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Héctor D. Abruña

Emile M. Chamot Professor

173 ST Olin Lab

Educational Background

  • PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1980
  • MS, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1976
  • BS, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1975



The Abruña Group focuses on the development and characterization of new materials using a wide variety of techniques for fuel cells, batteries, and molecular assemblies for molecular electronics.

Research Focus

Our research effort takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of electrochemical phenomena. We employ electrochemical techniques as probes of a variety of chemical systems, and we use other techniques such as x-ray based methods, differential electrochemical mass spectrometry, in-situ FT-IR, scanned probe microscopies, scanning electrochemical microscopy, low temperature conductance and spectroscopic techniques to address problems of electrochemical interest.  Current areas of research include:

1.  Fuel cells:

•  The use of ordered intermetallics, such as BiPt for the electrocatalytic oxidation of formic acid, methanol, ethanol and other small organic molecules of potential utility as fuels in fuel cells.

•  Use of Differential Electrochemical Mass Spectrometry (DEMS), in-situ FT-IR in for mechanistic studies related to fuel cells.

•  Development of in-situ TEM techniques for the study of fuel cell and battery materials

2. Electrical Energy Storage (EES): Batteries and Supercapacitors

•  Computational screening synthesis and characterization of organic molecules for EES

•  In-situ testing of battery systems using in-situ x-ray based technique (XRD, EXAFS, XANES)

•  Lithium/sulfur batteries

3.  Molecular electronics:

•  The synthesis of nanometric building blocks and their use in molecular electronic devices.

•  Transport measurements using mechanical break junctions and break junctions made through electromigration

•  Investigations of graphene as an experimental electrochemical platform

•  Surface diffusion and surface dynamics on single-layer graphene using scanning electrochemical microscopy.


Electrochemistry, molecular electronics, fuel cells, batteries, electrocatalysis


  • Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Graduate Fields

  • Chemistry and Chemical Biology