ChEMS Seminar: Synthesis and Characterization of Zintl Phases and Ge Nanocrystals for Thermoelectrics and Photovoltaic Applications

Susan Kauzlarich
McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium (MDEA)
Susan M. Kauzlarich
Department of Chemistry
University of California, Davis
Davis, California 

Abstract: There are many areas of science where progress is materials limited. The synthesis and identification of new compounds that can lead to enhancements in existing technologies, or serve as the basis of revolutionary new technologies, is essential for developing new and improved technologies. Two different research concepts will be presented, highlighting novel bulk and nanostructure materials for energy: Zintl compounds and Ge nanoparticles. Zintl compounds can be described by a combination of ionic and covalent bonding, composed of electropositive cations which donate electrons to the more electronegative components that utilize the electrons to form various bonding motifs. My group has focused on Zintl compounds for their structural, chemical, and electronic properties and I will present research on Zintl phases for thermoelectric applications such as waste heat to electrical power conversion. Microwave assisted synthesis has gained popularity over the last decade for the preparation of a variety of inorganic nanocrystals primarily due to its clean and energy efficient nature. Recently, we have focused on the preparation of Group IV semiconducting nanoparticles (Ge) targeting applications in the field of photovoltaics. We have developed a simple approach for the preparation of crystalline Ge nanoparticles with control on size by microwave assisted heating. I will present our efforts to probe the electronic properties of the Ge nanocrystals as a function of their size.

Biography: Susan Kauzlarich received her B.S. degree from the College of William and Mary and her Ph.D. from Michigan State University. Following postdoctoral work with John Corbett at Iowa State University, she joined the faculty of the University of California, Davis in 1987, where she is currently a distinguished professor of Chemistry. She is a world-renowned expert on Zintl phases and the synthesis and characterization of nano-materials, with interests ranging from magnetic resonance imaging to thermoelectrics. Kauzlarich is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society and a recipient of the 2013 Garvan-Olin Medal from the American Chemical Society and the Mayer Distinguished Scholar Award from Argonne National Laboratory. She has received a NASA Tech Brief Award for her work on new materials for thermoelectric power generation. She has published over 280 peer reviewed articles and several patents. She has been active in service to the profession: she currently serves as an associate editor for Chemistry of Materials and on the Editorial Advisory Board for the Handbook on the Physics and Chemistry of the Rare Earths. She recently served as the Vice-Chair/Chair of the Solid State Chemistry Gordon Research conference (2012-2014). She was the faculty assistant to the Dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and now is the Chair of Chemistry at UC Davis and an active member of the steering committees for the Women’s Research and Resource Center, Women in Science and Engineering, and on the Faculty Advisory Committee for the Center for the Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Science (CAMPOS). Previously she was an associate editor for the Journal of Solid State Chemistry, a member of the Editorial Board of Inorganic Chemistry, chair of the ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry, and the Review Board for Research Corporation. She has been recognized in many ways for her outstanding mentoring of students, including receiving from President Obama the 2008 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math and Engineering Mentoring.