Overview of Ardo Group Research Foci
The Ardo Group is a Diverse Team of Innovators and Educators that are Allies for Change. We are committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, research integrity, and dissemination of knowledge. These constitute the foundational guiding principles that underpin our daily actions, and lead to our Team's camaraderie.

In our research, we invent new ways to leverage daily variations in terrestrial photon fluxes between the Sun, the Earth, and the Universe to help close the Water Cycle, the Carbon Cycle, the Hydrogen Cycle, and the Nitrogen Cycle. More specifically, the central aim of our research program is to understand and control dynamics of non-equilibrium processes relevant to photoelectrochemical desalination (formerly Moore Foundation), oceanic carbon capture (DOE ARPA-E), solar photocatalytic H2 production (DOE EPN EFRC & formerly DOE EERE), liquid solar fuels (DOE LiSA Hub), protonic photovoltaics (DOE BES), electrolyzer & fuel cell membranes (formerly DoD ARO), interfacial ion-transfer catalysis (NSF CCI CI2), excited-state proton-transfer dynamics (NSF CSDM-B), and ionic ratchets (UCI Beall Family Foundation).

Guided by results from numerical simulations and processes that occur in Nature, our Team designs and fabricates kinetically asymmetric systems using chemical synthesis and molecular-level engineering of molecule–material structures. Specific tailoring of the mechanisms imparted by these asymmetries allows us to control photo-induced charge separation in solar energy conversion schemes, current rectification using electrochemical ratchets and ionic diodes made from ice or ion-exchange membranes, selective and rapid catalysis of PCET reactions and water dissociation, and local temperature using photonic and heat transfer processes. Results from each study increase fundamental knowledge of transport and transfer phenomena (ion, electron, photon, energy, heat) that dictate the function and effectiveness of technologies for sustainable clean water, carbon capture, and renewable energy.

The Ardo Group is well-suited for students and postdoctoral scholars with various backgrounds and expertise, spanning the disciplines of chemistry, applied physics, chemical engineering, materials science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and biophysics. Click on the following links to watch a short video from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation that explains the Ardo Group's solar desalination concept and Shane's Distinctive Voices Lecture (53 minutes) from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine titled "Development of a plastic water bottle for sunlight-driven desalination."

We are grateful to our sponsors for their generous support of our research program

EPN Logo   Liquid Sunlight Alliance (LiSA) Logo     CI2

DOE Office of Science Logo

NSF Logo      DOE ARPA-E Logo

Research Corporation Logo      Cottrell Scholars Collaborative Logo

UCI Beall Applied Innovation Logo
Group News

10/31/2023: Gabe is now also Dr. Phun. Congratulations on your successful thesis defense and thank you for being collaborative, a buffer, and foundational, Gabe!
Gabe Phun during Ph.D. thesis defense

10/24/2023: Justin is now also Dr. Chen. Congratulations on your successful thesis defense and thank you for being a scholar, gracious, and a deputy (director), Justin!
Justin Chen during Ph.D. thesis defense

7/5/2023: Gabe and Rohit's publication titled "Detailed-balance limits for sunlight-to-protonic energy conversion from aqueous photoacids and photobases based on reversible mass-action kinetics" is accepted for publication in the Energy & Environmental Science. Congratulations, Gabe and Rohit!

6/1/2023: Cassidy is now also Dr. Feltenberger. Congratulations on your successful thesis defense and thank you for being cool-calm-collected, agile, and having foresight, Cassidy!
Cassidy Feltenberger during Ph.D. thesis defense

5/19/2023: Dennis successfully passes his oral exam and is now a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry. Congratulations, Dennis!

4/14/2023: The Ardo Group's collaborative publication with the Segev Group at Tel Aviv University titled "Ratchet-Based Ion Pumps for Selective Ion Separations" is accepted for publication in PRX Energy. Congratulations, Alon!

4/13/2023: The Ardo Group's collaborative publication with the Talin Group at Sandia National Laboratories titled "Single-Particle Measurements Reveal the Origin of Low Solar-to-Hydrogen Efficiency of Rh-Doped SrTiO3 Photocatalysts" is accepted for publication in ACS Nano. Congratulations, Brian, Justin, Bill, and the rest of the team!

3/16/2023: The Ardo Group's collaborative publication with the Ogitsu Group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory titled "Mechanistic Insights on Permeation of Water over Iron Cations in Nanoporous Silicon Oxide Films for Selective H2 and O2 Evolution" is accepted for publication in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. Congratulations, Fikret, Justin, and the rest of the team!

2/2/2023: The Ardo Group's collaborative publication with the Atwater Group at Caltech titled "Direct observation of the local microenvironment in inhomogeneous CO2 reduction gas diffusion electrodes via versatile pOH imaging" is accepted for publication in Energy & Environmental Science. Congratulations, Annette, Rohit, Cassidy, and the rest of the team!

1/24/2023: Nate Gomez, Nate Keyes, Brad Layne, Eric Liu, and Adam Sabatose join Team Ardo. Welcome, Nate2, Brad, Eric, and Adam!

11/17/2022: The Ardo Group's collaborative publication with the Esposito Group at Columbia University titled "Quantifying the Influence of Defects on Selectivity of Electrodes Encapsulated by Nanoscopic Silicon Oxide Overlayers" is accepted for publication in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. Congratulations, Will and Kelly!

9/19/2022: Munho Yang joins Team Ardo. Welcome, Munho!

8/25/2022: The Ardo Group and 16 collaborators from the state of California at UC Irvine (Ge Group, Pan Group, Patterson Group, Yang Group), California Institute of Technology (Cushing Group), California State University Long Beach (Shon Group), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Ogitsu Group), and Sandia National Laboratories (Talin Group); from the state of Colorado at Colorado State University (Sambur Group), Fort Lewis College (Miller Group), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Hurst Group), and the University of Colorado Boulder (Dukovic Group); and from the U.S. Northeast at the City University of New York - Medgar Evers College (Salako Group), Columbia University (Esposito Group), the University of Michigan (Bala Chandran Group), and Yale University (Hu Group) as part of Ensembles of Photosynthetic Nanoreactors (EPN), with Shane as the Director, are awarded one of two UCI-led Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRC) from the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science through the Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Go Team!
EPN Logo     DOE Office of Science Logo

8/2/2022: Rohit's publication titled "Quantification of Excited-State Brønsted–Lowry Acidity of Weak Photoacids Using Steady-State Photoluminescence Spectroscopy and a Driving-Force-Dependent Kinetic Theory" is accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Congratulations, Rohit, Cassidy, Gabe, and Grant!

7/27/2022: The Ardo Group and collaborators from the University of Oregon, MIT, Stanford, Prairie View A&M University, Cal State LA, and UMass Boston as part of the Center for Interfacial Ionics (CI2), with Shannon Boettcher (University of Oregon) as the Director, are awarded one of three Phase I Centers for Chemical Innovation (CCI) from the U.S. National Science Foundation. Go Team!
NSF Logo

6/22/2022: The Ardo Group's collaborative publication with Gideon Segev at Tel Aviv University, Roel van de Krol at Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin, and Frances Houle at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory titled "The 2022 solar fuels roadmap" is accepted for publication in Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics. Congratulations, Gideon (TAU), Roel (HZB), Frances (LBNL), and the rest of the team!

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