Prof. Alexis T. Bell
University of California Berkeley
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Dow Professor of Sustainable Chemistry
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Faculty Senior Scientist, Chemical Sciences Division
Professor Bell is presently the Dow Professor of Sustainable Chemistry at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California Berkeley. He studies reaction mechanisms in order to identify factors limiting the activity and selectivity of catalysts. Reaction systems being investigated by his group include the synthesis of oxygenated compounds from COx (x = 1, 2), the conversion of alkanes to olefins and oxygenated products under oxidizing conditions, and the reduction of nitric oxide under oxidizing conditions. The objectives of his program are pursued through a combination of experimental and theoretical methods. Spectroscopic techniques, including IR, Raman, NMR, UV-Visible, and EXAFS, are used to characterize catalyst structure and adsorbed species under actual conditions of catalysis. Isotopic tracers and temperature-programmed desorption and reaction techniques are used to elucidate the pathways via which catalyzed reactions occur. Quantum chemical calculations are conducted to define the structure and energetics of adsorbed species and the pathways by which such species are transformed. The combined use of theory and experimental methods enables the attainment of a deeper understanding of the core issues of interest than can be achieved by the use of either approach alone.