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Chemistry Department

Department 3838

1000 E. University Avenue

Physical Science Bldg 204

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-4363

Fax: 307-766-2807

Email: chemistry@uwyo.edu

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Upcoming Colloquia

shanlin pan headshot

Dr. Shanlin Pan

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Alabama

DATE/TIME: Friday, Oct. 29 2021  4PM MDT

Location: Classroom Building 214

Short Biography: 

Dr. Shanlin Pan is is a chemistry professor at The University of Alabama. Professor Pan earned his Ph.D. (2006) under the supervision of Professor Lewis J. Rothberg at the University of Rochester, NY. Before embarking on his independent academic career at UA, he was an ACS Irving S. Sigal postdoctoral fellow with Professor Allen J. Bard at the University of Texas at Austin, TX. He started his independent career at UA in 2008. Dr. Pan’s research efforts primarily focus on developing multicomponent functional materials for efficient light energy absorption, charge separation, charge transport, and solar fuel conversion. His research also involves the development of a single molecule and single nanoparticle spectroelectrochemistry technique that combines methods of electrochemistry and high-resolution optical imaging for electrochemical studies with improved transient, spectral, and spatial resolution. Dr. Pan was recently appointed to be a Marilyn Williams Elmore and John Durr Elmore Endowed Professor. Dr. Pan is a recipient of The College of Arts and Sciences Leadership Board Faculty Fellow (2017-2019) and the UA President’s 2018 Faculty Research Award. Dr. Pan teaches undergraduate courses, including Quantitative Analysis and General Chemistry, and graduates Electrochemistry Principles and Methods.  He serves on the editorial board of Frontiers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, Journal of Analysis and Testing and The Journal of Chinese Chemistry Letter. Dr. Pan also is a co-chair of the Research & Service committee of the Faculty Senate. 

Advanced Scanning Electrochemical and Spectroelectrochemical Methods for Analyzing Surfaces of Catalytic Electrode Materials 

Ultrasensitive electrochemical and optical imaging approaches are critical for realizing local chemical information particularly for systems such as sustainable energy harvesting and conversion. We are interested in developing electrochemical and spectroelectrochemical techniques for ultrasensitive quantitative analysis of catalytic surfaces and localized redox activities with improved spatial and spectral and temporal resolutions. Examples of scanning electrochemical microscopy based on ultramicroelectrodes, nanoelectrodes, and optical fiber electrodes, and optical imaging techniques will be discussed in this seminar. These techniques help understand fundamental aspects of an electrochemical process, such as local heterogeneities in catalytic reaction and stability issues of functional low-dimension metallic and semiconductor electrode materials with synergistic functions for sunlight harvesting, conversion, and storage into chemical fuels. These studies will provide insights into developing unique catalytic and photonic properties of nanostructured electrode materials for the efficiency and selectivity of the solar-to-fuel conversion.

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Dr. Chris Thomas

3M Film, Materials, and Engineering Division

Date/Time: Friday October 22, 2021 - 4PM MDT

Location: Classroom Building Room 214

Short Biography: 

Chris graduated from the University of Wyoming with a BS in Chemistry (ACS, with honors) in 1990, and PhD in analytical chemistry from the University of South Carolina in 1995.  He joined the 3M Corporate Research Labs in 1995, specializing in atomic spectroscopy and elemental analysis applied widely across 3M R&D and manufacturing.  Chris spent 2 years in a Six Sigma Black Belt role, working on special projects in Corporate Research.  He re-entered from this role as quality manager in the 3M Decatur (AL) Film plant during a time of unprecedented product growth.  He transition to manufacturing technology manager, then decided to return to the technical side, as a scientist working in the plant, in the material characterization lab he started.  Chris has worked on critical manufacturing problems from across 3M, and started a corporate-wide initiative to deploy advanced material characterization and problem solving capabilities in factories across 3M globally that has resulted in significant savings and new product acceleration.  Chris is currently Senior Division Scientist in 3M’s Film, Materials, and Engineering Division.

Manufacturing Forensics at 3M: The Confluence of Analytical Chemistry, Material Science, and Process Technology

Everyone loves a “who done it” forensics story, ripe with twists and turns, drama, and surprise discoveries.  Chris will describe the application of this same line methodology applied to manufacturing at 3M—Manufacturing Forensics.  Making complex and unique products often comes with unique materials and processing challenges, many of which cannot be solved with engineering alone.  Analytical chemistry is foundational to finding the root cause of many of these problems.  Chris will show multiple examples where hard core analytical chemistry was developed and applied to unique material, product, and processing challenges, many with twists, turns, and drama to hopefully keep you on the edge of your seat!

