ryan M. richards
BA, Chemistry - Michigan State University
MS - Central Michigan University
PhD - Kansas State University
Postdoctoral Study - Max Planck Institute fuer Kohlenforschung, Germany
The interface of the fields of catalysis and nanoscale materials is one of the most exciting areas of modern science and is at the forefront of the quest for a sustainable future. Because the field of nanoscience is in its relative infancy and little is known about the size and shape dependent properties of nano-scale materials, potential applications are neither focused nor limited but rather require intensive and comprehensive investigation. The field of nanotechnology has generated a great deal of interest primarily because on this size scale numerous new and potentially useful properties have been observed. These size dependent properties include melting point, specific heat, surface reactivities, catalytic, magnetic, and optical properties. The Richards group is exploring the interface of nanoscale materials and catalysis by: 1) pursuing new methods to manipulate the preparation of metals, metal oxides and porous materials at the nanoscale to control porosity, surface faceting, size, shape and orientation; 2) examining the structure/activity relationships these materials exhibit; 3) apply the nano-engineered materials in a spectrum of industrially important catalytic reactions to determine how their properties affect the process; 4) combining in situ spectroscopy and modeling to gain mechanistic information; and 5) collaborate with theoreticians and other instrumental specialists to develop a theoretical understanding of the properties associated with preparing and applying these systems in catalytic processes.