Life in the Lamp Lab
My research interests are in the areas of surface design and electroanalytical chemistry. Electroanalytical techniques are based on the oxidation and reduction of species in solution and hold promise in the sensor arena because they are relatively straightforward, robust, and cost-effective. Many of the challenges in electrochemical measurements center on the ability of the technique to distinguish one analyte from another. Most of our projects are aimed at improving this “selectivity” for electroanalytical measurements. Specifically, we are interested in the design and characterization of modified electrode materials with locally tunable chemical and electrochemical activity. In these projects, students working with with me attempt to “build in” some selectivity by controlling the chemistry that occurs on portions of the sensor surface. Such surfaces will be useful in enhancing the selectivity of electrochemical devices and will have importance in the design of miniaturized sensors. In order to construct and characterize these surfaces, it is critical to be able to study their local reactivity with fairly high spatial resolution. As a result, we are also very interested in the development of techniques that allow spatial and chemical characterization of such interfaces. To address some of these concerns, we have constructed a scanning electrochemical microscope, capable of “mapping” the activity of a surface at micrometer (10-6 m) resolution.