A. C. Buchanan is a Distinguished Research Staff and Group Leader for the Physical Organic Chemistry (POC) group in the Chemical Sciences Division at ORNL. The POC group conducts research on the synthesis, structure, properties, and reactivity of organic chemicals, fuels, polymers, organic-inorganic hybrid materials, and catalysts. An integrated approach is employed involving synthesis (often with isotopic labels), product analysis, determination of reaction kinetics and mechanisms, structural interrogation via spectroscopic methods, and computational methods. Basic and applied research is conducted under the sponsorship of the Department of Energy, other federal agencies, and private corporations. The research group consists of multi-disciplinary permanent staff, postdoctoral associates, and guests on short-term assignments (e.g. university faculty, graduate and undergraduate students).
Selected current research themes include:
- Multinuclear, high field NMR spectroscopy (700 MHz) of solids including heterogeneous catalysts, polymers, and fuels.
- Organometallic chemistry with a focus on new electrocatalysts for the reduction of oxygen to water, heterogeneous photocatalysts for solar energy applications, and hydrogen storage materials.
- Surface modification of mesoporous metal oxides such as MCM-41 silica with organic molecules, and examination of pore confinement effects on chemical reactivity.
- Thermochemical and catalytic reactions of biomass (plants, lignin, etc.) including fundamental investigations of reaction mechanisms of constituents and model compounds.