With the support of the Chemical Catalysis program in the Division of Chemistry, Professor Christopher Barile of the University of Nevada, Reno will investigate methods to improve chemical reactions central to renewable energy and environmental technologies. To that end, Professor Barile will study new approaches to durable, efficient, and inexpensive electrocatalysts. More specifically, polymer layers will be used to control and modulate catalysts supported on electrode surfaces. This approach will afford a more detailed picture of how these catalysts operate. In addition, the research strategies pursued will be broadly important because the results will impact other areas that are of fundamental interest and importance in chemistry and biology. In conjunction with the research conducted, Professor Barile and his group will develop an online science demonstration database, SciDemoWiki, using a framework analogous to Wikipedia to improve science education. Additionally, Professor Barile will lead a team to educate high school students in Northern Nevada by creating an outreach center called SIERRA (Sparking Interest in Energy Research in the Reno Area). Students participating in this outreach will learn about the central role chemistry plays in green energy technologies and addressing climate change. These efforts are designed to improve science literacy across all grade levels by increasing the quantity and quality of science demonstrations performed in classrooms.
With the support of the Chemical Catalysis program in the Division of Chemistry, Professor Christopher Barile of the University of Nevada, Reno is studying electrochemical bilayer interfaces to control proton transfer dynamics and catalyst selectivity. These architectures will be used to interrogate molecular, nanostructured, and metal electrocatalysts for carbon dioxide and nitrate reduction reactions, processes instrumental in decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and in purifying water. By modulating proton transfer kinetics with fluoropolymer membranes and through tandem catalysis, the Barlie team seeks to control the predominant mechanistic pathway for the electrocatalytic reaction under study. Laboratory research will be complemented by the development of a new online Wiki-driven science demonstration database, SciDemoWiki, as a community-facing pedagogical tool. At the same time, the project will launch an outreach center in Northern Nevada called SIERRA (Sparking Interest in Energy Research in the Reno Area) to teach high school students about chemistryâ€™s central role in advancing renewable energy technologies and addressing climate change. These efforts aim tol improve science literacy across all grade levels by increasing the quantity and quality of science demonstrations performed in classrooms.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.