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The University of Southampton

Dr Katherine B. Holt


Electrochemistry of Insulators

Image of Dr Katherine B. Holt
Dr Katherine B. Holt


Most of the time electrochemists are interested in redox processes that take place on the surface of conducting surfaces; however the focus of this talk is the electrochemistry of nonconducting materials, namely diamond and polystyrene. Using nanomaterials, which have a high surface atom to bulk atom ratio, allows us to investigate redox chemistry associated with the surfaces of these materials. By immobilising the materials onto the surface of electrodes we can determine, using voltammetry, the potentials at which they undergo oxidation and reduction. We also use in situ and ex situ IR spectroscopy and XPS to determine changes to the surface chemistry of the materials under different redox conditions. The motivation for this work is to understand the role of redox chemistry in the stability of these materials for their proposed applications. Additionally the mechanism by which insulating materials accumulate charge when they undergo electrostatic charging is still quite poorly understood and these investigations allow us to probe the feasibility of an electron transfer mechanism.


Katherine Holt is currently a Lecturer in Physical Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at UCL, where she undertakes research in electrochemistry. She studied for a PhD in the Characteristion and Application of Boron Doped Diamond Electrodes at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Prof John Foord. She then spent 2 years as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Texas at Austin working for Prof Allen Bard on several projects applying Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy. In 2004 she was awarded a Ramsay Memorial Fellowship to undertake independent research at UCL and this was followed in 2006 by a 5 year EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship. Her research group is currently composed of 1 postdoc, 5 PhD students and 1 MSc student and her research interests are quite diverse, ranging from catalysis (CO2 reduction, H2 generation), redox chemistry of insulating nanomaterials and redox chemistry of the cell.

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