News & Upcoming Events

01/17/2014 - 15:39

John Goodenough with a lithium ion batteryThe rechargeable battery pioneers who laid the groundwork for today’s lithium ion battery will be presented with engineering’s highest honor during a Feb. 18 ceremony in Washington. Among them will be CEC faculty member John Goodenough.

The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) will honor Goodenough, Rachid Yazami, Akira Yoshino, and Yoshio Nishi with the Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering, which annually recognizes engineers whose accomplishments have significantly benefited society, and is considered the Nobel Prize of engineering. The prize, which is in its 25th year, includes a $500,000 award.

Thirty five years ago, Goodenough demonstrated the feasibility of a rechargeable lithium ion battery at four volts with the use of lithium cobalt oxide as the positive node. In 1980, Yazami showed that graphite could be used as the battery’s negative node. Yoshino assembled the first prototype lithium ion battery in 1985, and six years later, Sony released the first commercial lithium ion battery, with research, development, and production led by Nishi.

The market for lithium ion batteries, an important feature in devices including laptops, smartphones, hearing aids, and electric cars, is projected to reach nearly $60 billion by 2020, according to an IHS iSuppli study. The Charles Stark Draper Prize was established and endowed by Draper Laboratory in 1988 in tribute to its founder, Dr. Charles Stark Draper, who pioneered inertial navigation. It honors those who have contributed to the advancement of engineering and to improve public understanding of the importance of engineering and technology. Previous winners over the past 25 years include the inventors of the mobile phone and supporting infrastructure, the World Wide Web, GPS, and the turbojet engine.

See more from the full story from UT-Austin.

01/13/2014 - 14:26

Enrico Fermi MedalPresident Obama has named Dr. Allen J. Bard and Dr. Andrew Sessler as recipients of the Enrico Fermi Award, one of the government's oldest and most prestigious awards for scientific achievement.

The Presidential award carries an honorarium of $50,000, shared equally, and a medal. The award is administered on behalf of the White House by the U.S. Department of Energy. "Allen Bard and Andy Sessler have advanced the science and technology frontier throughout their distinguished careers and, in doing so, have contributed greatly to sustained US leadership in research and development," said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. "I congratulate them for their achievements and hope that the example they set serves as inspiration to future generations of scientists and engineers."

The Fermi Award honors the memory of Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi, the first scientist to achieve a nuclear chain reaction and a pioneer in the field of nuclear and particle physics. The award has been presented to outstanding scientists since 1956. It is given for distinguished achievement, leadership, and service related to all basic and applied research, science, and technology supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and its programs. Secretary Moniz will present the Fermi Award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Monday, February 3, 2014, at 3pm EST.

This is the second Enrico Fermi Award to be received by a CEC faculty member. John Goodenough has previously won the award, in 2009, for his lasting contributions to materials science and technology, especially the science underlying lithium-ion batteries.

Enrico Fermi Award Winners
Dr. Allen J. Bard
Director, Center for Electrochemistry and Hackerman-Welch Regents Chair in Chemistry at The University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas.

Dr. Bard has been selected for his significant contributions to basic research, technological innovation, teaching and service. Additionally, his exemplary career and dedication to the highest ideals of scientific research have served as a model for four generations of scientists in the United States and abroad and earned him a reputation as the "father of modern electrochemistry." Through his service to the profession—including numerous publications, training of scientists, and applications of research to a broad array of challenges in the energy domain—he has raised the scientific standard in—and brought national and international recognition to—the field of electrochemistry. Electrochemistry holds significant importance and promise in the field of energy research, underlying recent advances in batteries, fuel cells, and solar photoelectrochemistry, and supporting a range of advances in biology, chemistry, physics and engineering.

Dr. Bard received a B.S. in Chemistry from the City College of the College of New York in 1955, an M.A. in Chemistry from Harvard University in 1956 and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard in 1958. He joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) in 1958, and has spent his entire career there. Dr. Bard has published over 900 peer-reviewed research papers and 75 book chapters and other publications, and has received over 23 patents.

Dr. Andrew Sessler
Distinguished Scientist Emeritus and Director Emeritus, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Former President of the American Physical Society.

