Research

The electrochemical interconversion of small molecules containing C, O, N, and H is at the core of energy and environmental chemistry.  Reactions of interest to the McCrory group include: 1) the electrochemical reduction of CO2 to reduced products for the conversion of intermittent energy to C-containing fuels, 2) the reduction of NO3 salts for the remediation of agricultural wastewater into N2 and/or NH3 , 3) the electrochemical oxidations for water splitting and selective organic oxidations, and 4) the low-temperature electrochemical conversion of N2 to NH3.

In the McCrory group, our general research approach is to develop enabling technologies that allow for the careful study and control of electrocatalytic processes with an emphasis on kinetic and mechanistic analysis, and to use these approaches to address fundamental challenges in the electrochemical conversion of small molecules by solid-state and molecular catalysts. We use a combination of surface science and electrochemistry to directly observe reactive intermediates in the catalytic pathway in model systems and then use these mechanistic findings to develop new, efficient electrocatalytic materials.  A few key projects in our group:

Using Polymer Encapsulation to Modulate a Catalyst’s Coordination Environment and Enhance Electrocatalytic Activity and Stability

Description Coming Soon.

Funding: NSF CHE-1751791, CAREER: Promoting Selective Electrochemical CO2 Reduction by Controlling a Catalyst’s Primary, Secondary, and Outer Coordination Spheres

 

 

 

Developing Reductively-Stable Self-Assembled Monolayers on Metallic Surfaces

Description Coming Soon.

Funding: NSF CHE-2004035, Increasing the Reductive Stability of Self-Assembled Monolayers on Metallic Surfaces to Enable Reductive Electrocatalysis

 

 

 

Design of New Molecular Catalysts with Redox-Active Ligands for Electrocatalytic Reactions

Description Coming Soon.

 

 

 

Developing New Heterogeneous Catalysts for Selective Electro-oxidation Reactions

Description Coming Soon.

 

 

Our lab uses a variety of synthetic techniques for the preparation of catalytic materials, and a suite of analytical tools for the characterization of inorganic complexes (e.g. NMR, IR spectroscopy, UV-Vis spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography) and solid state materials (e.g. X-ray powder diffraction, electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Auger electron spectroscopy). Electrochemical analysis of catalytic kinetics is a central component of our research program, and so we are well-versed in electroanalytical techniques (e.g. cyclic voltammetry, bulk electrolysis, hydrodynamic techniques, spectroelectrochemistry, electrochemical flow cells) and product separation and identification (e.g. gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry). Our multi-disciplinary approach allows us to understand the kinetics and mechanisms of energy- and environmentally-relevant catalytic processes, and facilitates the development of new, efficient electrocatalytic systems for energy conversion and environmental remediation.