News & Upcoming Events

04/26/2011 - 11:50

Trypsin sensor Zaccheo CrooksA new low cost test for acute pancreatitis that gets results much faster than existing tests has been developed by scientists in the Center for Electrochemistry at The University of Texas at Austin.

The sensor, which could be produced for as little as a dollar, is built with a 12-cent LED light, aluminum foil, gelatin, milk protein and a few other cheap, easily obtainable materials.

The sensor could help prevent damage from acute pancreatitis, which is a sudden inflammation of the pancreas that can lead to severe stomach pain, nausea, fever, shock and in some cases, death.

“We’ve turned Reynold’s Wrap, JELL-O and milk into a way to look for organ failure,” says Brian Zaccheo, a graduate student in the lab of Richard Crooks, professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

Read the full story at Texas Science.

04/14/2011 - 11:23

Professor Allen BardProfessor Allen Bard, CEC Director, will be honored with a College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award at a banquet later this month. Natural Sciences Dean Mary Ann Rankin established this award to increase recognition of the College’s many exceptional faculty who are committed to teaching at either the undergraduate or graduate level.

03/22/2011 - 16:58

Going to the ACS meeting? Don't miss this electrochemistry symposium organized by UT-Austin graduate students.

See full details at

Monday, March 28, 2011
Disneyʼs Grand Californian Hotel, Trillium C
8:30 am - 5:00 pm

GSSPC group members

Speakers include:
Julie Macpherson, Warwick University
William Heineman, University of Cincinnati
Henry White, University of Utah
Andrew Ewing, University of Gothenburg
Charles Martin, University of Florida
Allen J. Bard, The University of Texas at Austin

02/17/2011 - 16:02

CEC Annual Workshop on ElectrochemistryThe CEC hosts the third annual Workshop on Electrochemistry this weekend (February 19-20, 2011) at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center located on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. The workshop will feature seminar presentations from 11 leading scientists in four sessions: electrodeposition and electrosynthesis, industrial electrochemistry, photoelectrochemistry, and new techniques.

A poster session and exhibition on Saturday evening at the Texas Union will present recent research results from 50 presenters representing UT-Austin, other univerisities and industry. More information and registration is available online.

Also in connection with the workshop, the Center for Electrochemistry will host a seminar by Dr. Akira Yoshino, Asahi Kasei Corporation. Dr. Yoshino will speak on "Origin, Recent Development and the Future of Lithium-Ion Battery (LiB)" at 10:00 am, Monday, February 21, 2011 in the seminar room of the new Norman Hackerman building (NHB 1.720) at UT-Austin.

Each year in Austin, Texas, the CEC Annual Workshop on Electrochemistry brings together experts in fields of engineering, materials, and electrochemistry to focus on a  topic in an important area of research. Participants address specific challenges in the field, exchange ideas and information, and catch up with colleagues from around the world.

These exclusive workshops feature scientists and researchers from top universities, national laboratories, and electrochemical industries discussing cutting-edge electrochemical science, and addressing issues with respect to the mechanisms of electron transfer. Electrochemistry is the foundation for chemical transducers and sensors and is poised to play an increasing role in the analysis of chemical and biological interfaces; and for the high-resolution study of ion/charge transport and dynamics, electron transfer, adsorption, and chemical toxicity.

02/10/2011 - 13:00

Keith JohnstonKeith P. Johnston, chemical engineering professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to engineers worldwide.

With this year's election, the academy includes 2,290 members and 202 foreign associates.

Johnston was elected for his advances in science and technology of particles and colloids used in drug delivery, biomedical imaging and therapy, microelectronics and energy applications. He holds the M.C. (Bud) and Mary Beth Baird Endowed Chair in the Department of Chemical Engineering and has been a professor at the university since 1982.

01/31/2011 - 16:49

Allen BardRecent work by CEC researchers including Allen Bard, on harnessing the power of sunlight to produce fuels that can substitute for oil, was a featured story on the main University of Texas at Austin web site.

Sunlight to fuels research involves the search for specialized materials that can absorb the energy of sunlight by creating electron-hole pairs, which remain available long enough to react with water, splitting it into hydrogen and oxygen. Similar schemes are sought for reduction of carbon dioxide to hydrocarbon fuels.

The full article is available here. A related article is available here.

12/13/2010 - 11:44

university money graphicOn October 11, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) published a CEC Director Allen J. Bard's guest editorial entitled “It’s Not the Money, Stupid!”. In the editorial, Bard considers the influence of money and the creation of intellectual property on the culture of academic research in chemistry.

A number of letters, both pro and con, were sent to C&EN in response to the editorial. In today's issue of C&EN the editorial was reprinted as part of a Point/Counterpoint format that features three unsolicited guest editorials from prominent chemists. Two of the editorials, one jointly by University of Utah chemistry professors Glenn D. Prestwich and Charles A. Wight and one by University of Texas chemical engineering professor and CEC faculty member Adam Heller, offer differing views. Another, by University of Wisconsin chemistry professor Howard E. Zimmerman, support and expands on Bard’s view. The article concludes with a final comment from Bard.

reference: C&EN, December 13, 2010, Volume 88, Number 50, pp. 26 - 29
12/02/2010 - 10:25

photomicrograph of cu2znsns4 nanocrystals for low-cost photovoltaicsSolar technology has the potential to advance beyond bulky, heavy solar panels for home and commercial use. Can you imagine using solar paint applied to your home or car to create electricity to run them? Think "solar ink."