Dr. Sessler has been selected for his outstanding contributions to the establishment of the beam-physics knowledge basis that has underpinned the development of current-generation particle accelerators and storage rings deployed at leading research institutions throughout the world. Since the 1950s, Dr. Sessler has been internationally recognized for developing particle accelerators and beam science, providing foundational work enabling high-energy colliders, synchrotron light sources and free-electron lasers vital to current and future scientific discoveries. In addition to the visionary role he has played directing the scientific research landscape toward new horizons in sustainable energy and the environment, Dr. Sessler was also selected for having served as an outstanding leader of the nation's physical science research community, and as an international advocate for scientific freedom.

Dr. Sessler received an A.B. in Mathematics from Harvard University in 1949, an M.A. in Physics from Columbia University in 1951 and a Ph.D. in Physics from Columbia in 1953. He served as the Director of DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory from 1973 to 1980.

Additional information about the Fermi Award is available at: http://science.energy.gov/fermi.

See the full story from The University of Texas website at: http://www.utexas.edu/news/2014/01/13/chemist-allen-bard-receives-enrico...

12/18/2013 - 15:53

J. Mater. Chem. A, 2013,1, 13443-13453 DOI: 10.1039/C3TA12987JResearch from CEC faculty member Keith Stevenson's group, with graduate student Donald A. Robinson as first author, was recently honored with a feature on the cover of J. Mat. Chem. A.

The featured paper, "Uniform epitaxial growth of Pt on Fe3O4 nanoparticles; synergetic enhancement to Pt activity for the oxygen reduction reaction" presents a synthetic strategy for achieving uniform shell-like epitaxial growth of Pt on Fe3O4 nanoparticles, and potentially a general strategy for depositing platinum on any amine-functionalized surface. The research is part of a larger multi-investigator effort in the CEC to develop hybrid nanomaterials and processes for ultrasensitive sensors. The full article may be accessed at DOI: 10.1039/c3ta12987j.

11/16/2013 - 13:00

CEC faculty member Michael Rose has been awarded funding for “H2 from H2O: A Water-Splitting Outreach Kit for High School Chemistry Students” from The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

The new funding is to develop and expand the outreach program, which is designed to bring hands-on laboratory experience to local and regional high school chemistry classrooms, and to raise awareness about the important role played by chemists in developing sustainable sources of energy for the 21st century. Details about the program are available on Prof. Rose’s website

The Dreyfus Foundation Special Grant Program in the Chemical Sciences provides funding for innovative projects in any area consistent with the Foundation’s broad objective to advance the chemical sciences.

09/25/2013 - 13:00

Congratulations to CEC graduate students Josephine Cunningham and Nicholas Brenes, both of the Crooks group, on receiving fellowships through the NASA Harriett G. Jenkins Graduate Fellowship Program, a program funded by NASA’s Office of Education Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP).

Nicholas and Josephine are two of just 30 graduate students, selected from across the U.S., to receive the competitive fellowship, which provides as much as $45,000 annually for as many as three years, and includes tuition offset, student stipend, and a research experience at a NASA center. 

The graduate fellowship seeks to support the development of the future STEM workforce through the increased number of graduate degrees awarded to underrepresented and underserved persons (women, minorities and persons with disabilities) in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. A full list of the awardees for 2013 is available from nasa.gov.

09/01/2013 - 13:00

microfluidic desalination deviceBy creating a small electrical field that removes salts from seawater, CEC chemists in the Crooks group at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Marburg in Germany have introduced a new method for the desalination of seawater that consumes less energy and is dramatically simpler than conventional techniques.

The new method requires so little energy that it can run on a store-bought battery. Graduate student Kyle Knust in the Crooks research group is conducting research in electrochemical membraneless desalination. A 3.0 V potential bias is applied across a microelectrochemical cell comprising two microchannels spanned by a single bipolar electrode (BPE) to drive chloride oxidation and water electrolysis at the BPE poles. The resulting ion depletion zone and associated electric field gradient direct ions into a branching microchannel, producing desalted water.

schematic of desalination methodThe process evades the problems confronting current desalination methods by eliminating the need for a membrane and by separating salt from water at a microscale. The technique, called electrochemically mediated seawater desalination, was described in a recent publication in Angewandte Chemie. The research team was led by Richard Crooks of The University of Texas at Austin and Ulrich Tallarek of the University of Marburg. It’s patent-pending and is in commercial development by startup company Okeanos Technologies.

graduate student Kyle Knust“The availability of water for drinking and crop irrigation is one of the most basic requirements for maintaining and improving human health,” said Crooks, the Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences. “Seawater desalination is one way to address this need, but most current methods for desalinating water rely on expensive and easily contaminated membranes. The membrane-free method we’ve developed still needs to be refined and scaled up, but if we can succeed at that, then one day it might be possible to provide fresh water on a massive scale using a simple, even portable, system.”

