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ChBE seminar- Dr. Rebecca Welbourn, ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, UK “Expanding the Physical Chemist’s Toolbox for a Greener Future: Neutron Reflectometry” (Xiao Su Host)

Event Type
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
124 Burrill Hall
Jun 23, 2023   2:00 pm  
Rebecca Dawson
Originating Calendar
Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering - Seminars and Events

Abstract: Working to become sustainable can take many forms, from small changes to existing systems to new, disruptive technologies. Increased efficiency, reduced waste, and a shift to greener energy sources are all important aspects of sustainability, and it is critical to improve understanding in these areas to progress.

In most of these systems, the interaction of a surface and its surroundings determines the behavior or response. However, because only a small percentage of atoms can interact at the surface, they can be challenging to study, requiring specialized techniques with selective or enhanced sensitivity to surface signals. Neutron reflectometry is a technique that is highly sensitive to interfaces, suitable for a wide range of applications, and particularly effective for investigating in-situ and operando processes.

In this talk, I will give a brief overview as to why neutrons are a helpful tool and show a few examples of my work using neutron reflectometry to investigate short and long-term approaches to sustainability. I’ll present examples of working to improve lubrication performance and efficiency of internal combustion engines, developing an understanding of the next generation of biologically-based photovoltaics, and showing results from experiments into atmospheric aerosol oxidation, demonstrating their importance in climate modeling.

Bio: Dr. Rebecca (Becky) Welbourn graduated with a Master’s in Natural Sciences (specializing in Chemistry) from the University of Cambridge. She then completed a Ph.D. in Surface Chemistry in 2016 under the supervision of Prof Stuart Clarke at the University of Cambridge, with a strong focus on using neutron scattering techniques. She joined the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, UK, as an Instrument Scientist in Neutron Reflectometry. She continues to work in Physical Chemistry with particular interests in in-situ reactions linked to Atmospheric Chemistry and Electrochemistry.

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