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Bruce Koel

Bruce E. Koel

Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Undergraduate Departmental Representative

B.S., Chemistry, Emporia State University, 1976
M.S., Chemistry, Emporia State University, 1978
Ph.D., Chemistry, The University of Texas at Austin, 1981

Room: A311 Engineering Quad
Phone: 609-258-4524

Webpage: Koel Research Group

Honors and Awards

  • EaStCHEM Intern'l Visiting Fellowship lecturer, U. of Edinburgh & St. Andrews, Scotland 2008
  • George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry, Amer. Chem. Soc. (ACS) 2007
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2004
  • University de Paris-Sud, Professeur Invite', Orsay, France, 2001
  • Osaka Nat'l Res. Inst., AIST Guest Researcher Awards, Osaka, Japan, 1999 and 2000
  • Keynote Address, Brazilian Vacuum Society Annual Conf., Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, 2000
  • Fellow of the American Vacuum Society (AVS), 1999
  • Distinguished Alumnus of Emporia State University, 1998
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), 1996


Research Areas

Research Interests

“Life at the edge” - Surfaces are where the action is!

Our research involves investigating and understanding chemical reactions at surfaces. Interfacial processes and surface chemistry are at the heart of a wide range of technologies, including those associated with the chemical and petroleum industries, functioning of batteries and fuel cells, production of microelectronic devices, and design and fabrication of sensors and diagnostic devices. Surfaces play key roles in heterogeneous processes in environmental and atmospheric chemistry. By discovering novel methods to alter and control surface chemistry, we seek to develop new catalysts for specialty chemical synthesis, make advanced materials with novel properties, and build functional nanostructures. Surfaces are central to nanoscience and technology, modifying and controlling important properties of nanoparticles and electrical contacts. We employ a wide array of surface analytical techniques in our work, including scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), high-resolution X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (HR-XPS), low energy ion scattering (LEIS), and infrared reflection-absorption spectroscopy (IRAS).

Current research activities include: (i) structure and chemistry of alloy and oxide films at bimetallic Pt surfaces; (ii) characterization of active sites of heterogeneous catalysts for olefin metathesis; (iii) photochemistry at hematite surfaces for production of renewable hydrogen; (iv) in-situ high resolution studies of the solid electrolyte interphase layer in batteries; (v) surface-modified iron and iron oxide nanoparticles for enhanced remediation of U(VI)-contaminated groundwater; (vi) liquid metals as plasma-facing materials for fusion energy systems; and (vii) fundamental studies of deuterium retention in solid and liquid metals.

Other projects being started include: (i) catalysis by nanoparticles for sustainable hydrogen production from biomass; (ii) establishing the role of the electrode surface in solar-driven pyridine-catalyzed CO2 reduction; (iii) reactions at iron-enriched mineral interfaces and implications for catalytic oxidation of aqueous contaminants; (iv) plasmon-enabled chemistry; (v) fundamental studies of reactive processes at plasma-surface interfaces; and (vi) plasma-driven synthesis of nanomaterials.