Source: see the full story at utexas.edu, and explore the publication in Angewandte Chemie International Edition at dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201302577.

08/22/2013 - 13:00

Congratulations to CEC faculty member Simon Humphrey, who has been awarded by The University of Texas a Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.

These awards are offered annually in recognition extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction to faculty members selected across the nine academic and six health UT System institutions.

Regarding the award, Humphrey said, "It is essential to teach a broad and stimulating curriculum to our undergraduate students, which not only installs important core skills, but also focuses on teaching chemistry that is relevant to the future of society. I endeavor to teach fundamental chemistry that facilitates a clear understanding of key concepts, in unison with the use of topical examples."

05/10/2013 - 13:00

Stephen FosdickCongratulations to Stephen Fosdick on winning the William C. Powers Graduate Fellowship. Fosdick is a graduate student in the Crooks group researching bipolar electrochemistry.

The William C. Powers Graduate Fellowship is given by the UT-Austin Graduate School and is intended to provide recognition and financial support to outstanding graduate students at the university. The fellowship was established in 2009 by renowned sports psychologist and 1970 UT-Austin graduate Dr. Steven Ungerleider through the Foundation for Global Sports Development, an outreach and mentorship educational fund where Ungerleider is a trustee.

02/14/2013 - 15:18

Su-Moon Park in his labProf. Su-Moon received his undergraduate chemistry degree from Seoul National University in 1964.  Immediately after college he worked in Korea for the Choong-Ju Fertilizer Corp. (1964-1967) and the Yong-Nam Chemical Co. (1967-1970). During this period he spent much of his free time studying, with the dream and end goal of someday pursuing further degrees in the United States.
In due course he moved to the U.S. and received an M.S. degree in organic chemistry from Texas Tech University in 1972 and then completed his Ph.D. in 1975 with Prof. Allen J. Bard (The University of Texas at Austin) in the field of electrochemistry.

During his Ph.D. studies Su-Moon was an exemplary graduate student. He was part of a group investigating the mechanisms and applications of electrogenerated chemiluminescence (ECL), a technique in which light is generated from electron transfer reactions of reactants in an electrochemical cell.  ECL later became an important analytical method in clinical chemistry for immunoassays and is still widely used.  Su-Moon’s work involved the generation of excited state complexes, called exciplexes, (AD)^.  He was the first to demonstrate that exciplexes could be produced electrochemically by reaction of A- and D+ to form (AD)^ and that such reactions could be observed in solvents with high dielectric constants where formation of (AD)^ by the usual approach of reaction of A*and D was not possible.  His work resulted in his Ph.D. dissertation entitled “Exciplexes in Electrogenerated Chemiluminescence” and four research papers in peer-reviewed journals.

In 1975, Su-Moon and his family packed their bags in Austin and drove across West Texas to join the chemistry faculty at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.  He remained at UNM for 20 years, and it was during this period that he established his international reputation as an electrochemist and raised his three children.  At UNM he published nearly 150 peer-reviewed scientific articles in the best national and international journals in his field.  Starting at the beginning of his independent career and continuing until his death, he was a leader in the study of electrically conducting polymers.  During his earliest days at New Mexico he also developed his interest in in-situ spectroelectrochemistry and impedance spectroscopy; methodologies he pioneered and which he subsequently applied to other electrochemical systems and materials.  Indeed, his careful experimental studies, framed with the appropriate theory, of fundamental electrochemical process in the 1990s have had an important impact on our understanding of energy storage materials, corrosion, and organic electrochemistry.  As an assistant professor, one of us (Crooks) had the privilege of being Su-Moon's colleague at UNM, and they held joint weekly research group meetings for four years.  It is difficult to imagine a better senior colleague (in every way), particularly for a new academic scientist finding his way, than Su-Moon.

