Department of Chemistry

College of Letters & Science
Kyoung-Shin Choi

Email address: kschoi@chem.wisc.edu

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Choi Group
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B.S., 1993, Seoul National University
M.S. 1995, Seoul National University
Ph.D., 2000, Michigan State University
Postdoctoral Research Associate at University of California, Santa Barbara, 2000-2002

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Research Description

Our research employs electrochemistry as the primary synthetic tool to fabricate a variety of solid-state materials as thin-film type electrodes and catalysts. These materials are designed for use in electrochemical and photoelectrochemical cells that produce fuels, building block chemicals, and clean water using renewable energy sources (i.e. solar, biomass). Our expertise in electrochemical synthesis has allowed us to develop numerous novel strategies to design and optimize electrode compositions and architectures to improve the electrochemical, photoelectrochemical, and catalytic properties of a wide range of materials. We focus on both obtaining an atomic level understanding and enhancing the efficiency of electrode materials, with the overall goal of bridging the gap between chemistry and engineering.

Solar Fuel Production

One of our core research areas is the development of photoelectrochemical cells for solar fuel production. The photoelectrochemical cells we develop include solar water splitting cells for H2 production and solar N2 reduction cells for NH3 production. This project involves the synthesis and analysis of photoanodes, photocathodes, hydrogen evolution catalysts, N2 reduction catalysts, and oxygen evolution catalysts. Optimization of the interfaces between photoelectrodes and catalysts is also a critical research area. Our combined expertise in electrochemical synthesis and solid-state chemistry enables us to make distinctive contributions to the development and understanding of photoelectrodes and catalysts.

Electrochemical and Photoelectrochemical Biomass Conversion

The use of electrochemistry and photoelectrochemistry facilitates innovative strategies and pathways for biomass conversion (i.e. coupling of (photo)electrochemical water reduction with oxidative biomass valorization) that are not possible using conventional methods. We are developing various novel processes and catalysts for both oxidative and reductive biomass valorization. In addition to making a practical impact on the production of fuels and building block chemicals via biomass conversion, we are interested in obtaining an atomic level mechanistic understanding of various electrochemical reactions that occur on electrode surfaces. Our goal is to form a general foundation to use electrochemistry and electrocatalysts for a broader range of organic reactions.

Electrochemical and Photoelectrochemical Desalination and Water Treatment

Recently, we initiated another new project that focuses on electrochemical desalination and water treatment (e.g. chloride removal from wastewater). As access to fresh water becomes an increasingly serious global issue, developing desalination methods that can reduce both the cost and carbon footprint of desalination is a critical challenge facing our society. Using our expertise in electrochemistry, electrochemical synthesis, and the construction of electrochemical devices, we are developing novel electrochemical and photoelectrochemical strategies that can achieve desalination and wastewater treatment efficiently and practically while minimizing negative environmental impacts. We are particularly interested in developing new processes and devices that can simultaneously address issues related to fresh water scarcity and energy generation/storage, such as desalination batteries.

Awards and Honors

University of Wisconsin-Madison Vilas Associate Award 2016
Camille and Henry Dreyfus Environmental Chemistry Mentor 2015
Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation Innovation Award 2015
Associate Editor, Chemistry of Materials 2014
Chair for Electrodeposition, Gordon Research Conference 2014

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