Sheela Berchmans, CSIR-Central Electrochemical Research Institute chief scientist.

Guest post by: Sheela Berchmans, chief scientist at the CSIR-Central Electrochemical Research Institute

Sheela Berchmans has been an ECS member since 2012 and member of the Organic and Biologic Division and India Section since 2019. Berchmans’ areas of expertise include microbial fuel cells, nanomaterials for sensor applications, bio-assisted synthesis of metal nanoparticles, and electrocatalysis. Read her past work, available now in the ECS Digital Library.

Follow the latest research on electrocatalysis at the 235th ECS Meeting taking place on May 26-30, 2019 in Dallas, TX.

Electrocatalysis assumes a special importance as the applied potential at the electrified interface provides a tunable ∆G to the rate component. ∆G consists of a chemical and a electrochemical component (e-∆G0/RT e-F∆/RT), where the electrochemical component provides a leverage to control the rate of reaction. For simple nonbonding reactions, the rate of the reaction can be expressed as a function of work function of the metal catalyst. However, when bonding reactions are concerned, the adsorption of the reactants at the electrode surface determines the rate of the reaction. For eg, we take into consideration, Hydrogen evolution reaction, (HER) a typical prototype of electrochemical reaction.

The following reaction steps determine the rate of the reaction. The first step involves the proton discharge on the electro catalyst (Volmer reaction) which desorbs either through an electrochemical desorption (Heyrovsky reaction) or chemical desorption from the electrode surface as H2 gas. (2nd and 3rd steps) This reaction is known to be highly exothermic in nature.


Focus Issue on Electrocatalysis

Deadline Extended!

David Cliffel and Thomas Fuller, Technical Editors,
Minhua Shao, Guest Editor

invite you to submit to the

Journal of The Electrochemical Society
Focus Issue on:

Electrocatalysis — In Honor of Radoslav Adzic

Submission Deadline | August 1, 2018

Radoslav Adzic, senior scientist emeritus at the Brookhaven National Laboratory

Radoslav Adzic, a senior scientist emeritus at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, has made numerous important contributions to the community of electrocatalysis since the 1960s. This focus issue of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society is organized to celebrate Dr. Adzic’s great achievements. Contributions are solicited for all aspects of electrocatalysis. The following areas are of particular interest:


Johna Leddy door plaqueECS Vice President Johna Leddy is an established researcher in electrochemical power sources and a highly respected mentor to the students of the Leddy Lab. Always the educator, Leddy’s most recent side project was creating a door plaque that explains her research to those passing by at the university (see below). The Venn diagram pictured on right is featured (click on it to expand). Leddy explains herself:

The Venn diagram is a map of my research at the current time. Energy and electrocatalysis are at the center and various things evolve from there. Largely, we focus on unusual ways to electrocatalyze reactions that are important in energy generation and storage.

The unusual means of electrocatalysis include: introduction of micromagnets on the electrode to increase rates of electron transfer; use of ultrasound in a thin layer to activate the electrode surface; and modification of electrodes with algae to make ammonia.

At the edges of the Venn diagram are places where these fundamental studies are implemented in energy technologies and voltammetric analysis. The bottom ring is a list of the tools that we use. It all ties together: theory and fundamentals to experiments to devices and back to theory. Experiments inform theory and devices, that lead to questions that generate more experiments.


Cyborg Roaches Advance Science


Photographs of Blaberus discoidalis (A), the transmitter circuit (B) and of a quarter coin (C) to compare the scales involved.

While browsing through the vast array of Open Access articles that ECS hosts in its Digital Library, one title in particular caught our eye here at headquarters.

I mean, it is pretty hard to ignore an academic article titled “Wireless Communication by an Autonomous Self-Powered Cyborg Insect.

The article, published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society by researchers from Case Western Reserve University (one of the authors is ECS Board of Directors Senior VP Dan Scherson), details – to put it simply – how a cyborg cockroach can generate and transmit signals wirelessly.