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caleb hill photo

Dr. Caleb Hill

DATE/TIME: Friday Oct. 15  4PM MDT

Location: Classroom Building Room 214

Short Biography: 

Caleb earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Jacksonville State University in 2009 and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from The University of Alabama in 2014. During his Ph.D. studies, he worked in the group of Shanlin Pan, developing optical methods for probing electrochemical reactions at individual nanostructures. He then joined the group of Allen J. Bard at the University of Texas as a postdoctoral researcher, where he studied the effects of electron tunneling in passivated ultramicroelectrode systems and electrochemical methods for probing individual nanoparticles. In 2016, he began his independent career in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wyoming, leading a research group focused on the development of analytical methods for probing chemical processes at single reactive entities and the application of these methods to gain insights into systems for energy conversion/storage, catalysis, and sensing. In 2017, he also co-founded Wyonics LLC, a start-up company whose mission is to develop sustainable chemical solutions to important economic and environmental challenges in the state of Wyoming. He lives in Laramie with his wife, Kristin, and two boys, Ronin and Felix.

Adventures in Nanoscale Electrochemistry

Solid-electrolyte interfaces play a central role in electrochemical systems for energy conversion/storage, catalysis, and sensing. Understanding the structure-function relationships which control the performance of these systems is a broad goal of the electrochemistry community, but it is challenging to establish these relationships experimentally. Electrochemical interfaces are fundamentally complex, exhibiting site-to-site variations in reactivity which make the interpretation of data produced using traditional, “bulk” analytical techniques problematic. A key focus of the Hill Laboratory at UW has been the development of “single entity” analytical techniques which can probe discrete active sites within these complex interfaces, generating more detailed insights to help guide the design of improved practical systems. These techniques employ electrolyte-filled pipets to locally address a surface of interest, effectively providing spatial control over any interfacial chemical process with resolutions down to ~10 nm. Here, I will give an overview of my lab’s work which spans studies of electrocatalysis at individual metal nanocrystals, the synthesis and manipulation of individual nanoparticles at electrochemical interfaces, and carrier transport within well-defined, μm-scale crystals of 2D semiconducting materials.

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shannon boettcher head shot

28th Annual Hach Lecture

Dr. Shannon Boettcher

DATE/TIME: Friday Sept. 17th  4PM MDT

Location: Classroom Building Room 222

Short Biography: 

Boettcher is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Oregon. His research is at the intersection of materials science and electrochemistry, with a focus on fundamental aspects of energy conversion and storage. He has been named a DuPont Young Professor, a Cottrell Scholar, a Sloan Fellow, and a Camille-Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar. He is a 2019 and 2020 ISI highly cited researcher (top 0.1% over past decade) and in 2021 was a Blavatnik National Award Finalist. In 2019 he founded the Oregon Center for Electrochemistry and the nation’s first graduate program in Electrochemical Technology. 

Advanced Bipolar Membranes: Design Principles and Applications in Electrochemical Technology 

Bipolar membranes (BPMs) consist of an anion-selective ionomer membrane laminated with a cation-selective ionomer membrane. They have applications across electrochemical technology. BPMs generate pH gradients under an applied bias by driving water dissociation (WD) into protons and hydroxide at the interface between the two different ionomers. In BPM water electrolysis, this feature enables devices that operate proton reduction in locally acidic conditions where the kinetics are fast and water oxidation in locally basic conditions where efficient earth-abundant catalysts are stable. In electrodialysis, BPMs can be used to economically generate acid and base from brine on demand, which is critical for many industrial processes including water treatment. Alkaline solutions generated by BPM electrodialysis can further be used in CO2 capture schemes from the air or ocean. As the predominant H+/OH- ion flow is out from the center of the BPM, their use in CO2 electrolysis devices mitigates unwanted cross-over of reactants or products.  

