Richard Brutchey, assistant professor of chemistry at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, was lauded for his work as a researcher by ChemComm, a leading chemical sciences journal published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
The journal named Brutchey an emerging Investigator, a distinction that recognizes top chemical sciences researchers in the early stages of their careers. He is among 64 international researchers selected for the honor in the journal’s Feb. 1 issue.
In addition to the honor, the research paper written by Brutchey and USC Dornsife researcher Federico Rabuffetti also was published.
The paper outlines a sustainable method for the synthesis of a type of complex material 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 meaningful because it also highlights the research conducted by the students in his laboratory.
“It’s an honor for me and for my students,“ he said. “It’s really recognizing their hard work.”
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 and semiconductor nanocrystals, with the potential to make high-energy density capacitors and solar cells for applications, such as powering electric vehicles.
“Our research focuses on functional materials that are useful for alternative energy technologies, but we also are placing a high value on developing ways to make these materials in environmentally friendly and sustainable ways,” Brutchey explained. “We hope that our work will impact future alternative energy technologies, such as the next generation of high-energy density capacitors.”
Brutchey also recently received a Raubenheimer Junior Faculty Award — the highest accolade given to faculty at USC Dornsife — which recognizes outstanding achievements in scholarship, teaching and service.
USC vice dean for faculty Dani Byrd 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..
“Since joining USC Dornsife, Richard has built a top lab, bringing together an active research group exploring inorganic nanoscience and technology,” Byrd said.
Brutchey uses media tools, such as Twitter, to disseminate his group’s research and share news with his peers.
He said that he likes to get students excited about the 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.”
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