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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.


Electrochemistry, molecular electronics, fuel cells, batteries, electrocatalysis


  • Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Graduate Fields

  • Chemistry and Chemical Biology


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.