I will present progress in designing advanced BPMs with a focus on understanding and optimizing the WD catalyst integrated between the anion- and cation-selective layers. We systematically studied ~40 metal and metal oxide nanoparticle interlayers and discovered that the local pH is a critical, but previously unrecognized, variable affecting WD kinetics. Combining WD catalysts efficient in acidic and basic conditions into catalyst bilayers nearly eliminates the WD overpotential in BPM water electrolyzers operating at 20 mA cm-2 and enables BPM operation at 0.5 A cm-2 with a total applied electrolysis potential of ~ 2 V. By thinning the cation-selective ionomer layer, water transport to the BPM junction is improved, leading to current densities > 3 A cm-2. These values are substantial improvements over the state of the art and have the potential to lower operating costs (due to higher BPM voltage efficiency) and capital cost (due to higher current density) of the applications introduced above. Ongoing efforts to provide a detailed chemical and physical understanding of the water-dissociating junction in BPMs will be outlined.

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dr. jeffrey dick headshot

Dr. Jeffrey E. Dick

DATE/TIME: Friday 9/3/21; 4PM MDT

Location: Classroom Building 222

Short Biography:

Prof. Jeffrey E. Dick was awarded a Bachelor of Science from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. He then pursued his graduate career with Allen J. Bard at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was awarded a Ph.D in August 2017 with the thesis ‘Studies in the Electrochemistry of Single Atoms, Molecules, and Nanoparticles.’ Prof. Dick began his independent career in July 2018 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where his group focuses on developing measurement science methods to study chemical reactivity in very small volumes.

Droplet Like It’s Hot: How Chemistry Changes in Tiny Volumes

How is chemical reactivity different in sub-microliter volumes compared to bulk, continuous phases? For centuries, chemists have assumed that chemical reactivity is similar in the ocean as it is in a lysosome despite volume differences spanning nearly 40 orders of magnitude. While measurement science techniques exist to probe reactivity in small volumes, they suffer in their ability to characterize femtoliter (10-15 L) or smaller nanodroplets, one at a time. This talk will detail our group’s efforts in developing nanoelectrochemical methods to study reactivity in water micro- and nanodroplets. We will demonstrate the heterogeneous growth of a new phase does not depend on the water nanodroplet size, but the heterogeneous nucleation kinetics can be enhanced in such complex environments due to localized surface concentration supersaturation. Due to rapid mass transfer within nanodroplets, we will demonstrate the possibility of electrosynthesizing high entropy alloy nanoparticles at room temperature. Finally, we will demonstrate that homogeneous enzymatic reaction rates are accelerated in water nanodroplets and that the rate is inversely proportional to the nanodroplet size. The talk will end with a future outlook on the role such experiments can play in understanding how nature takes advantage of nanoconfinement in the genesis and propagation of life.

 

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Image of Dr. Robin Rogers

Dr. Robin D. Rogers

Date/Time: 01/29/21 4PM MST

Location: Zoom (link to meeting)

Short Biography:

Link to Full Biography

B.S., 1978, Ph.D., 1982, The University of Alabama; Assistant, Associate, Full, Presidential Research Professor, 1982-1996, Northern Illinois University; Faculty Appointee, 1991-1998, Argonne National Laboratory; Professor of Chemistry, Distinguished Research Professor, Robert Ramsay Chair of Chemistry, 1996-2014, The University of Alabama; Director, UA Center for Green Manufacturing, 1998-2014, The University of Alabama; Chair of Green Chemistry, 2007-2009, The Queen’s University of Belfast, Belfast, NI (UK); Director, QUILL Research Centre, 2007-2009, The Queen’s University of Belfast; Honorary Professor, 2009-, Institute of Process Engineering Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China; Canada Excellence Research Chair in Green Chemistry and Green Chemicals, 2015-2017, McGill University; Research Professor, 2017-, The University of Alabama; President/Owner/Founder, 2004-, 525 Solutions, Inc.

Roadmap to Commercialization of Ionic Liquid Extraction Technologies Including Roadblocks, Detours, and Areas Under Construction

There will be common challenges to scaling up any ionic liquids separations technologies which require very large volumes of ionic liquid. Some of these challenges will be illustrated in this presentation which chronicles my personal motivation and journey into the extraction of chitin from shrimp shell from discovery to current commercialization efforts. The road being taken from discovery in an academic laboratory, through attempts to navigate the scaling up to commercial scale using the vehicle of a faculty startup company is rewarding, but fraught with roadblocks, detours, and unexpected challenges. The differences in ‘technically feasible’ and ‘commercially viable’ are not always evident from the beginning of the journey, however, one wonders what achievements we miss as a Society because it was assumed to not be commercially viable.

 
Contact Us

Chemistry Department

Department 3838

1000 E. University Avenue

Physical Science Bldg 204

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-4363

Fax: 307-766-2807

Email: chemistry@uwyo.edu

Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window)

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