Richard Brutchey, assistant professor of chemistry, was recently lauded for his work as a researcher by ChemComm, a leading chemical sciences journal published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
ChemComm named Brutchey a 2012 Emerging Investigator, a distinction that recognizes top chemical sciences researchers in the early stages of their careers. He was among 64 researchers from around the world selected for the honor in the journal’s Feb. 1 Emerging Investigators Issue.
In addition to the honor, the paper “Local structural distortion of BaZrxTi1–xO3 nanocrystals synthesized at room temperature” written by Brutchey and USC Dornsife researcher Federico Rabuffetti of chemistry was published in the issue.
The paper outlines a sustainable method for the synthesis of a type of complex materials called perovskite nanocrystals. The process maximizes the dielectric constant of the material, which allows an energy storage unit such as a capacitor to store a greater amount of energy per unit volume.
Brutchey said that the accolade was especially meaningful since it also highlights the research conducted by the students in his laboratory.
“It’s an honor for me and for my students. It’s really recognizing their hard work,” Brutchey said.
Brutchey’s research at USC Dornsife focuses on the synthesis, surface chemistry and applications of inorganic nanocrystals for solar energy conversion and energy storage. His team of researchers develops materials, such as perovskite nanocrystals and semiconductor nanocrystals, with the potential to make high-energy density capacitors and solar cells for applications such as powering electric vehicles.
“Our research not only focuses on functional materials that are useful for alternative energy technologies, but we are also placing a high value on developing ways to make these materials in environmentally friendly and sustainable ways. We hope that our work will impact future alternative energy technologies, such as the next generation of high-energy density capacitors,” Brutchey said.
Brutchey was also recently presented with a Raubenheimer Junior Faculty Award. The award is the highest bestowed to faculty in USC Dornsife, recognizing outstanding achievements in scholarship, teaching, and service.
Dani Byrd, vice dean for faculty, presented Brutchey with the award. She noted that since arriving at USC in 2007, Brutchey has received four grants and published more than a dozen peer-reviewed manuscripts in high impact journals, including selections for journals’ Most Read lists.
“Since joining USC Dornsife, Richard has built a world-leading lab, bringing together an active research group exploring inorganic nanoscience and technology,” Byrd said.
Brutchey was noted for using new media tools, such as Twitter, to disseminate his group’s research and share chemistry news with his peers.
Brutchey said that he enjoys getting students excited about new frontiers of chemistry.
“What I enjoy most is having undergraduate and graduate students come into the lab and start working on problems that they’ve come up with, and then come up with their own solutions,” he said.
“Seeing them go through that process, and seeing them develop as scientists, is the most rewarding thing as a faculty member.”