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Department of Chemistry
St. John's University
8000 Utopia Parkway
Jamaica, NY 11439
William H. Nichols Distinguished Symposium,
Medal Award Presentation & Dinner
April 13, 2018
“The Future fo Energy Science...Without Chemists? Unachievable!”
2018 Nichols Medalist
Dr. Debra R. Rolison
Advanced Materials Section
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
Professor Joseph M. Serafin, 2018 Chair, ACS New York Section, St. John's University
1:05 p.m. Opening of the Distinguished Symposium
Professor Justyna Widera-Kalinowska, 2018 Chair-Elect, ACS New York Section, Adelphi University
Designing Transition Metal Phosphide Nanoparticles and Composites for
Effective Electrocatalytic and Photocatalytic Water Splitting
Professor Stephanie L. Brock
Wayne State University
Transition metal phosphides are of considerable research interest for the wide range of catalytic functions they imbue.
These include hydrodesulfurization of fossil fuels, hydrodeoxygenation of biofuels, and electrocatalytic water splitting reactions,
among others. However, the functionality of the phosphide is sensitively dependent on composition, structure and particle size.
In order to better understand the roles of structure, electronics, and surface chemistry on catalytic activity and stability, synthetic
methods that enable composition, structure, and size to be targeted, and that yield low-polydispersity samples, are needed.
In this presentation, the synthesis of bimetallic manganese and ruthenium phosphide nanoparticles M2–xMnxP (M = Fe, Co) and
Ni2–xRuxP will be described and their composition-dependent activity for electrocatalytic water oxidation presented. The role of
structure, site occupancy, and electronic considerations on functionality will be discussed in the context of designing more active and
stable electrocatalysts. Finally, as a means to translate electrocatalytic activity into photocatalytic activity, the design of
porous nanoparticle assemblies that blend phosphides with light-harvesting sulfide nanoparticles will be described and their efficacy
for photocatalytic water reduction discussed in light of interfacial characteristics. The talk will conclude with a discussion of the
importance of rational nanomaterials synthesis and design in addressing 21st century energy and environmental needs.
Modulating Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer Mechanisms for the Efficient Production of Fuels
Dr. Jillian L. Dempsey
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Molecular transformations of interest for solar fuel production are underpinned by proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) reactions.
To optimize efficiency in the catalytic reactions that mediate fuel production, this proton-electron reactivity must be carefully
orchestrated. Our group utilizes a combination of electrochemical methods and time-resolved spectroscopy to elucidate the mechanisms of
PCET reactions in both transition metal-based hydrogen-evolving catalysts and model systems. By systematically examining the influence
of various reaction parameters—including catalyst structure, ligand electronics and proton source—on the PCET mechanisms and the
kinetics of their elementary reaction steps, we are revealing how the PCET reaction space can be intentionally traversed. These findings
are providing the blueprints for next-generation catalyst design.
2:45 p.m. Coffee Break
Operando Methods for the Study of Energy Materials
Dr. Héctor D. Abruña
This presentation will deal with the development of operando methods for the study and characterization of fuel cell and
battery materials. The presentation will begin with a brief overview of the methods employed. Particular emphasis will be
placed on the use of X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) X-ray microscopy and tomography and
transmission electron microscopy (TEM) all under active potential control. The utility of these methods will be illustrated
by selected examples including electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction and spectroscopic studies of Li/S
batteries and lithium dendrite formation dynamics. The use of operando TEM will be illustrated by studies of fuel cell
catalyst degradation and coalescence and lithiation/de-lithiation dynamics of LiFePO4 via energy-filtered TEM.
Finally the concept of symmetrical redox flow batteries will be demonstrated. The presentation will conclude with an
assessment of future directions.
Architectural Design, 1D Walls, 3D Plumbing, and Painting Blind en Route to
Multifunctional Nanoarchitectures for Energy Storage
Dr. Debra R. Rolison, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
Our team at the Naval Research Laboratory looks at rate-critical chemical processes where events per second are required for high
performance in such technologies as energy storage, energy conversion, (electro)catalysis, and sensing. We then design next-generation
systems built around pore–solid nanoarchitectures that seamlessly embody all of the requisite rate functions for high-performance
electrochemistry: molecular mass transport, ionic/electronic/thermal conductivity, and electron-transfer kinetics. We have taken the lessons from 20 years of probing the operational and design characteristics of catalytic and energy-relevant nanoarchitectures to create a zinc sponge—a stand-alone, 3D-wired anode that improves current distribution within the electrode structure during charge–discharge cycling, thwarts dendrite-formation, and can challenge the energy density of Li-ion battery packs, all while using safer aqueous-based chemistry. With this breakthrough, we are now addressing the family of zinc-based rechargeable alkaline batteries: nickel–3D zinc, silver–3D zinc, MnO2–3D zinc, and even rechargeable 3D zinc–air. The route we have taken to move from a creative concept to a fabricated reality to the necessary fundamental characterization to prototype development (and ultimately commercialization by outside companies) will be described.
William H. Nichols Medal Award Dinner
Professor Henry White of the University of Utah
will introduce the 2018 Medalist
Reservations for the 2018 William H. Nichols Distinguished Symposium & Medal Award Banquet
in honor of Dr. Debra R. Rolison, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
may be made by April 1, 2018 using this
You can pay for your tickets using the buttons below (please make sure to indicated menu selection)
50+ Year Members of the American Chemical Society may receive complimentary tickets to the the Award Symposium by emailing
Marilyn Jespersen at the New York Section Office.
Message from 2018 Chair
Dr. Joseph M. Serafin
2018 Board Meeting Dates
Archive of Back Issues
Reminder - Please Pay Your New York
Local Section Voluntary Dues!
When your ACS membership renewal notice arrives this time, please be sure to renew but also don't forget to check the box for payment of New York Local Section Dues. While Local Section dues are a voluntary contribution - they are not required to maintain Section membership - they are however, critically important to the well being of the New York Section.
Your $15.00 Voluntary Dues directly fund events and services, including the prestigious annual Nichols Medal Symposium, undergraduate research symposia, topical groups, subgroups, and other excellent programs. With your financial commitment, these important programs can continue to grow and benefit all our members.
Thank you - the New York Section really appreciates your help!
Employers Seeking Talented Employees
The Employment and Professional Relations Committee maintains a roster of candidates who are ACS members seeking a position in the New York metropolitan area.
If you have job openings and would like qualified candidates to contact you, please send a brief job description and educational/experience background required to Hessy Taft.
Candidates from our roster who meet the requirements you describe will be asked to contact you.
Do you like to talk?
Then we need to hear from you!
The New York Section of the ACS is looking to increase and
update its Speakers Bureau database of interested local area
speakers who are available for Section-wide seminars and
symposia. If you have an area of research or interest that
would provide an interesting talk appropriate for our Section
members, and would like to be included in our Speakers Bureau,
then please contact the New
York Section Office (516-883-7510, Email) with the following information
that will be posted on the Section's website: your name,
affiliation, a title, and 5-6 words briefly summarizing your
area of specialty. We look forward to hearing from you about
topics that you wish to share with our other members!
NY Section ACS Speakers Bureau