Rodney Smith

Assistant Professor, Chemistry

Research interests: inorganic materials, electrocatalysis, reaction dynamics, reaction kinetics, energy storage



  • 2012 PhD Electrochemistry, Memorial University of Newfoundland, NL
  • 2007 BSc Honours Chemistry, University of Manitoba, MB

Rodney Smith


Electricity generated from renewable sources has approached an important threshold - it is now more cost effective to install solar or wind farms than to build coal power plants. Predicted trajectories indicate that these renewable sources may become more cost effective than existing coal plants within a decade. The declining cost of renewable energy presents an opportunity for our society to reinvent itself. The Smith Group designs, fabricates and characterizes solid-state materials and studies their application as electrocatalysts – the goal is to develop processes that utilize clean electricity to directly convert waste chemicals into value-added chemicals.

Our research revolves around the design, fabrication and characterization of solid state materials. State-of-the-art fabrication and characterization facilities at the University of Waterloo enables fabrication and complete structural characterization of our solid-state materials. We then employ the latest techniques in spectroelectrochemistry to analyze the behavior of electrocatalysts before, during and after electrocatalytic operation. Reaction mechanisms developed from this information is then used to guide catalyst design and fabrication.


Recent publications include:

  • Rodney D. L. Smith, Rebecca S. Sherbo, Kevan D. Dettelbach, Curtis P. Berlinguette ”On How Experimental Conditions Affect the Electrochemical Response of Disordered Nickel Oxyhydroxide Films” Chem. Mater., 2016, DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.6b01420.
  • Rodney D. L. Smith, Curtis P. Berlinguette “Accounting for the Dynamic Oxidative Behavior of Nickel Anodes” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138, 1561-1567.
  • Rodney D. L. Smith, Barbora Sporinova, Randal D. Fagan, Simon Trudel, Curtis P. Berlinguette, “Facile photochemical preparation of amorphous iridium-oxide films for water oxidation catalysis” Chem. Mater., 2014, 26, 1654-1659.
  • Rodney D. L. Smith, Mathieu S. Prévot, Randal D. Fagan, Simon Trudel, Curtis P. Berlinguette “Water oxidation catalysis: electrocatalytic response to metal stoichiometry in amorphous metal oxide films containing iron, cobalt and nickel” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2013, 135, 11580-11586.
  • Rodney D. L. Smith, Mathieu S. Prévot, Randal D. Fagan, Zhipan Zhang, Pavel Sedach, Man K. J. Siu, Simon Trudel, Curtis P. Berlinguette “Photochemical route for accessing amorphous metal oxide materials for water oxidation catalysis” Science, 2013, 340, 60-63.

Please see Rodney Smith's Google Scholar profile for a current list of his peer-reviewed articles.