Allen Reed

Allen Reed

Allen Reed, is a Chemistry Master’s student currently supported by the NSF KY EPSCoR (Membrane Pillar-PI-Dr. Dibakar Bhattacharyya) program. His research advisor is Dr. Doo Young Kim. As a student in Chemistry in his home town of Bowling Green, Kentucky, chemistry was his best/favorite subject. He realized very early that science allowed him to solve problems and by high school he was taking Advanced Chemistry and Physics.  Allen’s interest in chemistry guided him and gave him the chance to blossom through his research. He pursued that interest as an undergraduate in pre-pharmacy. And, without hesitation decided he did not want to be behind a pharmacy counter. Chemistry and Physics courses was where he turned his whole career goals; since as he said he had a true dedication for Chemistry. He said, “Research brought the logical part and the hands-on created results and together that was gratifying.” Allen had the honor to be a part of the Physics Club and the Future Solving Academic Team as he progressed through his schooling. He attended his undergrads at the University of the Cumberlands with a BS in Chemistry. Two years before coming to the University of Kentucky he got married.

In February 2015 he attended an annual meeting of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency RE3 as well as he presented a poster on his research at the KY EPSCoR in June.

Allen is second author on a submitted paper entitled “N2/Ar Plasma Induced Doping of Ordered Mesoporous TiO2 Thin Films for Visible Light Active” and is working on two other thin film and photo catalysis papers.  Allen’s description of his research is as follows:    The biggest problem facing widespread use of renewable energy can be described by one word: storage. For example, the sun gives us plenty of energy when it is shining, but what about when it is dark? If we can develop more reliable, efficient and cost effective forms of energy storage, we can solve this problem. In collaboration with Dr. Rankin’s group in chemical engineering, the primary focus of my research in Dr. Kim’s group is using plasma treated TiO2 thin films for electrochemical energy storage. In particular, we focus on hydrogen production from water via photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting and energy storage devices called supercapacitors. In PEC water splitting, energy from the sun is harnessed to split water into its two composing elements, hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can be harvested and later used for energy. In order for this process to work, a catalyst is used to lower the required energy for the reaction to occur. Our focus in this area is using nitrogen plasma to treat TiO2 films to make an efficient and low cost catalyst for this reaction. Supercapacitors are energy storage devices which have a much higher power density than batteries and a higher energy density than standard capacitor. They are particularly useful in complimentary applications to batteries when a lot of energy is required in a short amount of time. In our lab, we study the effect of hydrogen plasma treatment on the capacitive performance of our TiO2 films.