James McKone highlighted as an emerging investigator in materials chemistry

  • By Jenny Stein
  • 6 November 2019

From the design of improved batteries to the use of solar and wind power for commodity chemical production, the University of Pittsburgh’s James McKone explores ways that chemical engineering can make the world more sustainable. That’s why his most recent work, investigating ways that the chemical industry can use renewable electricity as its energy source, is featured in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A Emerging Investigators special issue.

The themed issue highlights the rising stars of materials chemistry research, from nanoparticle inks to next-generation solar cells. The featured investigators are early in their careers and were recommended by other experts in the field.  “We’re glad to have James on our faculty and know this honor is well-deserved,” says Steven Little, PhD, chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the Swanson School. “It confirms what we already know: that his lab’s work has the potential to influence the direction of future discoveries in energy production, energy storage and beyond.” 

Department of Chemistry
PhD, Chemistry, Harvard University

Raúl Hernández Sánchez's research group is interested in combining supramolecular, inorganic, and materials chemistry to synthesize functional systems that bridge the gap between nanoscale materials and molecular chemistry. Their research is focused on developing new synthetic methodologies to access well-defined nanometer-sized clusters where they can investigate surface structure-function relationships relevant in catalytic and magnetic materials. Other efforts in the Hernández Sánchez (HS) group are aimed at designing and synthesizing structural analogues of carbon nanotubes where exquisite control of the resulting framework allows for properties manipulation.

Students in the HS group will engage in synthetic chemistry and develop familiarity with a range of spectroscopic, electrochemical, crystallographic and magnetic techniques. While rooted in synthetic chemistry, research in the HS group will interface with materials, organic, theory, and physical chemistry.

Most Cited Publications
  1. "High total proton conductivity in large-grained yttrium-doped barium zirconate," Y Yamazaki, R Hernandez-Sanchez, SM Haile, Chemistry of Materials 21, 2755 (2009
  2.  "Cation non-stoichiometry in yttrium-doped barium zirconate: phase behavior, microstructure, and proton conductivity," Y Yamazaki, R Hernandez-Sanchez, SM Haile, Journal of Materials Chemistry 20, 8158 (2010)
  3. "Disulfide Reductive Elimination From an Iron (III) Complex." Janice L. Wong, R Hernandez-Sanchez, Jennifer Glancy Logan, et. al.  Chemical Science 4.4 (2013)
  4. "Probing the role of an Fe IV Tetrazene in Catalytic Aziridination."  S Alan Cramer, R Hernandez-Sanchez, Desiraw F Brakhage, David M Jenkins.  Chemical Communications 50.90 (2014)
  5. "A Remarkably Active Iron Catecholate Catalyst Immobilized in a Porous Organic Polymer." Steven J. Kraft, R Hernandez-Sanchez, and Adam S Hock.  ACS Catalysis 3.5 (2013)
Recent Publications
  1. "Exposing the inadequacy of redox formalisms by resolving redox inequivalence within isovalent clusters," Bartholomew, A. K., Teesdale, J. J., Sánchez, R. H., Malbrecht, B. J., Juda, C. E., Ménard, G., ... & Sarangi, R. (2019).  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences116(32), 15836-15841.
  2. "Controlling Singlet Fission by Molecular Contortion," Conrad-Burton, Felisa S., Taifeng Liu, Florian Geyer, Roberto Costantini, Andrew P. Schlaus, Michael S. Spencer, Jue Wang et al. Journal of the American Chemical Society 141, no. 33 (2019): 13143-13147.
  3. "Defying strain in the synthesis of an electroactive bilayer helicene." Milton, Margarita, Nathaniel J. Schuster, Daniel W. Paley, Raúl Hernández Sánchez, Fay Ng, Michael L. Steigerwald, and Colin Nuckolls. Chemical Science (2018).
  4. "Thermally persistent high spin ground states in octahedral iron clusters." Hernández Sánchez, Raúl, and Theodore A. Betley. Journal of the American Chemical Society (2018).
  5. "Electron Cartography in Clusters." Raúl Hernández Sánchez, Anouck M Champsaur, Bonnie Choi, Suyin Grass Wang, et. al.  Angewande Chemie International 57.42 (2018)
Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Swanson School of Engineering
PhD, chemistry, California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

The McKone group combines basic and applied research in experimental electrochemistry to advance promising technologies for sustainable energy and next-generation electronics. To this end, we are pursuing research projects related to electrochemical catalysis, battery energy storage, solar photochemistry, 2-dimensional semiconductors, and interdisciplinary chemical reaction engineering & design.

