Kubiak, Clifford
Inorganic, materials, and physical chemistry: electron transfer, catalysis, fixation and utilization of carbon dioxide.

Contact Information
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Harold C. Urey Chair in Chemistry

Office: Pacific Hall 4223A
Phone: 858-822-2665
Email: ckubiak@ucsd.edu
Web: kubiak.ucsd.edu
Group: View group members
1980 Postdoc, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1980 Ph.D., University of Rochester
1975 Sc. B., Brown University
2014 Invited Visiting Professor, Electrocatalysis, University of Paris Diderot
2012-present Visiting Associate, Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, JCAP
2008-present Distinguished Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego
2002-2006 Chair, Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego
1998-present Harold C. Urey Endowed Chair, Chemistry, University of California, San Diego
1997 Robert A. Wheland Visiting Professor, University of Chicago
1990-1998 Professor, Purdue University
1987-1990 Associate Professor, Purdue University
1982-1987 Assistant Professor, Purdue University
Awards and Academic Honors
Fred Basolo Medal for Outstanding Research in Inorganic Chemistry
Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Inter-American Photochemical Society, Award in Photochemistry
Fellow, American Chemical Society
American Chemical Society Award in Inorganic Chemistry
Rochester Distinguished Scholar Award
National Science Foundation Award for Special Creativity
Japan Society for Promotion of Science Fellow
Charles B. Murphy Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching
Frank D. Martin Undergraduate Teaching Award
Alfred P. Sloan Fellow
Elon Huntington Hooker Fellow, Rochester
Sherman Clarke Fellow, Rochester
Research Interests
Our research is focused on two areas:

(1) Catalysis of the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide, and the photochemical "splitting" of carbon dioxide.

(2) "Ultrafast" electron transfer dynamics in inorganic mixed valence complexes.

Catalysis of the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide. The goal of these studies is to utilize CO2, an abundant greenhouse gas, for the ultimate manufacture of energy dense liquid fuels. These efforts have concentrated on CO2 activation and reduction of CO2 by chemical, photochemical, and electrochemical means, and the development of catalysts for transforming CO2 to organic products. Catalysts which can manage multiple proton coupled electron transfers (PCETs) to CO2 to form liquid fuels such as methanol are being developed. We are employing semiconductor devices with appropriate band energies to photochemically "split" CO2 to CO and O2.

A class of inorganic charge transfer complexes with electronic structures that can be tuned from completely delocalized to tightly localized is under investigation. At the delocaization limit, rates of intramolecular electron transfer in these systems can be so fast that coalescence of infrared spectral features occurs in a manner reminiscent of dynamic NMR, but on a picosecond (vs. millisecond for NMR) time scale. The dynamics probed by this simple IR method track solvent dipolar response, and can be developed as "reporters" of local dynamics. We expect that the fundamental knowledge gained can be applied to the rational design of "electronically wired" metal complexes and "molecular devices".

Primary Research Area
Inorganic Chemistry
Interdisciplinary interests

Outreach Activities
The lab is multi-racial, multi-cultural, and 40% female overall. Having a diverse lab does help in keeping it that way, but there are other activities at a more individual level that have, I believe, brought a more diverse population into science in general, and my lab in particular. These involve simply being accessible to students in the lower division classes that I teach (Chem 6C and Chem 6CH) and encouraging them to consider what they might become with a career in science, and, if there is interest, to introduce them to graduate students or other undergraduate students in a research setting to see what it looks like, and then if they like what they see to give them a chance to try it out. I would say that all of my current undergraduate students were exposed to opportunities that they never imagined, and are benefiting from mentoring and an environment that shows that rich intellectual rewards can be found in a laboratory, and many others from diverse backgrounds are doing remarkable things there.
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Selected Publications