Chemistry research abroad in Germany

Rachel Krueger ’13

Rachel Krueger ’13

Rachel Krueger ’13

Graduate student, Caltech

Academic focus: chemistry major

Research group: Gomez Lab

Research abroad: DAAD fellowship, Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research

Graduate program: Caltech

During my year as a visiting DAAD fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, I had the opportunity to investigate proton conduction in pyrophosphoric acid. Pyrophosphoric acid represents an intermediate point in terms of hydration between phosphoric acid, the substance with the highest known intrinsic proton conductivity, and pyrophosphates, which have attracted increasing interest as electrolytes for intermediate-temperature fuel cells.

In collaboration with the experimentalists in the Maier Department, I modeled proton conduction in pyrophosphoric acid, using ab initio molecular dynamics simulations to analyze the structure, diffusion, and the energetics of proton transfer.

The experience in ab initio calculations and programming I gained in the Gomez Group at Mount Holyoke, in addition to the general familiarity with proton conductors, was invaluable.