Professor Christopher’s research group focuses on heterogeneous catalysis and photocatalysis with interest in understanding fundamental aspects of active site characteristics and reaction mechanisms and applying these insights to the design of more efficient and sustainable materials and processes for chemicals and fuels production, as well as environmental protection. Catalytic processes are relied upon globally for trillions of dollars per year of industry. The conversion of oil to gasoline, transformation of natural gas and nitrogen into fertilizer, and conversion of un-burnt fuels into less harmful gasses in the tail pipes of cars all rely on solid state catalysts. Increasing demands for efficient, environmentally friendly chemical processes, in concert with the push to utilize emerging natural resources, rely on the development novel catalytic materials and processes for success. They use principles from chemical engineering, materials science, physical chemistry and solid-state physics to engineer catalytic reactions towards these goals. They develop molecular level insights into governing phenomena of catalytic reactions by coupling quantum chemical calculations with an array of experimental and characterization techniques. Mechanistic insights are utilized to guide the synthesis of catalysts with targeted geometries, compositions and architectures.
Professor Christopher is an alumni of the UCSB Chemical Engineering department, he received his B.S. from the department in 2006, and his M.S and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from University of Michigan in 2011. He joined the University of California, Riverside in September 2011 as an Assistant Professor with joint appointments in the Chemical & Environmental Engineering Department and Materials Science & Engineering Program. Professor Christopher has won various awards including the 2012 Young Scientists Award from the International Congress on Catalysis, 2014 Army Research Office Young Investigator Award, and 2016 NSF Early CAREER Award.
For more information about Professor Christopher's research, visit his website.