Prof. Nikolay Kornienko

Independent Career





I am currently an Associate Professor at the University of Montreal, Department of Chemistry. My overarching motivation is to discover and implement the chemistry necessary to transition to a sustainable energy-based society. Specifically, I am developing materials to convert solar energy to chemical fuels as an energy storage media. Transforming solar energy into chemical bonds requires efficient, synchronous function of multiple processes as well as a fundamental understanding of the underlying chemistry at work. Currently, catalysts that utilize solar-derived electricity to generate chemical fuels lack the performance necessary to render this technology practical. Within this framework, my research entails both the design of novel electrocatalytic materials and in situ spectroscopic investigations. The aim here is to establish an iterative cycle where novel materials are first synthesized and systematically tested then subsequently probed through spectroscopic methods to develop a comprehensive understanding of the materials' structure/function relationships. The lessons generated can then be feed into the next cycle of design, synthesis, and understanding to accelerate the rate at which the pressing challenges in energy and materials can be met.

Current Research:

1) Investigation into bio-mimetic Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs), whose active site and catalytic pocket is tailored to incorporate aspects utilized by enzymes.

2) Plasmonic Electrochemisry which harnesses enhanced electromagnetic fields at metal-electrolyte interfaces to access new reaction energy landscapes.

3) Biocatalysis - incorporating electroactive enzymes and microbes to generate hybrid electrochemical systems capable of performance not yet attainable with purely synthetic systems

4) Spectroscopy - viewing catalysts and reactions as they occur is key to understanding how to improve them