Su-Moon was not all business during his time at UNM.  Indeed, he was a man of many talents and interests. While in Albuquerque, he spent hours tending to his vegetable garden.  He was a runner before running was cool and could be observed jogging around his neighborhood in the evenings (not so easy at 5000 feet!). He also enjoyed the intricacies of American football, and in particular his favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys. Whenever a conference or symposium took him to a state with an NFL football team, he would return with that team's jersey for his young son, Ilsun. Summers were spent on coast-to-coast tours of the USA with his wife and children in the family station wagon. Wherever he was, Su-Moon had a knack for discovering the best fishing spots and the most scenic hiking routes.

In 1995 Su-Moon returned to Korea, where he joined the faculty of Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH).  He continued his studies of conducting polymers during this period, but he expanded his research into the fields of chemical sensing, electrochemistry in ionic liquids, and development of new electroanalytical methods.  In addition to his scientific research, he contributed his administrative talents to POSTECH as Department Chair, Dean of Sciences, Director of the POSTECH Basic Sciences Research Institute, and Director of the Center for Integrated Molecular Systems.  He was Editor-in-Chief of Bulletin of the Korean Chemical Society from 1999-2003 and President of the Korean Electrochemical Society from  2004-2005.  Throughout this period he continued to teach, and in 2005 was recognizedwith the award for best teacher from the POSTECH chemistry department.

In 2009, Su-Moon moved to Ulsan National Institute of Science & Technology (UNIST) as Chaired Professor in the Interdisciplinary School of Green Energy and Director of the World Class University (WCU) program.  His contributions to research, administration of scientific research, mentoring of his junior colleagues, and teaching continued until his death. 

Su-Moon was a member of the American Chemical Society, the Electrochemical Society, the Korean Chemical Society, the Korean Electrochemical Society, Phi Lambda Upsilon, and Phi Kappa Phi. He was a Fellow of Korea Academy of Science & Technology.  During his life, he was honored with the T. K. Rhee Award of the Korean Chemical Society (2000); the Q. W. Choi Award in electrochemistry from the Korean Chemical Society (2001); The Khwarizmi International Award from the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology and UNESCO (2008); and the Sudang Prize from the Sudang Foundation (2010).  He was recognized as one of the Highly Cited Researchers in Materials Science by ISI-Thomson Scientific and as one of the 25 most prolific authors for the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.  Altogether he published more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters and was awarded 12 patents. He co-authored two books: S.-M. Park and C.-H. Pyun, "Microcomputers in Laboratories" (1989); and W. Paik and S.-M. Park, “Electrochemistry – Science and Technology of Interfaces and Electrode Processes” (2001). He presented more than 400 scientific lectures around the world.

Although he had a great passion for research, study, and expanding the knowledge of his field of electrochemistry, Su-Moon's greatest love and passion were for his family: his wife, Sunhee; daughters Hyesun and Minsun; and his son and daughter-in-law: Ilsun and Eliza. He often entertained his family with his singing and dancing, which would always bring laughter. He regaled his children with tall tales from his own youth, and encouraged them to be imaginative free thinkers.  He always enjoyed conferences and traveling more when his wife, Sunhee, was able to accompany him, and in 45 years of marriage he never once forgot her birthday or wedding anniversary.  His passion for his students was a very close second to that of his family.  Despite his many other professional responsibilities, he always found time to meet with his students to discuss their professional and personal concerns.  He cared about people around him and wanted them to enjoy a life as happy and fulfilling as his own.  Indeed, Su-Moon was a bit of an amateur philosopher. He said “No man grows by himself. A man is delicately raised by absorbing benefits from people and their society. Once he is grown up, he has to return those benefits to the society and is obliged to grow another him by doing the same things. This is the way of making the world better generation by generation.”  Su-Moon was a humble and highly respected man, and yet his influence on those who knew him was profound. 

On January 15, 2013, Prof. Su-Moon Park was laid to rest in Chungju, South Korea, on the hillside where he played as a child, overlooking the house where he was born, next to his mother.  He will be missed.  However, for those of us who had the honor to call him father, husband, friend, colleague, or mentor, it is easy to close our eyes and see the honorable professor in a neat and humble suit with grey hair, warm smile, soft but persuasive voice, and compassionate eyes.

Ilsun Park
Allen J. Bard
Richard M. Crooks
Byoung-Yong Chang

Su-Moon Park in his lab

01/30/2013 - 16:07

Allen Bard and John Goodenough each will be presented with the National Medal of Science by President Obama on Friday, February 1, 2013. The White House will have a live webcast of the ceremony, which begins at 2 PM EST, which can be viewed at www.whitehouse.gov/live.