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Richard L. Brutchey

Professor of Chemistry
Inorganic Chemistry

B.S., UC Irvine, 2000
Ph.D., UC Berkeley, 2005
Office: LJS 260
Phone: (213) 821-2554
Fax: (213) 740-0930
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Research Focus


Synthetic Methodology
Despite many decades of developments in the field of materials chemistry, there are still only a limited number of ways to synthesize functional materials –– the majority of which require highly energy- and capital-intensive conditions. As such, there is a need to develop new rational methodologies for the synthesis of functional materials under more benign conditions, much in the same way that organic chemists have developed a very extensive and diverse toolbox of bench-top reaction chemistry. The Brutchey Group is developing new synthetic routes to compositionally complex inorganic nanocrystals and thin films using low-temperature, high yielding, and scalable methods, and is subsequently studying the growth mechanisms, structure, and functional properties of these materials. Ultimately, our hope is that this will lead to a "materials by design" approach, whereby tailored materials can be rationally synthesized for particular applications.

Semiconductor Inks for Low Cost Thin Film Deposition
One way to lower the cost of semiconductor processing is to develop “inks” for the solution-phase deposition of semiconductor thin films. One possible way to do this is a dissolve and recover approach, whereby a bulk semiconductor is dissolved, solution deposited, and then recovered as a crystalline thin film via heating. However, most bulk metal chalcogenide semiconductors are completely insoluble in common solvents. We have discovered a solvent mixture of amines/thiols that dissolves bulk metal chalcogenides, elemental sources, and metal oxides in high concentrations at room temperature and ambient pressure. The resulting semiconductor inks can be inexpensively solution deposited (e.g., via spray coating) and heated to recover highly crystalline and phase-pure metal chalcogenide films. This chemistry is being applied to the fabrication of metal chalcogenide films that are comprised of Earth abundant elements that hold promise for solar cells, thermoelectrics, transistors, and electrocatalysts.

Multinary Nanocrystals for Energy Storage and Conversion
The Brutchey Group has developed rational methods to synthesize high-quality multinary nanocrystals, such as perovskites. We use synchrotron techniques to study the average and local structure of these nanocrystals as a function of their size and composition in order to develop structure-property relationships. Particular attention is being paid to modifying the surface chemistry of these nanocrystals and studying the effect of surface modification on their structure and functional properties. By controlling the composition and surface chemistry of the nanocrystals, we possess a fine level of control over the properties of the final material. Ultimately, these nanocrystals are being used for energy conversion, energy storage, and catalysis applications.

Selected publications


[70] McCarthy, C. L.;
Brutchey, R. L. Preparation of Electrocatalysts Using a Thiol-Amine Solution Processing Method. Dalton Transactions 2018, 47, 5137-5143.

[69] McCarthy, C. L.;
Brutchey, R. L. Solution Deposited Cu2BaSnS4–xSex from a Thiol-Amine Solvent Mixture. Chemistry of Materials 2018, 30, 304-308.

[68] McCarthy, C. L.; Downes, C. A.;
Brutchey, R. L. Room Temperature Dissolution of Bulk Elemental Ni and Se for the Solution Deposition of a NiSe2 HER Electrocatalyst. Inorganic Chemistry 2017, 56, 10143-10146.

[67] Kunal, P.; Roberts, E. J.; Riche, C. T.; Jarvis, K.; Malmstadt, N.*;
Brutchey, R. L.*; Humphrey, S. M.* Continuous Flow Synthesis of Rh and RhAg Alloy Nanoparticle Catalysts Enables Scalable Production and Improved Morphological Control. Chemistry of Materials 2017, 29, 4341-4350.

[66] McCarthy, C. L.;
Brutchey, R. L. Solution Processing of Chalcogenide Materials Using Thiol-Amine “Alkahest” Solvent Systems. Chemical Communications 2017, 53, 4888-4902.

[65] Barim, G.; Cottingham, P.; Zhou, S.; Melot, B. C.*;
Brutchey, R. L.* Investigating the Mechanism of Reversible Lithium Insertion into Anti-NASICON Fe2(WO4)3. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2017, 9, 10813-10819.

[64] Lu, H.;
Brutchey, R. L. Tunable Room-Temperature Synthesis of Coinage Metal Chalcogenide Nanocrystals from N-Heterocyclic Carbene Synthons. Chemistry of Materials 2017, 29, 1396-1403.

[63] Roberts, E. J.; Habas, S. E.*; Wang, L.; Ruddy, D. A.; White, E. A.; Baddour, F.; Griffin, M. B.; Schaidle, J. A.; Malmstadt, N.*;
Brutchey, R. L.* High-Throughput Continuous Flow Synthesis of Nickel Nanoparticles for the Catalytic Hydrodeoxygenation of Guaiacol. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 2017, 5, 632-639.

[62] Margossian, T.; Culver, S. P.; Larmier, K.; Zhu, F.;
Brutchey, R. L.*; Copéret, C.* Composition-Dependent Surface Chemistry of Colloidal BaxSr1–xTiO3 Perovskite Nanocrystals. Chemical Communications 2016, 52, 13791-13794.

[61] Lu, H.; Zhou, Z.; Prezhdo, O. V.*;
Brutchey, R. L.* Exposing the Dynamics and Energetics of the N-Heterocyclic Carbene-Nanocrystal Interface. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2016, 138, 14844-14847.

[60] Culver, S. P.;
Brutchey, R. L. Lanthanide-Activated Scheelite Nanocrystal Phosphors Prepared by the Low-Temperature Vapor Diffusion Sol-Gel Method. Dalton Transactions 2016, 45, 18069-18073.

[59] Cottingham, P.;
Brutchey, R. L. Compositionally Dependent Phase Identity of Colloidal CsPbBr3–xIx Quantum Dots. Chemistry of Materials 2016, 28, 7574-7577.

[58] McCarthy, C. L.; Downes, C. A.; Schueller, E. C.; Abuyen, K.;
Brutchey, R. L. Method for the Solution Deposition of Phase-Pure CoSe2 as an Efficient HER Electrocatalyst. ACS Energy Letters 2016, 1, 607-611.

Zhou, S.; Barim, G.; Morgan, B. J.; Melot, B. C.*; Brutchey, R. L.* Influence of Rotational Distortions on Li+- and Na+-Intercalation in Anti-NASICON Fe2(MoO4)3. Chemistry of Materials 2016, 28, 4492-4500.

[56] McCarthy, C. L.; Cottingham, P.; Abuyen, K.; Schueller, E. C.; Culver, S. P.;
Brutchey, R. L. Earth Abundant CuSbS2 Thin Films Solution Processed from Thiol-Amine Mixtures. Journal of Materials Chemistry C 2016, 4, 6230-6233.

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