• Dec 10th 2021  CREB Meeting

    Despite getting to work already a year ago, we finally get the green light to travel to Adelphi and College Park, Maryland to kickoff our latest major research project funded by the Army Research Laboratory (ARL). With high ambitions to rapidly and safely charge the well-established lithium-ion battery chemistries based on graphite and silicon anodes, we are joined by the likes of M. Stanley Whittingham, Esther Takeuchi, Chunsheng Wang, and Eric Wachsman, including five investigators from MSU. More details are given [here].


  • Dec 1st 2021  Howdy Charlie

    Charlie News Picture

    We are doubly grateful to welcome Charlie McDaniel, recent graduate of Evergreen State College, who will join Emmanuel as an incoming PhD student in our group. Charlie is many-talented and even more inquisitive, and looks forward to exploring one or more synthetic challenges in our group related to the high-temperature discovery of novel materials composed of p-block elements. Good luck Charlie!

  • Nov 29th 2021  Howdy Emmanuel

    Today we are delighted to announce the growth of our group by two new doctoral students. The first, Emmanuel Osuagwu, who originally hails from Awka, Nigeria, has taken a great leap of faith in order to pursue his interest in and hopefully sate some of his curiosities about ordered carbon framework materials. We look forward to your discoveries. Welcome to Montana!


    Emmanuel News Picture

  • Nov 20th 2021  SLAC Beamtime

    SLAC Logo

    We are very grateful to Nick Strange, project scientist at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, for carrying out experiments to measure the expansion and contraction of ZTC under high-pressure methane adsorption, a crucial issue for the integrity of ZTC monoliths under cycling. Dr. Strange will work his magic at [Beam Line 2-1].

  • Oct 27th 2021  Chevron Lecture

    Nick has been invited to present at an internal lecture series at the Chevron Technical Center focused on alternative energy carriers (to the oil and gas industry, "alternative" means "not fossil") as part of an effort to convert existing know-how (e.g., on zeolites, high-pressure processes, etc.) into lowering carbon emissions. This is something we seek to help Chevron and similar companies get serious about ASAP.

  • Oct 10th 2021  240th ECS Meeting

    Once again, we embark on a virtual journey in these strange times, this time to the [240th Meeting] of The Electrochemical Society (ECS). Wei and Nick will both be giving a talk in "Late News" symposia and our recordings will be available all week. "See" you there!


  • Sep 23rd 2021  AISES Annual Meeting

    For the next couple days, Nick will be participating in recruitment activities at the annual meeting of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). This venerable society aims to increase the representation of Indigenous peoples in STEM; we feel lucky to be invited to this gathering which we hope is the first of many more!


    AISES Meeting Logo

  • Sep 14th 2021  ORNL SEQUOIA Beamtime

    Today we embark on a week-long beamtime together with Rafael Balderas-Xicohténcatl (ORNL) and Ryan Klein (NREL) to measure inelastic neutron scattering on confined phases of adsorbed methane. Our experiment takes us to the [SEQUOIA] beam line at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This has been a long time coming (since 2012!) and we are excited to unravel some of the mysteries of methane-methane interactions on the surface of ZTC.


  • Aug 2nd 2021  Sayonara Aksiin

    Aksiin Poster Thumbnail

    So long, and thanks for all the fish! Aksiin had a very successful summer showing that biochar is an effective replacement for petroleum-derived conductive carbons in lithium-ion battery anodes. We wish you all the best, and no pressure, but there looks to be some materials science and electrochemistry in your future. We hope you stay in touch!

  • Jul 30th 2021  High Conductivity Biochar

    Manuscript accepted: we present a thorough study of the electrical conductivity of lignin-derived biochars, an area of research with a very wide range of reports demonstrating conductivities as low as that of damp wood and as high as that of weakly conductive metals such as manganese. Together with Seth Kane and Prof. Cecily Ryan, and with statistical analysis by Rachel Ulrich, our team sorts through the synthetic parameters that permit tunability within this wide range. Ultimately, biochars can be prepared via simple, low-energy routes that meet or exceed the conductivities of petroleum-derived hard carbons, widely used in electrochemical energy storage applications. More details can be found [here].


  • Jun 16th 2021  Methane Adsorption on B-/N-Doped Carbon Surfaces

    Manuscript accepted: we report high precision (to ~1 kJ/mol) calculations of methane binding interactions on porous carbon surfaces, especially to assess the effects of boron- and nitrogen-substitution within the solid-state lattice. A tiny little molecular [maquette] was chosen to represent a wide range of porous carbons, which we refer to as MPh. Great work Rylan! Check out the details [here].


    MPh Manuscript Thumbnail

  • May 24th 2021  Howdy Aksiin and Ryan

    Welcome Photos

    This week we welcome two new undergraduate researchers to the group: Aksiin Storer (from the University of Alaska Fairbanks) and Ryan Hinson (a student here at MSU). Aksiin is joining us with a summer fellowship from the REU program Next Generation Materials and Catalysts and Ryan is riding the wave (or is it more of a particle?) of his recent VPRED Scholarship funded by the Honors College. Both are tackling challenges in elucidating the mechanisms at play in important energy storage concepts: rapid charging of lithium-ion batteries and dense hydrogen storage by physisorption. Good luck guys!

  • May 15th 2021  Volumetrics of Hydrogen Storage: a Review

    Manuscript accepted: we review the state of research in the area of hydrogen storage by physisorption on porous solids, with a focus on zeolites (unlikely candidates), metal-organic frameworks (promising candidates), and porous carbons (questionable candidates, but with new insights gained by comparison with MOFs). This work is highlighted in a special issue of Inorganics entitled M-H Systems: Fundamental Properties and Current Applications for Energy Storage and Conversion. The details of our work, a collaboration with Dr. Sai Samantaray (a recent graduate of IIT Madras), can be found [here].


