CHEM 465 – Solid-State and Materials Chemistry

The course begins with basic crystallography and introduces common inorganic structure types as well as defects in crystalline solids. The relation between the bonding in a crystalline solid, its electronic structure, and resulting physical properties (e.g. electrical and ionic conductivity, optical absorption, and mechanical hardness) will be discussed throughout the semester. Students are then taught to use phase diagrams to assess the compositions and microstructures of materials produced by various synthetic and processing methods. The thermodynamics and kinetics of solid-state reactions (e.g. alloying, oxidation, and ion intercalation/exchange) will also be explored.

Text: Solid State Chemistry and Its Applications, 2nd Ed. by Anthony R. West, 2014 (ISBN: 9781119942948)

Course Objectives

  • Examine the structure of common metallic, ionic, and covalent solids; compare the symmetry and atomic arrangement of these different structures.
  • Understand how a diffraction pattern for a crystalline solid is obtained and the factors that affect the peaks positions and intensities for various crystalline solids; identify the structure of an unknown compound based on its diffraction pattern.
  • Correlate the crystal structure, bonding, and defect structure of crystalline solids with their electronic structure and resulting physical properties (optical, electrical, magnetic, mechanical).
  • Predict the compositions and microstructures that will be in equilibrium among multiple chemical species based on thermodynamic data. Evaluate how kinetic effects can produce metastable phases.

Years taught: Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016


CHEM 426 – Inorganic Electrochemistry and Photochemistry

An understanding of electrochemical processes is critical in describing the behavior of batteries, photovoltaics, solar fuel systems, and other important devices used in energy conversion, storage, and environmental remediation. This course will cover modern inorganic electrochemistry and photoelectrochemistry from a microscopic perspective of solid–electrolyte interfaces. The course material will start with the thermodynamics of electrochemical cells and the kinetics of electron transfer across these interfaces. Electroanalytical techniques, such as cyclic voltammetry and potential step methods, will be described to understand the mechanism of various electrochemical and photochemical reactions. The second half of the course will cover applications of electrochemical cells, including batteries, fuel cells, and photosynthetic electrochemical cells. 

Text: Interfacial Electrochemistry, 2nd Ed. by Wolfgang Schmickler & Elizabeth Santos, Springer-Verlag 2010 (ISBN: 978-3-642-44002-1)

Course Objectives

Examine the microscopic and energetic structure of metal–electrolyte and semiconductor–electrolyte interfaces.

Understand the current response of an electrode during Faradaic and non-Faradaic processes.

Interpret electroanalytical data and predict the mechanism of an electrochemical reaction based on the observed current or voltage response of an electrode.

Describe electrochemical and photoelectrochemical processes in modern energy conversion devices, such as lithium-ion batteries and dye-sensitized solar cells. 

Review and critique current electrochemical literature.

Years taught: Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019