Our work draws on an interdisciplinary set of tools and expertise, including:

  • electroanalytical chemistry
  • colloidal, ceramic, and metallurgical materials synthesis
  • inorganic/organometallic chemistry
  • surface science
  • optical and x-ray spectroscopies
  • nanofabrication and characterization
  • engineering analysis and design
Most Cited Publications
  1. "Solar water splitting cells." Michael G Walter, Emily L Warren, James R McKone, Shannon W Boettcher, Qixi Mi, Elizabeth A Santori, Nathan S Lewis. Chemical reviews.
  2. "Nanostructured nickel phosphide as an electrocatalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction." Eric J Popczun, James R McKone, Carlos G Read, Adam J Biacchi, Alex M Wiltrout, Nathan S Lewis, Raymond E Schaak. Journal of the American Chemical Society.
  3. "Will solar-driven water-splitting devices see the light of day?." James R McKone, Nathan S Lewis, Harry B Gray. Chemistry of Materials.
  4. "Photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution using Si microwire arrays." Shannon W Boettcher, Emily L Warren, Morgan C Putnam, Elizabeth A Santori, Daniel Turner-Evans, Michael D Kelzenberg, Michael G Walter, James R McKone, Bruce S Brunschwig, Harry A Atwater, Nathan S Lewis. Journal of the American Chemical Society.
  5. "Ni–Mo nanopowders for efficient electrochemical hydrogen evolution." James R McKone, Bryce F Sadtler, Caroline A Werlang, Nathan S Lewis, Harry B Gray. ACS catalysis.
Recent Publications
  1. "Recent Insights into Electrocatalytic Reactions Under Exotic Conditions." James R McKone, Tejal Sawant, Rituja Patil, Evan V Miu, Dean Miller. 2019 AIChE Annual Meeting.
  2. "Hydrogen Evolution Electrocatalysis with Core-Shell Ni-Mo@ Oxides." Rituja Patil, Stephen House, Aayush Mantri, Judith C Yang, James R McKone. 2019 AIChE Annual Meeting.
  3. "Synthesis of an Alloy-Based Ni-Fe/C Catalyst for the Alkaline Oxygen Evolution Reaction." Margaret Orr, Rituja Patil, James R McKone. 2019 AIChE Annual Meeting.
  4. "Synthesis of Molybdenum Trioxide and Characteristics of HxMoO3 Bronze Formation." Rebekah Habeger, Evan V Miu, James R McKone. 2019 AIChE Annual Meeting.
  5. "Towards Efficient and Stable Nifeox Alkaline Oxygen Evolution Electrocatalysts." Jeffrey Hoffmann, Margret Orr, Rituja Patil, James R McKone. 2019 AIChE Annual Meeting.

Multidisciplinary Research Program of the University Research Initiative (MURI)

  • By Aude Marjolin
  • 22 March 2017

The FY 2018 MURI competition is for the topics listed below. Detailed descriptions of the topics and the Topic Chief for each can be found in Section VIII, entitled, “SPECIFIC MURI TOPICS,” of this FOA. Select topics include:

  • Integrated Quantum Sensing and Control for High Fidelity Qubit Operations
  • Novel Solid-state Materials and Color Centers for Quantum Science and Engineering
  • Controlling Protein Function Using Dynamic Chemical Switches to Modulate Structure
  • Nanoscale Vacuum Field Effect Transistors
  • Heterogeneous Interfaces: Route to New Optoelectronic Properties
  • Piezoelectric Nanoenergetic Materials with Adaptable and Tailorable Reactivity
  • β-Ga2O3 as a High-Critical Field Strength Material for Power Systems
  • Predicting and Validating Pathways for Chemical Synthesis
  • Advanced Optical Materials that Create Force from Light
  • Enhancing Thermal Transport at Material Interfaces