    Adsorptive Storage Schematic

  • May 9th 2021  ACS Northwest Regional Conference (NORM)

    ACS NORM Meeting Logo

    This week our entire research group (almost!) is traveling the interwebs to virtually attend the Northwest Regional ACS Conference [NORM]. Five of us will be giving poster presentations to start things off (including Jake in the undergraduate session), and then three of us will be giving short talks. This meeting is starting to become a tradition!

  • Apr 29th 2021  Farewell (nay, Awesome!) Kaitlin, Rylan, Seth, and Katrina

    This week we clean out the lab boxes of four all-star students: Kaitlin, Rylan, Seth, and Katrina. Well, a computer hard drive in Rylan's case... Nevertheless, it brings bittersweet sentiments as these students have practically defined our group for over three years.

    2021 Seniors 
    2021 Seniors
    Congratulations on your hard-earned degrees and many decorations! Though, this is just the beginning... We know you will fare awesome in the next chapter. Good luck, and we hope to see you somewhen soon!  
  • Apr 22nd 2021  Chemistry Awards

    A very earnest congratulations to our insatiable team of senior undergrads (Kaitlin, Rylan, Seth, and Katrina) who were not only decorated at this year's Departmental Awards Ceremony but who will also be graduating next weekend. Kaitlin is headed to Colorado, Rylan to California, and Seth to Illinois, all to do very great things in grad school and beyond. We wish you all the very best!


  • Apr 18th 2021  MRS Spring Meeting

    This week, Nick, Devin, and Seth are riding the virtual airwaves all the way to the Materials Research Society (MRS) [Spring Meeting]. Nick will be giving a talk on Wednesday morning, and Devin and Seth will be presenting poster talks on Sunday and Wednesday, respectively. We look forward to catching up with lots of friends and collaborators!


    MRS Meeting Logo

  • Mar 12th 2021  High-Density ZTC Monoliths

    High Density Porous Carbon Monolith

    Manuscript accepted: High-density porous carbon monoliths have been prepared by combining zeolite-templated carbon (ZTC), a uniquely soft 3D porous scaffold material, with reduced graphene oxide (rGO) as a binder (see [here]). The size-matching of the ZTC and rGO allows intimate contact between the particles and successful reduction of the void volume not used for adsorptive gas storage. Hence, such monolithic pellets not only have exceptional mechanical strength but also an anomalously high gas densification ability that make them very promising candidates for high volumetric hydrogen and methane adsorption applications. We are grateful to be a part of this international team!

  • Mar 2nd 2021  An Open Window

    As a teaser for things to come, we present the first test of our new window cell for the Sieverts apparatus, which we hope will shed visual and/or spectroscopic insight into structural transformations of high-density porous media under elevated pressure sorption conditions.


    High-Pressure Sample Holder

  • Feb 1st 2021  Redox-Enhanced Supercapacitors

    Manuscript accepted: Our collaboration with Yang Zhao (Stucky/Boettcher Groups) to understand the role of pore size in the behaviour of porous carbon electrodes in polyiodide redox-enhanced supercapacitors was published today, and can be found on the web [here]. Zeolite-templated carbon, our favourite porous carbon material, serves as an important model material for excluding the contribution of both ultramicropores and larger mesopores, allowing for the investigation of the effects of its 1.2 nm pore size on the retention of polyiodide species (an important aspect of self-discharge inherent to this chemistry). Great work, Yang!

  • Jan 8th 2021  First ChemRxiv Article

    Today we enthusiastically post a pre-print for our first manuscript submitted on the topic of theoretical studies of methane adsorption on porous carbon surfaces, a new foray (for our group) into the world of computational chemistry. The pre-print and complete supplementary information repository can be found [here]. Much more to come soon!


  • Dec 28th 2020  Electrochem Meeting #0001

    LixC6 Voltage Profile

    Our first electrochemistry meetings have been had! Wei demonstrated the functionality of our coin-cell fabrication and testing laboratory, and showed a textbook voltage profile for lithium intercalation into graphite. This famous experiment, generally first attributed to Rachid Yazami and colleagues, forms the basis of the negative electrode in the modern lithium-ion battery.

  • Dec 14th 2020  Green Flame

    Today we had some fun with our diborane/ methanol abatement product! Thanks to a lot of hard work, Devin's "Buddha" (boron-doping apparatus, BDA) is in full operation, enabling new synthetic routes to high boron-content graphitic materials. Sometimes there is a fine line between diligence and whimsy...


    Borane Combustion

  • Dec 10th 2020  NSF EPSCoR Fellowship

    NSF EPSCoR Logo

    Nick and Connor have been awarded an NSF Track IV EPSCoR Research Fellowship to visit and collaborate with the [Dincă Group] at MIT in Spring 2022. We plan to perform apples-to-apples comparisons of recent conductive metal-organic frameworks developed in Massachusetts and unique carbon-only framework solids in development in Montana, planting the seeds for the codevelopment of new materials for advanced electrochemical energy storage applications.

  • Nov 16th 2020  Howdy Wei

    We welcome, with great enthusiasm, a new member of our team and our group's first postdoctoral scholar: Dr. Wei Xu. Wei received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Nanchang University, and recently achieved his doctorate in materials chemistry from Oregon State University under the supervision of [Prof. Michael Lerner]. His expertise lies in the synthesis and characterization of novel cation intercalation compounds of graphite, and he will now lead three new projects spanning graphite, porous carbon, and silicon as electrode materials in advanced lithium-ion batteries. We are very grateful to have you here, Wei!


    Wei News Picture

  • Nov 1st 2020  Center for Research in Extreme Batteries

    Lightening Thumb

    Today, our group along with four other research groups at MSU get charged up with a sizable grant to found a new center for the investigation of next-generation batteries and electrochemical energy storage devices: the Center for Research in Extreme Batteries (CREB). This center, the first of its kind in our region, will be embedded within a larger collaboration with participants from UMD, NIST, and Argonne National Laboratory, among others. More information about this project can be found [here].

