Frank Hovorka Professor Emeritus of Chemistry


216.368.3668      Millis 225D

Interests: Physical Chemistry, Electrochemistry

AB, Princeton University, 1955
PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1959
David C. Grahame Award, 1991
Charles N. Reilley Award, 1994

Electrochemistry of Electronically Interesting Materials

Many classes of compounds having electronically intriguing properties, such as cuprate and bismuthate superconductors, fullerene films, and conductive diamonds have interesting electrochemistry in synthesis, junction formation, interfacial reactivity, and charge transfer behavior as electrodes. This research direction aims at characterizing interfacial chemical and electrochemical kinetics for reactions of these materials and their precursors, making new solid phases with controlled properties, and electrochemically preparing junctions with useful conductive properties or other advantageous physical phenomena such as as electroluminescence.


Research on semiconductor-electrolyte junction cells has produced efficient means of solar-to-electrical energy conversion and photoelectrochemical synthetic routes to useful fuels or to removal of pollutants. The underlying chemistry and physics, materials stability, charge transfer kinetics, photoefficiency, and semi conductor electrosynthesis are central issues to prospects for long-term energy and environmental concerns. Semiconductors with near optimal efficiency matching to the solar spectrum (GaAs, InP, CdSe, CdTe) are of particular focus in our laboratory for kinetic and synthetic studies recently in nanostructured forms.

Electrochemical Modulation Studies

Periodically modulated mass transfer and electrode temperature experiments at hydrodynamically controlled electrodes are useful tools for electron transfer studies and also have special application to electroanalysis. Combining such methods with light flux control is particularly effective for studying semiconductor electrochemistry in which all these factors are operative.

Integrated Circuit Processing

Many basic steps to optoelectronic devices involve electrochemical processes directly (e.g., some routes to metallization), or are actually electrochemically controlled (e.g. most chemical etching). Activities are being pursued in understanding catalysts for selective electroless deposition of metal interconnections and in patterned etching where chemistry can have a large role in future developments.

Selected Publications
  • Electrochemical Hydrogen Insertion into Palladium and Palladium-Nickel Thin Films, Electrochim. Acta, 36, 1203-1208 (1991).
  • All-High Tc Josephson Tunnel Junction: Ba1-x Kx BiO3 /Ba1-x Kx BiO3 Junctions, App. Phys. Lett. 58, 95-96 (1991).
  • Terminology in Semiconductor Electrochemistry and Photoelectrochemical Energy Conversion, Pure & Appl. Chem. 63, 569-596 (1991).
  • Anodic Synthesis and Characterization of Millimeter Crystals of Ba0.6 K0.4 BiO3, Physica C 182, 285-290 (1991).
  • Photoelectrochemical Behavior of C 60 Films, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 113, 6291-6293 (1991).
  • Selective Electroless Copper Metallization of Palladium Silicide on Silicon Substrates, Appl. Phys. Lett. 59, 3449-3451 (1991).
  • Electron Transfer to C60 and C70 Fullerenes at Hydrodynamic and Dual Electrodes, J. Electrochem. Soc. 139, 1941-1945 (1992).
  • Electrochemical Crystallization of Tetraphenyl Phosphonium and Arsonium Fullerides, J. Chem. Soc. Faraday Trans. 89, 273-276 (1993).
  • “Photoelectrochemical Systems,” Rev. in Surf. Chem. 3, 29-47, (1993)
  • “Patterned Electrical Conductance and Electrode Formation in Ion-Implanted Diamond Films,” J. Electrochem. Soc. 141, L41-L43 (1994).