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ERIC Number: EJ1048323
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Dec
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Exploring Electrochromics: A Series of Eye-Catching Experiments to Introduce Students to Multidisciplinary Research
Small, Leo J.; Wolf, Steven; Spoerke, Erik D.
Journal of Chemical Education, v91 n12 p2099-2104 Dec 2014
Introducing students to a multidisciplinary research laboratory presents challenges in terms of learning specific technical skills and concepts but also with respect to integrating different technical elements to form a coherent picture of the research. Here we present a multidisciplinary series of experiments we have developed in the Electronic, Optical, and Nano Materials group at Sandia National Laboratories to introduce students to essential experimental methods and concepts spanning thin film synthesis, crystallography, electrochemistry, and optical spectroscopy. With minimal assistance from a qualified instructor, students apply a sol-gel method to synthesize electrochromic tungsten oxide (WO[subscript3]) thin films and evaluate their performance with electrochemistry, UV-vis spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction. We find that the color changing WO[subscript3] films capture the students' attention, are technologically relevant, and make excellent materials platforms for multidisciplinary research as they invite investigation with a range of laboratory techniques. The variety of experimental methods combined here challenges the students to correlate the interplay between structure, processing, and properties central to materials science. The modular nature of this experiment set permits it to be tailored to the time constraints of individual students and also allows it to be applied to upper-level materials science or chemistry laboratories.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: US Department of Energy
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: DE-AC04-94AL85000