  • Oct 1st 2020  Phonon Dispersion Relation of BCx

    Manuscript accepted: we report a [novel approach] to the characteristic identification of extended BC3 flower-like subunits that make up the structure of crystalline BC3, a long sought-after material for both hydrogen storage and as a lithium-ion anode. This thorough investigation of the properties of boron-doped graphitic carbon serves as a road map in understanding the types and relative contributions from the different boron chemical environments accessible by the [direct synthesis route]. It turns out that a unique identifier for the presence of the most desired BC3 flowers is the flatter phonon dispersion of the D peak in the Raman spectrum, an easily measured property in the laboratory.


    Phonon Dispersion Thumbnail

  • Aug 14th 2020  65th Anniversary of the PRF

    ACS PRF Logo

    Our group has been highlighted in the [celebration] of the 65th anniversary of the ACS Petroleum Research Fund, a common source of seed funding for up-and-coming chemistry researchers whose interests pertain to petrochemicals (like methane). We are very grateful to count ourselves among this vibrant community of scholars!

  • Aug 1st 2020  A Quiet Summer

    As most research groups in the world, we are experiencing a rare summer of relative quiet. This time away from the laboratory is allowing us to remain grounded at home in Montana, organize our thoughts, plan future experiments, and write up our work. We are excited to get back to work this fall with new precautions in place. Stay tuned, and stay healthy out there!


    Montana Landscape

  • May 14th 2020  Physisorption Visualized

    Electron Density Difference Map

    The approach of an adsorbate molecule to a surface is accompanied by a change in the electron density of both the adsorbent and the adsorbate. For nonpolar molecular adsorption on carbon surfaces, this is the physical culmination of the weak but ubiquitous phenomenon known as London dispersion forces. Recent calculations by Rylan Rowsey and our (growing!) computational team have shed unprecedented insight into the role of these weak forces in the storage of small molecular fuels: hydrogen and methane. We look forward to publishing the results soon. In the meantime, we cannot help but share an animation of the electron density difference plot corresponding to methane (the “lander”) adsorption on a molecular maquette of porous carbon known to us as MPh (the “surface”). Red indicates a region of higher density, and blue indicates a region of lower density upon adsorption. Enjoy!

  • May 8th 2020  So Long Hans


    It is time to bid farewell to the first Montanan member of our group, Hans Swenson, who joined right off the bat in the early days of 2017. With barely an instrument in the brand new laboratory, Hans set to commissioning our automated Sieverts apparatus for a very challenging series of experiments - to measure the extent of helium adsorption on microporous carbons at room temperature. This work culminated in an undergraduate thesis, recently submitted as part of Hans's graduation from the Honors College. Congratulations Hans! We look forward to having you as an alumnus guest at future raclette suppers and wish you all the very best in your applications to graduate school in the fall.

  • Mar 24th 2020  Atomistic Structures of ZTC: a Review

    Manuscript accepted: we review the ~10 atomistic models reported to date for FAU-ZTC, the archetypical variant of one of our lab's favourite materials (zeolite-templated carbon). Importantly, some recent models have devolved to be less accurately representative of real-world ZTCs, an issue we endeavour to bring directly to light in this work. We hope to emphasize that while schwarzite is a fascinating hypothetical material, ZTCs are still far from exhibiting the fundamental criteria to be considered as such today. For all of the details of Erin's hard work, and the full collection of CIFs for your own personal amusement, see [here].


    ZTC Models Thumbnail

  • Feb 19th 2020  Howdy Connor

    Connor News Picture

    This week we are very excited to add Connor Welty to the group, a recent graduate of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Connor originally hails from Portland, Oregon and already has experience under his belt in the design and testing of electrochemical cells for energy storage. He currently wears the cap of "blossoming electrochemist" as we build up capability in this important field at MSU. Welcome on!

  • Feb 14th 2020  Howdy Dalton

    With great enthusiasm, we announce that our group is growing once again! Dalton Compton, originally from Boise, Idaho, has jumped on board in a very crucial role: to commandeer the high-pressure Sieverts apparatus on a mission to perform all-important measurements of gas adsorption equilibria. We expect (and look very forward to) much thermodynamic modeling to ensue! May Clapeyron be with you!


    Dalton News Picture

  • Jan 13th 2020  Howdy Sophie, LeeAnn, and Demetrius

    Happy new year! We are excited to welcome several new students to the group. In addition to Anna Stewart who will be working on an Honors Research Fellowship over the next year, we give a warm welcome to Sophie Randak and LeeAnn Strand who will be kick-starting a completely new project on the Raman spectroscopy of forensic-relevant hydrocarbons (e.g., fingerprint oils). We also extend a warm welcome to Demetrius White who will be synthesizing and analyzing large single-crystal zeolites. We are certainly busy, and look forward to a year filled with curiosity and discovery.


  • Dec 13th 2019  Congrats Anna


    At the same time as we welcome Anna Stewart to our group, we also congratulate her on the remarkable achievement of being awarded an Honors Research Fellowship sponsored by the Vice-President of Research. Anna has proposed to synthesize a balanced gyroidal aluminosilicate material with optimal pore size for carbon deposition in preparation for the synthesis of novel carbon foams with underlying surfaces of high symmetry. We look forward to working with you. Happy end of the semester, and see you next year!

  • Dec 9th 2019  YOUR 2020

    We are all looking very forward to next year's "Year of Undergraduate Research" (YOUR) and it is especially exciting to see Seth's research featured in the latest issue of [Mountains & Minds]!


  • Nov 9th 2019  DOE CTORA Project

    This weekend Nick is off to Golden, Colorado to mark the kickoff of a new research project funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) of the US Department of Energy (DOE). That is a lot of "Energy"! This project, referred to by our group as "CTORA", is aimed at hydrogen and natural gas storage in commercial, farming, and mining vehicles, which currently account for a large share of overall greenhouse gas emissions in the US. More information about the award can be found [here].



  • Oct 15th 2019  100 Years of Langmuir

    Chalkboard Langmuir Theory

    The cover of the current issue of Langmuir was designed by our very own Erin Hanson to commemorate the (slightly belated) centennial anniversary of Langmuir's equation for interfacial adsorption. We have tried to imagine what Langmuir's own chalkboard might have looked like had he measured gas adsorption isotherms on MOFs instead of glass, mica, and platinum. For more information about the cover, see [here], and for a review of Langmuir's legacy on the science of interfaces, see [here].

  • Oct 5th 2019  Borohydride Discussions

    This week, Nick and Devin are traveling (just next door!) to an international gathering on the topic of borohydride chemistry in Whitefish, Montana. While the gravimetric and volumetric energy density of this class of materials is undoubtedly high, the complex reaction pathways to release and absorb hydrogen are still being unraveled, and the role of impurities is ever important. Nick will present his work on the [supercritical N2 purification] of γ-Mg(BH4)2.


    Billiards Dodecaborane Logo

  • Oct 3rd 2019  Magnesium Ion Storage in ZTC

    MIBs Schematic

    Manuscript accepted: we report the rapid, high-capacity storage of Mg2+ ions in bare zeolite-templated carbon (ZTC) as the cathode of a robust full-cell based on a Mg(B(HFIP)4)2 electrolyte. Neat magnesium metal serves as the anode, and the remarkable stability of this newly discovered electrolyte allows for a high average discharge voltage of 1.44 V and excellent capacity retention over hundreds of cycles. See more details about these battery-like devices [here].

  • Sep 10th 2019  Howdy Eddie

    This week we are very excited to welcome Eddie Kelly, an undergraduate engineer, to our research team. Eddie will focus on the synthesis of zeolites, a well-known class of microporous crystalline silicates with fantastic sorption and catalytic properties. These materials will serve as sacrificial templates for a new class of materials composed of electrically conductive carbon, extending their applications to lightweight electrodes for next-generation batteries (e.g., as [here]). We think the sacrifice is well worth it, and are glad to have you on board!


    Eddie News Picture

  • Sep 6th 2019  Adios (Til Next Time) Grace

    Box of Sample Vials

    We wish Grace all the best as she heads back to California to start another semester at Caltech and write up her final report after a very fruitful SURF project in our laboratory. This summer, Grace managed to synthesize over fifty samples in ten short weeks! This is a new record for the laboratory, and we have a manuscript in formulation to boot. We have a strong suspicion we will be seeing more of you soon!

  • Aug 28th 2019  Nifty Ampules

    Of many interesting things happening this summer, an especially innovative technique developed in our group as of late is to deposit a protective layer of carbon on the inner walls of quartz ampules prior to sealing. Check these out! Bravo, Grace and Devin.


    Carbon-Coated Ampules

  • Jul 26th 2019  Fun Run 5k v2.0

    Quartz Art

    The second annual Chemistry and Biochemistry 5k Fun Run was a blast! On a clear and sunny Bozeman afternoon, we took to the trails just south of campus for a diversely paced jaunt in the woods to get some fresh air (and to see which research group has the fastest legs, of course). This year, the Grumstrup Group took home the trophy, with Bukuru Anaclet leading the way. Emma Dolen lifted the trophy for the women's category, representing the Broderick Group. Nice work Bukuru and Emma! Photos of the run and subsequent BBQ can be found [here].

  • Jul 1st 2019  GRC: Hydrogen-Metal Systems

    Today Nick is giving a talk at the [Gordon Research Conference] on Hydrogen-Metal Systems in Castelldefels, Spain. We are very excited to report preliminary results on hydrogen absorption by bulk boron-doped graphitic carbon, an unusual binding of H2 that remains poorly understood. We are joined by former group member Emanuel Billeter and we managed to squeeze a nice lesson on XPS physics out of him for our video group meeting this week. Thanks Emanuel!


    Gordon Research Conference Logo

  • Jun 20th 2019  Howdy Grace

    Grace News Picture

    This summer we welcome Grace Suenram into our laboratory, an undergraduate in mechanical engineering at Caltech, as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship [SURF] program. Grace is carrying out difficult experiments to extend the boundaries of the metastable graphitic region of the Al-C phase diagram. She is already wickedly adept with the hydrogen torch, and we look very forward to seeing her progress!

  • Jun 16th 2019  ACS Northwest Regional Conference (NORM)

    This week, Nick, Erin, and Devin are traveling to the Northwest Regional ACS Conference [NORM] in Portland, Oregon. Nick will be giving an invited talk in the Chemistry of Renewable Energy session on Tuesday afternoon (with a special tasting by Chris Hendon, also known as [Dr. Coffee]), and Erin and Devin will be presenting posters. We look very forward to talking science and catching up with lots of friendly faces!


    ACS NORM Meeting Logo

  • Jun 3rd 2019  REU: Next Generation Materials and Catalysts

    REU Program Logo

    It's time to kick off the latest incarnation of the summer research program for undergraduates in chemistry at Montana State University, aptly titled as [REU: Next Generation Materials and Catalysts] (sponsored by the National Science Foundation). Sharon Neufeldt serves as director, and Nick as co-director. For more information on our program, take a look [here].

  • May 22nd 2019  University of Maryland, College Park

    Today Nick is visiting the Institute for Physical Science and Technology [IPST], hosted by Prof. Pratyush Tiwary, to give a talk and discuss homogeneity as a guiding principle in materials design for energy storage applications. We are particularly excited to be interacting with some prolific scientists in the area of measurements of adsorbate-adsorbate interactions on surfaces, which play a key role in homogeneous adsorptive energy storage systems.


    Institute for Physical Science and Technology

  • Apr 19th 2019  Ultrafast Dual-Ion Batteries

    DIBs Schematic

    Manuscript accepted: dual-ion batteries (DIBs), based on the simultaneous insertion of cations and anions at the anode and cathode, respectively, have been prepared and characterized using ZTC as the bare cathode material. In the model system tested herein, potassium plating/stripping occurs at the anode, while bis(fluorosulfonyl)imide (FSI-) adsorbs/desorbs on the surface of ZTC at the cathode. The use of a permanently porous cathode material has significantly increased the power density of such DIBs while maintaining state-of-the-art energy density. Check out the details [here].

