Ronald Fawcett

Ronald Fawcett

Position Title
Professor Emeritus


The research carried out in our laboratory involves electrochemistry , infrared spectroscopy and AFM. The kinetics of electrode reactions are studied at well-defined electrode surfaces. This normally means that single crystal metal electrodes are use so that only a given crystallographic orientation of the metal comes into contact with the electrolyte solution. In this way the electrical properties of the interface can be precisely reproduced from one experiment to the next . Modern electrochemical techniques such as electrochemical impedance spectroscopy are used to study the kinetics of interfacial electron transfer and other electrode reactions. The electrode surface is also characterized using scanning tunneling and atomic force microcopies. We have recently developed a method for fabricating single crystal ultra microelectrodes of Au and Pt with areas of the order of 200-500 micro m2 . These electrodes , which are only available in our laboratory , are of special interest in studying ultra fast electrode reactions. Another area of interest is chemically modified electrode surfaces , especially those obtained using self-assembled monolayers. Modified electrodes allow us to study long range electron transfer which is important in biological systems.

The composition and structure of the solution side of the electrode/solution interface is also studied using FTIR spectroscopy in the reflection mode . In this way, we are able to determine what is absorbed on the electrode and how its surface concentration varies with electrode potential . FTIR spectroscopy is also used to study ionic solvation in electrolyte solutions formed in polar organic solvents such as acetonitrile and dimethyl sulfoxide. Our work is of considerable practical importance in the areas of energy technology and environmental protection . Thus, the study of electrode kinetics and electrocatalysis is relevant to the development of highly efficient fuel cells and batteries. Electrochemistry is also used to remove toxic substances from natural waters. Projects involving both of these strategic areas are currently being carried out in this laboratory.

Education, Awards and Professional Highlights

  • Awarded Distinguished Professorship, UC Davis (2006)
  • Elected Fellow of the Electrochemical Society (2000)
  • Elected Honorary Member of the Polish Chemical Society (1997)
  • Editor, Journal Of Electroanalytical Chemistry (1985-1997)
  • Appointed to UC Davis faculty (1984)
  • Alcan Lecture Award, Chemical Institute of Canada (1983)
  • Editor, Canadian Journal of Chemistry (1980-1983)
  • Visiting Associate Professor and NSF Senior Foreign Energy Scholar, California Institute of Technology (1976-1977)
  • Fellow of the chemical Institute of Canada (1976)
  • Lash Miller Award ,Electrochemical Society, Canada (1975)
  • National Research Council of Canada Exchange Scientist, Soviet Academy of Sciences, Moscow (1972-1973)
  • Appointed to faculty, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada (1966-1983)
  • NATO Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Bristol (1964-1966)
  • B.A., Ph.D. University of Toronto (1960, 1965)

Representative Publications

  • Smagala, T. G. & Fawcett, W. R. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 111, 2007 ; 1443-1448.
  • Alia, J. M , Edwards, H. G. M , Fawcett , W. R ,Smagala, T. G. J. Phys. Chem. A.; (Article); 2007; 111(5); 793-804.
  • Fawcett, W. R. ,Smagala, T. G.Langmuir; (Research Article); 2006; 22(25); 10635-10642.
  • Verbovy, D. M., Smagala, T. G., Brynda, M. A., & Fawcett, W. R., Journal of Molecular Liquids (129), 2006.
  • Smagala, T. G. & Fawcett, W. R., Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, Volume 597, Issue 1, 15 November 2006, Pages 43-50.
  • Smagala, T. G., Verbovy, D. M., & Fawcett, W. R., 232th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Francisco, September 2006 (abstract & oral presentation).
  • Smagala, T.G. & Fawcett, W. R., 232th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Francisco, September2006 (abstract & poster).
  • Smagala, T.G., & Fawcett, W.R., Zeitschrift für Physikalische Chemie, 2006, 220, 427-43.
  • Paula A. Brooksby and W. Ronald Fawcett., Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, In Press, 2005.
  • Maria Yu. Rusanova, Pavla Polášková, Martin Muzikar and W. Ronald Fawcett..,Electrochimica Acta, In Press, 2005.
  • M.Yu.Rusanova., G.A Tsirlina., R.R Nazmutdinov , and WR Fawcett ., J.Phys.Chem. B, 2005, Vol 109, pp.1348-1356.
  • Fawcett , WR ., Smagala , T.G ., Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 2005 , Vol . 109, pp. 1930-1935.
  • Fawcett,WR. , P. Brooksby, D. Verbovy., I. Bakó ., G. Palinkás., J .of Molecular Liquids ., 2005 Vol.18 pp.171-178.
  • Fawcett, WR., M .Muzikâr., Analytical Chemistry ., 2004, V.76, No.13,2004.
  • Fawcett ,WR. , T.G.Smagala ., Condensed Matter Physics., 2004, Vol. 7 , No.4(40), pp. 709-718.
  • Boda, D., Fawcett, WR., Henderson, D., Sokolowski, S. J. Chem. Phys., 2002, V116(N16):7170-7176.
  • Fawcett, WR., Rus. J. Electrochem., 2002, V38(N1):2-7.
  • Loring, JS; Karlsson, M; Fawcett, WR; Casey, WH. Polyhedron, 2001, V20(N15-16):1983-1994.
  • Fawcett, WR. J. Electroanal. Chem., 2001,V500(N1-2 SI):264-269.
  • Fawcett, WR., Hromadova, M., Tsirlina, GA., Nazmutdinov, RR. J. Electroanal. Chem., 2001, V498(N1-2 SI):93-104.
  • Hromadova, M; Fawcett, WR. J. Phys. Chem. A, 2001, V105(N1): 104-111.
  • Hromadova, M; Fawcett, WR. J.Phys.Chem. A, 2000, V104: 4356.
  • Winkler, K; McKnight, N; Fawcett, WR. J. Phys. Chem. B, 2000, V104(N15):3575-3580.
  • Hoon-Khosla, M; Fawcett, WR; Goddard, JD; Tian, WQ; Lipkowski, J. Langmuir, 2000, V16(N5):2356-2362.
  • Fawcett, WR. J. Phys. Chem. B, 1999, V103 (N50): 11181- 11185.