Materials Seminar – Prof. Joaquín Rodríguez-López (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

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1315 Seminar Hall
@ 12:05 pm - 1:00 pm

Title: Putting a New Spin on Oxygen Intermediate Detection During Electrochemical Energy Storage and Conversion


Joaquín Rodríguez-López is the LAS Distinguished Professorial Scholar, J. Andrew and Susan S. Langan Professorial Scholar, and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with affiliation to the Illinois Materials Research Laboratory and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Joaquin’s group combines interests in electroanalytical chemistry and energy materials by developing methods based on scanned probe electrochemistry, atomically thin electrodes, and spectroelectrochemical techniques for interfacial electrochemistry. Recognition to Joaquin’s work has come through awards such as the the Zhaowu Tian Prize for Energy Electrochemistry by the International Society of Electrochemistry (2021), The Arthur Findeis Award for Achievements by a Young Analytical Scientist by the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry (2020), the Society of Electroanalytical Chemistry Royce W. Murray Young Investigator Award (2017), a Toyota-Electrochemical Society Young Investigator Fellowship (2017), the Sloan Research Fellowship (2016), and the East Central Illinois ACS Chapter Distinguished Service Award (2016), amongst other awards. He has been highlighted in the media by The Analytical Scientist as a 40-under-40 investigator (2022) and by Science News 10 Scientists to Watch (2018). Rodríguez-López is a recognized leader in electroanalysis, summing over 120 invited national and international presentations, over 110 publications and book chapters, and a thriving electrochemical program that gives back through educational activities such as his staple “Electrochemistry Bootcamp” organized at UIUC, and which teaches laboratory skills to broad audiences.


Elucidating and controlling interfacial reactivity is key to a broad scope of electrochemical studies of catalysts, sensors, and energy storage media. I will present a modern approach to understanding the electrochemical interface using scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM), a scanned probe technique capable of delivering high spatiotemporal and chemical redox resolution at active surfaces. SECM uses an electrochemical probe to detect and quantify species (e.g. discharged products, homogeneous and heterogeneous intermediates) and the kinetics of processes (e.g. heterogeneous rate constants) through the use of highly localized electrochemical techniques deployed by such probe. [1,2] Our group has expanded the toolbox of SECM techniques to include modes such as Surface Interrogation SECM, where the surface coverage and dynamics of oxygenated adsorbed intermediates are explored, and the introduction of simultaneous and co-localized SECM-Raman investigations of a variety of interfaces. [3,4] Such in situ approaches give us insight regarding the reactivity of individual reacting sites within bulk electrodes, including their evolution during operation, and enable the construction of sensible structure–function correlations and electroanalytical models. In my talk, I will describe the main features of our instrumental setup, applications to interface and bulk nanomaterials, and emerging directions that amplify the role of hyphenated techniques coupled to the SECM into a highly versatile toolbox for manifold electrochemical processes. I will highlight recent experiments describing the detection of highly reacting hydroxyl radical intermediates [5] the detection of oxygen evolution in degrading metal-oxide electrodes [6], and the use of new graphene-on-metal substrates for electrochemical SERS on carbon which we hope will have an impact on our ability to tailor interfaces for energy storage and catalysis.

[1] Counihan, M. et al. ChemElectroChem 2019, 3507; [2] Krumov, M.R., et al. Anal. Chem. 2018, 3050; [3] Schorr, N.B. et al. Anal. Chem. 2018, 7848; [4] Schorr, N.B. et al. Curr. Op. Electrochem. 2018, 89. [5] Barroso-Martinez, J.S. et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2022, 18896; [6] Mishra, A. J. Electrochem. Soc. 2022, 086501.

Host: Prof. Song Jin