Robert A. Welch Chair in Materials Chemistry
The University of Texas at Austin
Hosted by Chad Mirkin
One approach for designing improved nanoparticle catalysts involves the use of first-principles calculations, such as density functional theory (DFT), to predict the structural properties of efficient, new materials. As these types of calculations have begun to emerge, however, it has become increasingly clear that there are few really good experimental models available to test their predictions. Dendrimer-encapsulated nanoparticles (DENs) provide an opportunity to meet this need, because their size, composition, and structure can be controlled and because they have a size that is compatible with DFT calculations (< 300 atoms). DENs are synthesized by complexing metal ions with interior tertiary amines of poly(amido amine) (PAMAM) dendrimers, followed by chemical reduction. In this talk, I will discuss the basic approach for synthesizing DENs, provide two examples of the interplay of theory and experiment that leads to a better understanding of electrocatalysis, and then discuss some very recent unpublished work focused on more complex (and hence more realistic) electrocatalytic structures comprised of DENs and metal oxide surfaces.
Richard M. Crooks received his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin). After a postdoc at MIT, he started his independent career at the University of New Mexico. He subsequently moved to Texas A&M University and then returned to UT-Austin where he is presently the Robert A. Welch Chair in Materials Chemistry. His interests include synthesis, characterization, and electrocatalytic properties of nanoparticles, microelectrochemical sensors, and bioelectrochemistry. He has published ~300 research papers and is the recipient of several awards including the Carl Wagner Memorial Award of the Electrochemical Society, the American Chemical Society Electrochemistry Award, the Society for Electroanalytical Chemistry C. N. Reilley Award, the Pittsburg Award in Analytical Chemistry, and the Faraday Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry.