The Research Group Home Page of
Prof. Elton J. Cairns
The effective, efficient,
and environmentally friendly generation and storage of energy are important current
concerns for our society and our research group. The
The performance of electrodes employed in fuel cells that directly react such fuels as methanol and ethanol is typically limited by slow electrochemical kinetics. The goals of our research performed on these electrodes are to synthesize new highly active electrocatalysts and characterize their kinetic and mechanistic behavior. I doing this, we identify electrode structures, electrocatalysts, and electrolyte compositions that lead to improved cell performance and lifetime.
We rely heavily upon the use of advanced research tools, such as X-ray absorption spectroscopies (XAS) using synchrotron radiation (in collaboration with Prof. S. Cramer of UC Davis), to characterize the atomic and electronic properties of new electrode materials. We pioneered the use of photothermal deflection spectroscopy for the in situ characterization of electrochemical systems. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) has been extended (in collaboration with Prof. J. Reimer of UCB) to the study of electronically conducting electrode materials and species adsorbed on the surface of electrocatalysts. This powerful technique is used for the atomic-level study of electrode materials for both batteries and fuel cells.
Current research group members:
· Kunpeng Kai (Visiting Graduate Student from Tsinghua University, China)
· David Fronczek (Visiting Graduate Student from DLR, Germany)
· Caiyun Nan (Visiting Graduate Student from Tsinghua University, China)
· Dr. Wujun Fu
· Dr. Min-Kyu Song
· Dr. Yuegang Zhang (LBNL)
· Prof. Jeffrey Reimer (UC Berkeley)
· Dr. Aniruddha Deb (Univ. of Michigan)