  • Apr 5th 2019  USP Trifecta

    Congratulations to Seth, Abby, and Russ for an incredible triple success at securing [USP] funding for the upcoming summer. Seth will be switching from high-pressure hydrogen to methane, Abby will be exfoliating graphitic materials using a series of liquid solvents, and Russ will be exploring the direct bulk synthesis of CDCs by a novel solid-state route. We are excited for the snow to melt and give way to the green Bozeman summer, and plenty of new results!


  • Mar 30th 2019  Expanding Your Horizons

    We had a great time hosting ~50 young scientists in our laboratory this weekend, investigating the greenhouse effect and a possible solution for carbon dioxide capture using porous adsorbent materials. We proudly carry out this work as part of the [Expanding Your Horizons] Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to sparking and/or stoking an interest in science and engineering in junior-high and high school girls across Montana. Thank you Erin for being an excellent teacher and role model to these future investigators!


    Science Outreach Demonstration

  • Mar 26th 2019  Langmuir: a Centennial Review

    Irving Langmuir

    Manuscript accepted: our feature article reviewing the contributions of Dr. Irving Langmuir to the theory of adsorption has been published. Congratulations to Hans who helped significantly with the writing and research, especially in scrutinizing the large body of pre-1900 literature that is written almost entirely in German and French. We gratefully acknowledge Cory Simon and Arni Sturluson who contributed to the statistical mechanical derivations, as well as Erin Hanson who contributed her artistic talents. Learn more about the fascinating life and work of Langmuir [here].

  • Feb 10th 2019  Research Expansion Fund

    We are very grateful and excited to receive a Research Expansion Fund (REF) award from the Office of Research and Economic Development to support our work on [phosphorus-doped graphitic carbon], a new bulk material containing a high concentration of unoxidized phosphorus. This material has promising applications in electrochemical energy storage and conversion technologies, and we are looking forward to carrying out the next phase of its investigation.



  • Jan 23rd 2019  Congrats Seth and Dylan

    Congratulations to both Seth and Dylan for writing excellent proposals and receiving a full semester of [USP] funding. Seth is set up to investigate the high-pressure hydrogen storage properties of graphitic carbons containing varying concentrations of heteroatom dopants, especially B and N. Dylan is working on the technicolour synthesis of boron-doped graphitic carbon via a (somewhat troublesome) top-secret precursor, and will take a shot at "cracking" its code. Good luck guys!


  • Jan 10th 2019  Howdy Izzy

    Today we are very excited to announce that our group has grown yet again! We welcome Izzy Gordon from Penn State University to the team. Izzy will be focused on the synthesis and properties of carbon-phosphorus materials, with an emphasis toward electrochemical energy storage applications. May the wind be ever at your back!


    Izzy News Picture

  • Dec 10th 2018  Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

    Tohoku Logo

    Today Nick is visiting the [Kyotani Laboratory], hosted by Prof. Hirotomo Nishihara, to give a talk and discuss carbon-based framework materials for advanced applications ranging from gas storage to supercapacitors and hybrid electrochemical energy storage devices. We are extremely grateful for this learning experience and warm hospitality shown by our hosts.

  • Dec 7th 2018  TANSO, Nagoya, Japan

    Nick is giving a talk at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Carbon Society of Japan today about our latest results regarding new highly porous electrodes for dual-ion batteries. We are very grateful to [TANSO] for the invitation. This is both a highly stimulating meeting and an amazing cultural exchange.


    Carbon Society Meeting

  • Nov 9th 2018  Congratulations Katrina

    Katrina Thumbnail

    We are thrilled that Katrina Sandoval has been selected as a Presidential Emerging Scholar to continue her work on crystal growth, specifically toward large single-crystals of X- and Y-type zeolites. What a fantastic honour - and this is just the beginning! More information about this unique award can be found [here].

  • Oct 22nd 2018  Hans Gets the Quattro

    Congratulations to Hans for securing his fourth (4th!) round of [USP] funding, to continue his dedicated research into the elusive adsorption of helium on porous carbon materials. We are very excited for the next several months of this work, and the submission of our first manuscript to Langmuir.


    Hans Again

  • Oct 12th 2018  New Materials Cookin'

    Graphitic Carbon

    With incoming graduate student rotations well underway, we are excited to report (well, tease) the discovery and synthesis of a new compound. We're now headed back in the direction of electron-poor, heteroatom-doped graphitic phases with all sorts of interesting potential applications in energy storage and catalysis. Much remains to characterize and understand here, but we promise to give an update ASAP. Well done, Devin and Izzy!

  • Sep 27th 2018  ERI Annual Meeting

    Devin and Nick gave talks at this year's Energy Research Institute (ERI) meeting, with the main theme being new chemical routes to tuning the energy storage characteristics of graphitic carbon, both for gas storage (especially methane and hydrogen) as well as electrochemical energy storage (in capacitive batteries). Montana has a bright future (literally!) for solar energy, but clever storage concepts will be a key part of the overall solution. We are grateful to be involved in the discussion!


  • Sep 14th 2018  IWPMA, Pretoria, South Africa

    Nick is giving a talk at the International Workshop on Porous Materials and their Applications (IWPMA) today about our group's efforts to design and synthesize carbon framework materials with homogeneous structure and composition: zeolite-templated carbon (ZTC). This approach may just be a promising route to obtaining the elusive three-connected, negatively curved fullerenes carrying minimal surface topology known as Schwarzites, but much work remains to be carried out... In the meantime, we continue to employ ZTC in several new applications, especially as fast and high-capacity battery electrode materials. We are very grateful to [CSIR] for the invitation.