Join Professor Brian Korgel for "Powered Paint: Nanotech Solar Ink" and learn how close we are to this goal. Families can experience activities ranging from animal visitors to science fair-style experiments at the pre-lecture fair, beginning at 5:45 p.m.; lecture begins at 7 p.m.
Time: Friday, December 3, 2010, 5:45-8:30 p.m.
Location: Robert A. Welch Hall 2.224
Admission: Free

Thanks to cutting edge technology, solar cells could soon be produced more cheaply using nanoparticle "inks" that allow them to be printed like newspaper or painted onto the sides of buildings or rooftops to absorb electricity-producing sunlight. Dr. Korgel will disucss how nanomaterials can help enable the creation of exciting new devices and practices.

Dr. Korgel's research lab studies nanotechnology, the field of applied science at the atomic and molecular scale. His group focuses on investigating size-tunable material properties, and the self-assembly and fabrication of nanostructures. This multidisciplinary research finds applications in electrochemistry, microelectronics, photonics, photovoltaics, spintronics, coatings, sensors and biotechnology.

11/16/2010 - 17:34

Chemistry Professor Paul F. Barbara, 57, one of The University of Texas at Austin’s most prominent scientists, died on Oct. 31 due to complications following cardiac arrest.

Paul BarbaraBarbara held the Richard J. V. Johnson Welch Regents’ Chair in Chemistry. He received many awards and accolades throughout his career, beginning with a Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1984. In 2009, he was awarded the E. Bright Wilson Award in Spectroscopy by the American Chemical Society, recognizing his innovative experimental probes of the dynamics of chemical processes. In 2006, Barbara was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the most prestigious association of scientists in the nation. For 15 years he was senior editor for one of the premier chemistry journals, Accounts of Chemical Research.

Barbara’s recent research probed the molecular arrangement of individual polymer molecules in order to understand how this structure affects the molecular behavior in complex environments, such as plastic solar cells. Earlier work in his labs involved ultrafast measurements to study how electrons exchange between molecules and move through liquids. During his career, he published more than 200 influential and widely cited journal articles. He was also a mentor to more than 100 graduate students and postdoctoral research fellows. Thirty-four are now professors at universities in the United States, Asia and Europe.

Barbara was a campus leader in stimulating collaborative research efforts. In 2000, he founded the university’s Center for Nano and Molecular Science and Technology, which grew from a grassroots faculty effort to become a cornerstone of nanoscience research for the university’s science and engineering community. Barbara steered the campaign for a central nanoscience facility on campus, leading in 2006 to the $37 million Nano Science and Technology building (now the Larry R. Faulkner Nano Science and Technology Building). This building houses more than $17 million in scientific equipment that is used in the research by more than 300 students and faculty each year.

In 2009 the U.S. Department of Energy awarded $13 million to a team of university faculty led by Barbara to study the fundamental chemical processes that limit the efficiency of plastic solar cell materials. This award represents the largest single program at The University of Texas at Austin to be funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“This is a terrible loss for the College of Natural Sciences, the university and for me personally,” said Mary Ann Rankin, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. “Paul was a brilliant scientist and visionary leader and was tireless in pursuit of resources and talent for our nanoscience program. He leaves a large group of students, staff, postdoctoral associates and faculty colleagues behind who were expecting to work with him for years to come. I count myself among those who relied on Paul for advice and leadership. We have lost our guiding star and a great friend.”

Barbara grew up in New York City and received his bachelor of science degree in chemistry at Hofstra University in 1974. He completed his doctor’s degree at Brown University in 1978, and pursued postdoctoral studies at Bell Laboratories until 1980. Prior to joining The University of Texas at Austin Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1998, Barbara was a faculty member for 18 years at the University of Minnesota, where he was named 3M-Alumni Distinguished Professor of Chemistry.

Barbara is survived by his wife Sharon, son Jason, daughter Juliet, three grandchildren, his brother and sister.

A memorial service is scheduled for December 12, 2010 at 11 a.m. in the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center.

Click through for Peter Rossky and Gilbert Walker's retrospective article in Science.


10/11/2010 - 12:13

This guest editorial is by Allen J. Bard, a chemistry professor and director of the Center for Electrochemistry at the University of Texas, Austin. The culture of academic research has shifted over the past 50 years from research evaluation based on teaching, creativity, and productivity to one based simply on the amount of money (often now called “resources”) raised. A number of factors have played a role in this change: the “business model” for universities, an increased willingness to accept greed as a virtue in our society and as a measure of success, and a desire for an easy “objective” measure of something that is otherwise difficult to quantify. See the rest of this article at C&EN online.

12/13/2010 update: see story here.