi:10.1016/j.ijms.2013.06.009
  • Johnson GE, TA Priest, and J Laskin. 2013. "Synthesis and Characterization of Gold Clusters Ligated with 1,3-Bis(dicyclohexylphosphino)propane." ChemPlusChem 78(9):1033-1039.  doi:10.1002/cplu.201300134
  • Al Hasan NM, GE Johnson, and J Laskin. 2013. "Gas-Phase Synthesis of Singly and Multiply Charged Polyoxovanadate Anions Employing Electrospray Ionization and Collision Induced Dissociation." Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry 24(9):1385-95.  doi:10.1007/s13361-013-0683-0
  • Baer DR, MH Engelhard, GE Johnson, J Laskin, J Lai, KT Mueller, P Munusamy, S Thevuthasan, H Wang, NM Washton, AC Elder, BL Baisch, AS Karakoti, SVNT Kuchibhatla, and DW Moon. 2013. "Surface Characterization of Nanomaterials and Nanoparticles: important needs and challenging opportunities." Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A--Vacuum, Surfaces and Films 31(5):Article No. 050820.  doi:10.1116/1.4818423


  • Johnson GE, TA Priest, and J Laskin. 2012. "Charge Retention by Gold Clusters on Surfaces Prepared Using Soft Landing of Mass Selected Ions ." ACS Nano 6(1):573-582.  doi:10.1021/nn2039565
  • Johnson GE, TA Priest, and J Laskin. 2012. "Coverage Dependent Charge Reduction of Cationic Gold Clusters on Surfaces Prepared Using Soft Landing of Mass-selected Ions." Journal of Physical Chemistry C 116(47):24977-24986.  doi:10.1021/jp308795r


  • Johnson GE, CM Wang, TA Priest, and J Laskin. 2011. "Monodisperse Au11 Clusters Prepared by Soft Landing of Mass Selected Ions." Analytical Chemistry 83(21):8069-8072.  doi:10.1021/ac202520p
  • Johnson GE, O Hadjar, and J Laskin. 2011. "Characterization of the Ion Beam Focusing in a Mass Spectrometer using an IonCCD™ Detector." Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry 22(8):1388-1394.  doi:10.1007/s13361-011-0154-4
  • Johnson GE, Q Hu, and J Laskin. 2011. "Soft Landing of Complex Molecules on Surfaces." Annual Review of Analytical Chemistry 4(1):83-104.  doi:10.1146/annurev-anchem-061010-114028
  • Hadjar O, GE Johnson, J Laskin, G Kibelka, SM Shill, K Kuhn, C Cameron, and S Kassan. 2011. "IonCCD™ for direct position-sensitive charged-particle detection: from electrons and keV ions to hyperthermal biomolecular ions." Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry 22(4):612-623.  doi:10.1007/s13361-010-0067-7
  • Peng WP, GE Johnson, IC Fortmeyer, P Wang, O Hadjar, RG Cooks, and J Laskin. 2011. "Redox Chemistry in Thin Layers of Organometallic Complexes Prepared Using Ion Soft Landing." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. PCCP 13(1):267-275.  doi:10.1039/C0CP01457E


  • Johnson GE, and J Laskin. 2010. "Preparation of Surface Organometallic Catalysts by Gas-Phase Ligand Stripping and Reactive Landing of Mass-Selected Ions." Chemistry - A European Journal 16(48):14433-14438.  doi:10.1002/chem.201002292
  • Johnson GE, M Lysonski, and J Laskin. 2010. "In Situ Reactivity and TOF SIMS Analysis of Surfaces Prepared by Soft and Reactive Landing of Mass Selected Ions." Analytical Chemistry 82(13):5718-5727.  doi:10.1021/ac100734g

Selected Publications


  • Johnson GE, R Mitrić, M Nossler, EC Tyo, V Bonačić-Koutecký and AW Castleman, Jr. 2009 "Influence of Charge State on Catalytic Oxidation Reactions at Metal Oxide Clusters Containing Radical Oxygen Centers." Journal of the American Chemical Society 131(15) 5460-5470. doi: 10.1021/ja807499z
  • Johnson GE, R Mitrić, V Bonačić-Koutecký and AW Castleman, Jr. 2009 "Clusters as model systems for investigating nanoscale oxidation catalysis." Chemical Physics Letters 475(1-3) 1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cplett.2009.04.003


  • Johnson GE, EC Tyo, and AW Castleman, Jr. 2008 "Cluster reactivity experiments: Employing mass spectrometry to investigate the molecular level details of catalytic oxidation reactions." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105(47): 18108-18113. doi:10.1073/pnas.0801539105
  • Johnson GE, R Mitrić, EC Tyo, V Bonačić-Koutecký, and AW Castleman, Jr. 2008 "Stoichiometric Zirconium Oxide Cations as Potential Building Blocks for Cluster Assembled Catalysts." Journal of the American Chemical Society 130(42): 13912-13920. doi: 10.1021/ja803246n

Science at PNNL

Core Research Areas

User Facilities

Centers & Institutes

Research Highlights

View All Research Highlights & Staff Accomplishments

RSS Feed