ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY, ELECTROCHEMISTRY
(CHEM 498, CHEM 499H)
Possible to start undergraduate research as early as after passing CHEM210
Dr. Petr Vanęsek
Northern Illinois University
Department of Chemistry
Room: LaTourette Hall 418
DeKalb, IL 60115-2862 (U.S.A.)
Telephone: (815) 753-6876
Facsimile: (815) 753-4802
We are interested in properties of interfaces that form between two
phases in contact, either as a solid/liquid interface or as immiscible liquid phases such
as water and oil. The primary focus is on electrochemistry of such interfaces. Although
electrochemistry is considered a part of analytical chemistry, our projects involve all
five branches of chemistry--analytical, in sensor and methods design; biological, in
studies of biologically active substances; inorganic, in studies of metal extraction
mechanisms; organic, in investigation of electrochemical properties of organic compounds
and in synthesis or organic conductors; and ultimately, in physical chemistry, which, of
course, is the basic principle of all electrochemical research.
Many projects available for the undergraduate research projects are in
the area of physical electrochemistry, electroanalytical chemistry and electrical
properties of materials, which can be completed within the limited time available for the
undergraduate research, can be pursued. Main interest of our research group is in the
study of the interfacial structure, in ion and charge transport, and in modeling of
transport through pores and channels. Modern electrochemistry is quite active in this
field which is called the electrochemistry of microdomains.
Example of an applied research project is corrosion study of aluminum
alloys. We know aluminum as a shiny metal that usually tarnishes only very little. But it
also suffers corrosion, which can be difficult to see and can be sometimes very dangerous,
as aircraft engineers will attest. If you look closely at the "alloy"
wheels available on some cars, and see what salt did to them after a few winters, you will
also notice some damage. In our laboratory we will take samples of aluminum alloys and
study conditions that promote or inhibit corrosion. A computer collects most of the data
and the experiment can often run, unattended, overnight.
The cost of corrosion to the society is estimated to be almost 10% of
the gross national product. Although corrosion of aluminum, typically an inert metal, has
much smaller share in this expense, it has come recently to the front of attention of
corrosion specialists. There is in existence very good paint system for aluminum aircraft,
both civilian and military. However, one of its components, ion of chromium, was declared
environmental hazard and this type of corrosion protection is no longer available and so
far, there is not an adequate alternative. Since corrosion is inherently part of
electrochemical studies, we became recently involved in several aspects of corrosion,
realizing the timeliness and importance of such work.
Advanced methods of electrochemistry are used in the research;
potentiometry, cyclic voltammetry, impedance measurements, signal noise analysis and
optical measurements using fiber optics and light deflection techniques. Results are
usually evaluated using a personal computer. Word processing equipment with a laser
printer is also available for writing the honors thesis and research manuscripts.
Although undergraduate students are encouraged to participate in work
complementing the current projects, the projects do not have to be confined strictly to
electrochemical applications. Even studies in materials science can be pursued. The
optical measurements are suitable to people interested in non-electrochemical aspects;
studies on microinterfaces comprise a new and fast developing field of analytical
chemistry. Active participation in an ongoing research is encouraged so that the work will
produce a quality publication in a scientific journal. Work experience in our laboratory
will prove helpful in pursuit of admission to a graduate school.
The students will be responsible for their own attendance and for efficiently using
their time in the laboratory to accomplish their work. The students should seek help from
the faculty and other students in the laboratory. The research and teaching schedules of
the faculty are very busy - you should not expect input from the faculty if you do not
The above research is possible either as part of CHEM498 or CHEM499H,
for credit and grade, or for independent research, supported by the professor, if funds
498. RESEARCH (1-6). Individual study of a problem in experimental work or
theory. Includes instruction in the use of the chemical literature and the delivery of
research presentations. May be repeated to a maximum of 12 semester hours.
Written report required each semester. PRQ: Consent of department.
499H. RESEARCH (1-3). Same as CHEM 498, but for honors students.
Last updated: 13 September 2006
Placed on this web from another location: 24 August
Last revised: 04 December 2009 09:18
© Petr Vanęsek
new electrons were used while creating this page.