The Burgess Research Group

The Burgess Research Group

About

Electrochemistry is of great value and importance to anthropogenic activity and the global economy. Electrical power sources including batteries, dye-sensitized solar cells, fuels cells and supercapacitors all rely on electrochemical transformations to generate electricity. Furthermore, many industrial processes use electrocatalytic reactions to manufacture valuable commodity chemicals and materials. 

The funding for our fundamental research arises from NSERCDiscoveryCollaborative Research and Development Grants, and Engage Grants.

Our research also has an applied focus with particular emphasis supporting Canada's mining industry. We are currently collaborating with the International Mineral and Mining Institute to develop better corrosion mitigation strategies in Potash mining environments. We have previous collaborations with theSylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear InnovationVale CanadaENPAR Technologies and Cameco.

Metal Nanoparticle Stabilizers

Did you know? 
Capping agents can also direct the growth of nanoparticles

Understanding the adsorption behaviour of the ligands used to stabilize metal nanoparticles is essential for rational crystal growth and design. We use electrochemical methodologies to fully characterize how physisorbed ligands behave on electrified metal surfaces.For example, dimethylaminopyridine (DMAP) is an excellent ligand for producing water-soluble, Au and Pd nanoparticles yet, until our studies, very little was known about how it adsorbs on 2D and 3D gold surfaces. We are exploring the sensitivity of nanoparticle stability to changes in the state of DMAP adsorption ([pdf-available][pdf-available], [pdf-available]) and how the crystallographic dependent adsorption of DMAP leads to the formation of anisotropic gold nanoclusters [pdf-available]. We have recently extended these studies to include the adsorption behaviour of cationic surfactants on low-index surfaces of gold and their role in controlling nanoparticle morphology and size anisotropy. [pdf-available]This work has been reviewed in a book chapter “Investigations of Capping Agent Adsorption for Metal Nanoparticle Stabilization and the Formation of Anisotropic Gold Nanocrystals” in Nanopatterned and Nanoparticle-Modified Electrodes of the series Advances in Electrochemical Science and Engineering, Vol 17, R. Alkire, PN. Bartlett and J. Lipkowski editors, Wiley-VCH, Publisher, Weinheim. Accepted June 1st 2016.

Synchrotron Infrared Spectroscopy

Did you know? 
Synchrotrons are sources of high-brilliance IR radiation

The very bright light produced by a synchrotron extends beyond x-rays and well into the infrared region of the electromagentic spectrum. Although lower in flux compared to a benchtop source, synchrotron IR (SIR) is highly collimated meaning more radiation can be focused to smaller sizes compared to a globar. The high brightness of SIR, available from the mid-IR beamline at the Canadian Light Source, is ideal for studying spectroelectromicroscopy of fast electrochemical processes produced at ultramicroelectrodes. We have advanced the technique to achieve microsecond time resolution [pdf-available] and are now developing new methods to provide surface enhancement. The excellent spatial resolution (diffraction limited) also allowsspectroelectromicroscopy studies of cellular processes such as neurotransmission. [pdf-available].

Charge transfer across monolayers and bilayers

Did you know? 
Protons and electrons participate in electrochemical charge transfer reactions

Charge transfer in SAMs. In this project we explore how the adjustment of an applied potential can be used to drive charge transfer processes at monolayer modified electrodes. This includes protonation events where the electric field drives the protonation and deprotonation of a monolayer of mercaptobenzoic acid. [pdf-available]. Similarly, we are actively investigating the thermodyanmics and kinetics of electron transfer in self-assembled monolayer systems. An aminobenzoquinone system has been constructed which exhibits nearly ideal Nernstian behaviour allowing us to probe proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) [pdf-available].

Surface Enhanced Infrared Spectroscopy

Did you know? 
You can perform IR spectroscopy of monolayer concentrations.

Surface Enhanced Infrared Absorption Spectroscopy (SEIRAS). We are extensively using SEIRAS for studies related to monolayer systems. In-situ IR provides molecular information that can be correlated to the electrical variable characterizing the metal surface. This is highly valuable for determining molecular orientation and chemical functionality. We have used SEIRAS to probe the adsorption of pyridine derivatives [pdf-available], lipid bilayers [pdf-available]and to study potential-induced changes in monolayer films due to redox reactions. We combine SEIRAS with rapid-scan and step-scan techniques to measure the kinetics of potential-triggered events at electrode surfaces.

Mining

Did you know? 
Corrosion costs Saskatchewan Potash Producers $10 million annually.
We have previously worked extensively with Vale Canada to study the active dissolution of Ni in electroplating enivornments [pdf-available]. Our work has provided key new insight into the parameters that affect the amount of residue that causes costly maintenance shutdowns in commerical electroplating plants. On the basis of this work, we have entered into a new colaborative effort with the International Minerals Innovation Institute to study concrete corrosion mitigation strategies.