Héctor D. Abruña is an internationally recognized leader in electrochemistry and analytical chemistry. He is best known for pioneering the development of operando techniques for the study of electrochemical interfaces with emphasis on X-ray based methods, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and differential electrochemical mass spectrometry (DEMS). Abruña, a native of Puerto Rico, earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1975. He completed his graduate studies with Royce W. Murray and Thomas J. Meyer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1980 and was a postdoctoral research associate with Allen J. Bard at the University of Texas at Austin. After a brief stay at the University of Puerto Rico, he moved to Cornell in 1983. He was Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology from 2004-2008. He considers the students and post-docs that have been part of his group as his most important achievement.

Research Interests

Our research efforts take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of electrochemical phenomena. We employ electrochemical techniques as probes of a variety of chemical systems, and have developed operando methods based on X-rays, transmission electron microscopy, differential electrochemical mass spectrometry and others to address problems of electrochemical interest. Our current research interests are focused on the design, synthesis and characterization of high performance materials for fuel cells and batteries.
We have developed highly active electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) based on core/shell structures with ordered intermetallic cores and metallic shells and are currently exploring the development of electrocatalysts for the ORR and HOR (hydrogen oxidation reaction) in alkaline media. We have carried out extensive operando studies of Li/S batteries and have-emphasized the use of organic-based materials for electrical energy storage applications.

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Primary Section

Section 14: Chemistry