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Charles HF Peden

Catalysis Science
Laboratory Fellow, TL


Working at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) since 1992, and promoted to Laboratory Fellow in 2000, Dr. Charles H. F. (Chuck) Peden has an international reputation for his research studies of the surface and interfacial chemistry of inorganic solids in general, and the heterogeneous catalytic chemistry of metals and oxides (reaction mechanisms, materials) in particular. His current research programs address numerous aspects of the physical and chemical properties of oxide surfaces. These include fundamental experimental studies of the geometric and electronic structure of oxide surfaces, as well as more applied studies that are developing oxides as catalytic materials. A particular focus in this latter area is on developing the scientific underpinning of several new catalytic technologies that are viable candidates for exhaust emission control from diesel-fueled vehicles. Dr. Peden is also currently a principal investigator and program leader of a new multi-institution research effort, funded by the Basic Energy Sciences Division of the U.S. Department of Energy, aimed at developing a fundamental understanding of oxide-supported transition metal oxide catalysts.

Prior to joining PNNL, Dr. Peden was first a post-doctoral fellow (1983-1985) and then a senior member of the technical staff (1985-1992) at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Dr. Peden is best known as a leader in the development of the mechanisms of automobile exhaust catalytic reactions. For this work, he has used a number of ultra-high vacuum surface science techniques to, for example, identify and explain several very unusual mechanistic features of the heterogeneous chemistry occurring in a catalytic converter including: a) the dramatically different CO oxidation reaction mechanism on ruthenium metal relative to other late transition metals; b) the structure sensitive selectivity of the NO reduction reaction on rhodium metal; c) deactivation of rhodium metal at high oxygen partial pressures; and d) the significantly different CO oxidation reaction mechanism over oxidized rhodium metal.

Most recently, Dr. Peden is known for both his technical and managerial roles in helping to establish the Institute for Integrated Catalysis at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as the leading research organization in the United States for catalysis research and development.

Dr. Peden has written or contributed to more than 160 peer-reviewed scientific publications on the kinetics and mechanisms of automobile exhaust catalysis; the development of zeolite catalysts for diesel engine emission control; hydrocarbon reforming over bimetallic catalysts; the structure of hydroprocessing catalysts; the development of novel, supported solid acid catalysts for petroleum refining; the growth and properties of oxide and semiconductor thin films; and model studies of adhesion at metal/metal-oxide interfaces.

A list of recent publications appears at the end of this page.

Research Interests

  • Kinetics and mechanisms of surface chemical reactions important in heterogeneous catalysis
  • Catalyst materials synthesis and characterization

Education and Credentials

  • B.A. with distinction, Chemistry, 1978, California State University, Chico
  • M.A., Physical Chemistry, 1981, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, 1983, University of California, Santa Barbara

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • American Vacuum Society Fellow
  • American Chemical Society Fellow, 2012
  • North American Catalysis Society Member
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers Member
  • Society of Automotive Engineers Member
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Member
  • California Scholastic Federation Life Member

Awards and Recognitions

  • Guest editor for the Festschrift issue of The Journal of Physical Chemistry C in honor of Professor D. Wayne Goodman, Texas A&M University (2010)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow
  • University of California Regents Predoctoral Fellow, 1978-1979
  • Elected a Fellow of the American Vacuum Society, 2000
  • Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at Texas A&M University, 2006-present
  • Affiliate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington, 1993-1997
  • Adjunct Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of New Mexico, 1988-1995
  • Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Technology Transfer in 2003
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A, 2004-2006

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