    Zeolite-Templated Carbon

  • Aug 27th 2018  Langmuir's 100th

    Adsorption Theory

    One hundred years have passed since the publication of Irving Langmuir's third installment in his classic trifecta of papers we refer to internally as [Langmuir 1916], [Langmuir 1917], and [Langmuir 1918]. Together, these works birthed the multifaceted field of surface science that comprises such hugely important subdisciplines as heterogeneous catalysis and porous materials science. Our group is indebted to both the theoretical and experimental cleverness of this work, and we still plunge deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole a century later. This week we celebrate. Happy centennial!

  • Aug 2nd 2018  Farewell Serge

    Well, Serge, you really made an impact on our group in a short period of time. We are both excited for you to start a daring new adventure in Urbana-Champaign and sad to miss out on the day-to-day good humour, dedicated work ethic, and clever workarounds you demonstrated here. Rest assured, with your experiments as a strong foundation we will continue to forge ahead (no pun intended!) in our efforts to tame the disordered heteroatom-doped graphites you've lent your time and steady hands to over the last year. All the best et bon voyage!


    Serge Farewell Picture

  • Jul 27th 2018  5k Fun Run

    Quartz Art

    The inaugural Chemistry and Biochemistry 5k Fun Run is officially on the books! As much as we all love to spend time in the lab, on this classic summer Friday afternoon we took to the trails just south of campus for a pleasant jaunt in the woods to see which research group has the fastest legs. This year, the Pincus Group took home the trophy, with Mark Raymond leading the way. Nice work Mark! More photos can be found [here].

  • Jul 16th 2018  Howdy Emily

    We are very excited to be joined this summer by Emily Morley, a seasoned veteran of undergraduate research on high surface area, functional materials, on loan for the summer from Idaho State University as part of the REU program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Emily is turning her attention here to the thinnest allotrope of pure carbon, graphene, and its very recently developed little brothers, highly-doped phosphorus- and boron-containing graphene. Happy ripping, Emily!


    Emily News Picture

  • Jul 4th 2018  Second (Annual!) Fourth Float

    Canoeing the Yellowstone

    Hans and Serge successfully navigate the Yellowstone below the Yankee Jim rapids, taking a well-earned lazy day off from the lab. Emily R. (+Jacob), Devin, Julie (+Ben), and Michael float somewhere out of frame... Happy Fourth of July!

  • Jun 22nd 2018  Phosphorus-Doped Graphitic Carbon

    Manuscript accepted: we report a fast, cheap, and simple new synthesis route to high phosphorus-content graphitic carbon, PCx, directly from two liquid precursors (benzene and phosphorus trichloride). This material is produced in bulk form (as opposed to as a thin-film) permitting its use in batteries or as an electrocatalyst. Interestingly, stabilized white phosphorus (P4) also exists in some form in all of the materials we make by this route, which opens up all sorts of interesting paths forward! Check out the details [here].


    PCx Manuscript Thumbnail

  • Jun 11th 2018  First Grant Received


    We are grateful to receive our first seed of support in the form of a [Petroleum Research Fund (PRF)] grant from the American Chemical Society. This work seeks to investigate the role of heteroatom dopants in advanced porous carbon adsorbents designed for high-pressure methane storage near ambient temperature. The fire has been stoked!

  • May 25th 2018  Kaitlin Nails It

    Congrats to Erin and Kaitlin G. who are officially producing pristine FAU-type zeolite-templated carbon (ZTC) on our custom low-pressure CVD apparatus. And, for Kaitlin, on the first try (with a little help from Erin...) no less. We're cookin' with gas, literally! Stay tuned for all sorts of new applications for these ultraporous carbon framework materials...


    Zeolite-Templated Carbon

  • Apr 26th 2018  Undergraduate Awards

    Hearty congratulations to our well-decorated team of undergrads (Kaitlin B., Kaitlin G., Seth, Hans, and Rylan) who cleaned up at the Awards Ceremony this warm Thursday evening, and especially to Kaitlin B. who will be graduating next weekend. We wish you all the best. It's now so close to the best time of the year, and we anticipate an action packed summer of research and adventures in the local playground that is southwestern Montana.


  • Apr 11th 2018  Helium and Hans

    He Adsorption Isotherms

    Hans has been hard at work trying to measure the unmeasurable: helium adsorption on carbon surfaces. Since helium is used as the quintessential probe molecule to determine void volume, its adsorption cannot be quantified in the usual way. The goal of this work is to determine the temperature at which void volume measurement is unambiguously possible, and then to deduce helium adsorption at lower temperatures by comparison (early isotherms shown at left). Hans's hard work has recently paid off in the form of additional funding from the [USP]: well done Hans, and keep up the good work!

  • Mar 16th 2018  Open Access

    Our two articles from 2017 were recently opened up to free public access. Zeolite-templated carbon was demonstrated as a battery electrode material in an aluminum-chloride-based electrochemistry, and a new synthetic route to boron-doping of bulk graphitic carbon up to ~BC3 was reported. Check them out [here] and [here].


    Article TOC Figures

  • Feb 16th 2018  Hydrogen & Energy Symposium

    Nick is giving two talks today, one in the morning at the 2018 Hydrogen & Energy Symposium at EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland) and one in the afternoon at the Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry (ETH Zürich, Switzerland). Both talks broadly cover our group's work on heteroatom inclusion in porous and bulk graphitic carbon materials to enhance hydrogen uptake at ambient temperature.


    Swiss Hydrogen Fueling Station

  • Feb 11th 2018  Congrats Serge

    Serge News Picture

    Serge Zvenigorodsky has been notified of his successful application for funding from the [Undergraduate Scholars Program] for his work on synthesizing and processing heteroatom-doped graphites directly from liquid precursors. So far, Serge has developed a great hand for quartz working, and is off to a fast start with several custom-blown contraptions for heat-treating his lightweight graphitic flakes under flowing atmospheres. Happy torching!

