Come meet our newest faculty members
The Faculty of Science is proud to announce a new, complimentary online lecture series that highlights the incredible new talent in our midst. Over the coming months, we will be hosting a series of talks from a wide range of topics that introduce you to our latest lecturers, researchers and future stars of the Faculty.
These talks are open to alumni, friends, faculty, staff and the greater UW community.
Rodney Smith, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
Harnessing Chemical Imperfections to Drive Sustainable Energy Technologies
Sustainable fuel technologies based on cyclic chemical reactions are being pursued vigorously. The production of hydrogen from water, methanol from carbon dioxide, or ammonia from nitrogen all produce high energy chemicals, or fuels, from benign and abundant resources; the energy stored in these fuels can be harvested readily by simply reversing the chemical reactions. The theoretical energy efficiency of these reactions can be maximized by performing them electrochemically, where energy stored in chemical bonds can be directly converted into electrical energy. The energy efficiency attained, however, is dependent on chemical interactions between the relevant chemical and an electrode surface.
Solid-state materials are used as electrodes to facilitate, or catalyze, desired chemical transformations in such sustainable fuel cycles. These solids are created by arranging atoms in a systematic manner in space, where precise atomic placements establish the physical and chemical properties. Introducing imperfections by adding, removing, moving, or substituting one or more atoms in the structure induces structural distortions in the solid that influence its properties. These structural imperfections are critical in determining catalytic performance. The ability to control such imperfections is a critical step in improving the efficiency of catalytic cycles, but structural imperfections are excellent examples of the proverbial “needle in a haystack.”
Dr. Smith is a chemist who designs, synthesizes, and analyzes solid state materials for use in catalysis. He will discuss the strategies that his research group employs to identify, understand, and ultimately control catalysis by understanding structural imperfections in solid-state electrode materials. These strategies are based upon the development of strategic synthesis protocols, systematic analysis of families of materials, and the coupling of state-of-the-art techniques for electrochemical analysis and structural determination.
A link to this zoom webinar will be sent upon registration. Per webinar format, only UW hosts and lecturer will on video and audio.