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New faculty member expands CEBC expertise to electrocatalysis

Friday, December 20, 2013

Kevin Leonard joined CEBC and KU’s Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering as its newest assistant professor last fall.  

Leonard’s expertise in electrocatalysis and in situ surface characterization add innovative tools to the CEBC toolbox. His work has potential in semiconductors for solar fuel applications and in developing and characterizing electrocatalysts, with an emphasis on the hydrogen and oxygen evolution reactions.

Kevin Leonard in the lab“My goal is to develop inexpensive, stable and highly active photo- and electro-catalysts that can be made without any costly noble metals,” said Leonard. To do this, Leonard will sift through thousands of combinations of two or more metals. Finding the needle in this haystack could take decades.  To speed up the search, Leonard utilizes an innovative rapid screening technique called scanning electrochemical microscopy.

“To advance the state-of-the-art for both screening and electrochemical characterization, we needed to build custom instrumentation,” said Leonard. CEBC’s Engineering Technician Ed Atchison used his machining skills to build Leonard a two-inch by four-inch device from Teflon and aluminum that can analyze 64 samples at a time. A 3D printer deposits tiny dots of different materials onto the screening device, and then Leonard moves an electrode across the array of dots to map out which material composites are worth a closer look. With his new graduate student and five undergraduates, Leonard is ready to put his tailor-made innovation to work.

--Story by Claudia Bode



CEBC Calendar

October 16 & 17, Monday & Tuesday - CEBC Fall Industry Advisory Board Meeting
Final Agenda - click here

Monday 12:00-7:30 p.m. at the Adams Alumni Center, 1266 Oread Avenue, Lawrence
Tuesday 8:30-noon at the CEBC Complex, 1501 Wakarusa Drive, Lawrence

October 17, Tuesday - CEBC Colloquium
Dr. Henrik Rudolph, Ministry of Defense of The Netherlands
"How to successfully contribute to the world of scientific publishing"

4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., 1501 Wakarusa Drive, Building B seminar room

November 7, Tuesday - CEBC Industry Colloquium
Dr. Brandon Emme, Cellulose Team Leader, ICM, Inc.
"Title TBA"

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., 1501 Wakarusa Drive, Building B seminar room
10:00 a.m. discussion with students

November 8, Wednesday - Mandatory Lab Safety Meeting
All researchers at 1501 Wakarusa Dr. must attend

9:00 a.m. in Building B seminar room

December 5, Tuesday - CEBC Industry Colloquium
Dr. John Warner, President & Chief Technology Officer, Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry
"Title TBA"

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., 1501 Wakarusa Drive, Building B seminar room
10:00 a.m. discussion with students

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