  • Jan 24th 2018  Howdy Erin and Daniel

    Today we are very excited to welcome Erin Hanson and Daniel Arenas to the group. Erin will be focusing on the synthesis of zeolite-templated carbon, ordered porous materials at the very limit of high surface area and volumetric microporosity. Daniel will tackle adsorption measurements and fundamental investigations of unusual adsorbed phases far from the realm of ideality. We are very lucky to have you guys and can't wait to get started - welcome to the team!


    Group Photo 2018

  • Jan 1st 2018  Happy New Year

    Sun Poking Through Forest

    Our first year is over, and what a blast it has been! So far, we managed to build up a solid foundation in the laboratory for future work: we installed a Schlenk line and hydrogen torch for graphitic carbon synthesis, three furnaces, and a custom CVD apparatus. Commissioning of the CVD for templated carbon synthesis continues. Our 3-Flex hums along and the custom Sieverts apparatus is in the final stages of construction. Most importantly, we are in the process of preparing three manuscripts of which two are authored by undergraduates. Our hard work will be starting to pay off soon!

  • Dec 7th 2017  Diboranerator

    We'll be keeping our diborane supply fresh and very cold with the latest custom contraption: Devin's Diboranerator (or, better yet, Diboreezer). Step-by-step instructions for building your very own diboranerator available upon request!


    Diborane Freezer

  • Nov 12th 2017  Undergraduate Research Is Humming

    We welcome six new undergraduate researchers to the group this semester to carry on or start new projects in energy storage, materials chemistry, and adsorption modeling/theory. Kaitlin B., Seth, Serge, Dylan, Allen, and Kaitlin G. Welcome aboard!


  • Oct 24th 2017  Buddha

    Reactor Build

    Today we received and unpacked the main components of our next big project: a supercritical boron-doping apparatus (BDA, hereafter christened as "Buddha"). We are both excited and in awe at this monstrosity... What have we done!? We'll be adding pictures to the build gallery [here].

  • Oct 11th 2017  Congrats Hans

    We are excited to announce that Hans Swenson will be receiving funding from the [Undergraduate Scholars Program] for his work on measuring helium adsorption in porous carbons. Hans started in our group over the summer, building a thermostat for high-temperature experiments and learning how to measure nitrogen adsorption isotherms. Helium is a bit of a trickier guest... we look forward to seeing the results.


    Hans News Picture

  • Oct 6th 2017  Tschau Emanuel

    Emanuel Billeter

    We wish Emanuel all the best as he leaves Montana, first for warmer adventures down south, and then to return home and finish up his Master's thesis. During his stay, it is safe to say that he discovered a new class of binary P-C compounds with some pretty fascinating, still not fully clarified properties, which will be reported in a manuscript to be submitted shortly. We can also safely say: holy cow, that guy learned how to fly fish! Thank you for all the hard work and leadership you showed in our fledgling (now functioning) laboratory. Happy trails (and streams), we hope to see you again soon.

  • Sep 12th 2017  The LPCVD is Online

    We are now back in the templated carbon business! Our custom-designed, low-pressure CVD apparatus is fully operational, thanks in huge part to a hard summer's work by in-house trained, certified space plumber Michael Laase. Check out pictures of the build as it progressed [here]. Those are some fine pipe bends, Mike! We would be remiss to neglect the contributions by Andrew Wilson in the way of systems control, all wrapped up in a neat little Labview package - many thanks to both of you. Now, let the baking begin...


    Collage of CVD Pics

  • Sep 1st 2017  Cheers Andrew

    Andrew Wilson

    All good times must end. We were lucky to steal Andrew away from Oxfordshire for the summer, but alas, the real world calls him back to more fitting employment, using his powers for far greater projects than our humble laboratory here at MSU. And what a summer it has been! Thanks for all your hard work, Andrew, and we wish you all the best back home. The satisfying mechanical click of opening and closing valves will remind us of your witty mark on this group, long after you leave.

  • Aug 20-24 2017  ACS Fall Meeting

    Emanuel and Nick triumphantly returned from a full week of conferencing in the United States capital. We presented our latest work related to the direct (i.e., quick 'n easy) synthesis of boron- and phosphorus-doped graphitic carbon, and otherwise indulged in great food and conversation. Check out our abstracts [here] and [here].


    ACS Fall Meeting Poster

       ACS Fall Meeting Supper

  • Aug 11th 2017  "See You Later" Aziz and Jack

    We don't say goodbye, but rather "see you later" to Aziz and Jack as they head home after a very fruitful summer of research. Aziz learned to code in Python and developed a script for modeling adsorption isotherms and calculating the thermodynamic properties of the adsorbed phase. We are very excited to have a working tool for future experimental adsorption investigations at MSU, and even developed a new model along the way - we hope to report that model in a manuscript later this year. Jack successfully made graphene via the Scotch tape method and kicked off a new direction of research in our group with impressive and unexpected results. Thanks for being part of a very memorable summer guys!


  • Jul 27th 2017  Lab Opening Party

    Organized Tool Box

    We celebrated the hard work of everyone involved in setting up the new lab space by inviting the department to come by and take a look at our new toys (ahem, scientific instrumentation). By now, we are fully up and running in synthesis (thanks largely to Ryan, Emanuel, and Michael) and modeling capabilities (thanks Aziz!), Devin and Emanuel are cooking up lots of graphites, Julie and Jack are busy destroying them (the graphites), Hans is driving the 3-Flex daily, and Andrew already has the new CVD apparatus all rigged up for automated experiments. Keep up the awesome work! Check out our picture gallery [here].

  • Jul 5th 2017  Howdy Andrew

    Andrew Wilson, Labview and computer-speak extraordinaire, has joined us for two months to serve as the interpreter between human and machine in the new lab, as we barrel ahead with construction and commissioning of the CVD setup and the Sieverts apparatus (v3.0). Andrew finished his studies toward an MS in Physics at Cambridge in 2013, then served as a software engineer for several years, and has recently taken a permanent post as a software systems engineer at the Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire, UK. We are very lucky to have such a well-qualified scientist on hand to propel our new laboratory into operation!


    Andrew News Picture

  • Jul 4th 2017  First (Annual?) Fourth Float

    2017 Group Canoe Trip

    Devin and Emanuel successfully navigate the Madison into the Missouri, taking a well-earned lazy day off from the lab. Michael floats on his back somewhere out of frame... Happy Fourth of July!

  • Jun 14th 2017  Summer Begins: Howdy Aziz, Hans, Jack, and Michael

    We round out our summer research team by adding four undergraduate researchers, all with lots of energy to tackle projects and break new ground in topics related to energy storage materials made primarily of carbon. Aziz Fahad (Chem. Eng., 2018) is already well underway in developing some new code to calculate and analyze thermodynamic potentials from measured gas adsorption data, and is also known to cook an absolutely mean kebab. Hans Swenson (Chemistry, 2020), who also moonlights on the fiddle in a local bluegrass band, is interested in adsorption experiments and has now become the de facto MSU expert on micropore structure and high surface area characterization. Jack Buckner (Chemistry, Math, 2018) comes to us all the way from Carleton College for the summer, and spends his days ripping apart graphites into atomically thin graphenes; so far, Jack has shown to have a thunderous hand at bowling but we suspect he has many more tricks up his sleeve... Lastly, we are joined by Michael Laase (Geology, 2018), both a climber and a legitimate rock enthusiast, who has put his careful mind to the task of constructing and commissioning the two (!) new custom CVD apparatuses for templated carbon synthesis. Welcome aboard guys!


  • Jun 6th 2017  Now In Technicolor

    New Graphites with Colour Patches

    The latest syntheses have yielded a somewhat unexpected novelty: colour. More details to follow soon!

  • May 15th 2017  Howdy Devin

    Our group continues to grow as we are joined by Devin McGlamery, a pre-graduate student who will begin studies toward a Ph.D. in the fall and who brings a summer research fellowship to boot. Devin is focusing his current efforts on the synthesis of novel heteroatom-doped carbon materials and the effects of their reaction conditions on various high-temperature, corrosion-resistant alloys using electron microscopy. When the work bell rings, Devin heads to the nearby hills and can be seen soaring into the long summer evenings in his paraglider - perhaps the perfect place to reflect on a hard day's work in the lab.


    Devin News Picture

  • May 8th 2017  We're Cookin'

    Quartz Ampules

    Research is ramping up as we get our synthetic efforts underway, starting with high temperature, closed-ampule reactions in the new chamber furnace. So far, so good! The project is still "top secret," but let's just say we are roaming around the periodic table and looking for creative solutions...

  • Apr 14th 2017  Howdy Emanuel

    Our group begins to form in earnest as we are joined by Emanuel Billeter (from ETH Zürich) who is undertaking his Master's thesis research here at Montana State University. Emanuel brings extensive experience in all manner of chemical synthesis techniques (most recently, in exploring [heteroatom-doped graphites]) and an impressive hand at foosball, and we look very forward to having him here for the next half-year.


    Emanuel News Picture

  • Mar 30th 2017  Good Luck Ryan

    Ryan Dragoman

    As quickly as he arrived, Ryan is off to bigger things: adventuring in Nepal and medical school, among others. We wish him all the best! The lab sure looks great and we count the following new functionalities to his hard work: an oxy-hydrogen torch and Schlenk line, a pristine, argon-loaded glovebox, all sorts of gas and vacuum manifold, and a fully-equipped workshop with a drill press and diamond buzz saw. We're going to miss you Ryan!

  • Mar 11th 2017  Boron-Doped Graphitic Carbon

    Manuscript accepted: we report an exciting new synthesis route to high boron-content graphitic carbon directly from two simple, cost-effective, liquid precursors (benzene and boron tribromide). The resulting material, which we refer to as BCx' (where x can be tuned between 3 and infinity) is more ordered and chemically homogeneous than any other bulk boron-doped carbon material prepared by a low-temperature route (<2000 degrees C). Check out the details [here].


         BCx' Manuscript Thumbnail

  • Mar 8th 2017  Group Meeting #0001

    Adsorption Data

    The first meeting of our small but growing group has been had! Ryan demonstrated the functionality of our nifty new Micromeritics 3-Flex adsorption apparatus, and discussed the first round of data collected in the lab. Lo and behold, Henry's Law has been verified (for nitrogen physisorption on porous silica at 295 K)!

  • Feb 16th 2017  Howdy Ryan

    Our first official group member, Ryan Dragoman joins us as a guest researcher on interim between Master's studies at ETH and bright futures elsewhere. The lab is shaping up in a hurry - great work!


    Ryan News Picture

  • Feb 14th 2017  Spark Award Top 20

    Award Image

    We have been notified that our European patent application entitled "Boron-Doped Graphitic Carbon" has received special mention as being in the top 20 inventions filed by ETH Zürich in 2016!

  • Jan 30th 2017  ZTCs in Aluminum Batteries

    Manuscript accepted: we report a new "aluminum battery" based on microporous zeolite-templated carbon (ZTC) as the cathode material, a unique demonstration of an intentionally high surface-area electrode material in a high energy density electrochemical cell. Check it out [here]. This work continues in our laboratory at MSU.



  • Jan 11th 2017  First Proposal Submitted!

    Well, that was a whirlwind of a first week! We sure started with a bang. An application for funding of Major Research Instrumentation for studies of high-pressure adsorption measurements has been submitted.

  • Jan 6th 2017  Unpacking Mayhem

    Opening boxes.

    And we're off!

    Furnaces, turbo pumps, a new torch, a glovebox, and an automated Sieverts from Micromeritics have arrived. It's like Christmas all over again.

    So who wants to help unpack? ;)

  • Jan 3rd 2017  Hello Bozeman

    It's crisp, cold, and brilliantly sunny: classic Montana weather, perfect for the welcome "home." Now let's get started, we have a lot to do!


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