Dr. Houle’s research interests include:  chemical modification of nanoparticle, semiconductor, metal and polymer interfaces, surfaces and films; oxidative ageing of atmospheric aerosols; nanoscale pattern formation; development of novel experimental methods for characterization of nanoparticle, thin-film, surface and interface physics and chemistry, including nanoscale composition, reaction mechanisms, and nanomechanical properties; stochastic simulation methods for complex chemical reactions including transport, with special interest in the condensed phase; and scenario development for prospective lifecycle assessments for new energy technologies.

Within JCAP, Dr. Houle uses stochastic chemical kinetics simulation methods to characterize mesoscale transport processes studied in novel membrane architectures that can transport ions but block gases and organic CO2-reduction processes.  The simulations are used to interpret time-dependent measurements of membrane properties, with spatial and temporal resolution spanning nanometers and nanoseconds to real film thicknesses and relaxation on the timescale of minutes to hours.  By capturing uptake, swelling and deswelling, release, and non-Fickian effects, the models provide a detailed and realistic means of connecting membrane properties to the movement of neutral and charged species through them.


Recent Publications

Mechanistic insights into chemical and photochemical transformations of Bismuth Vanadate photoanodes. Francesca M. Toma, Jason Cooper, Viktoria Kunzelmann, Matthew McDowell, Jie Yu, David Larson, Nicholas Borys, Christine Abelyan, Jeffrey Beeman, Kin Man Yu, Jinhui Yang, Le Chen, Matthew Shaner, Joshua Spurgeon,
Frances Houle, Kristin Persson, Ian Sharp, Nature Communications, 7, 12012, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12012 (2016).

Opportunities to improve the net energy performance of photoelectrochemical water-splitting technology.
Roger Sathre, Jeffery Greenblatt, Karl Walczak, Ian Sharp, John Stevens, Joel Ager, Frances Houle,
Energy & Environmental Science, 9, 803 – 819 (2016).

Hybrid composite coatings for durable and efficient solar hydrogen generation under diverse operating conditions. Karl A. Walczak, Gideon Segev, David M. Larson, Jeffrey W. Beeman, Frances A. Houle, Ian D. Sharp, Advanced Energy Materials, DOI 10.1002/aenm.201602791 (2017).

Predictive simulation of non-steady-state transport of gases through rubbery polymer membranes. Marielle Soniat, Meron Tesfaye, Daniel Brooks, Boris Merinov, William A. Goddard, III, Adam Weber and Frances A. Houle, Polymer 134, 125-142, DOI 10.1016/j.polymer.2017.11.055 (2018).

The energy challenge of separating hydrocarbon products from (photo)electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide and water. Jeffery B. Greenblatt, Daniel J. Miller, Joel W. Ager, Frances A. Houle, Ian D. Sharp
Joule 2, 381-420, 10.1016/j.joule.2018.01.014 (2018).

Pathways to Solar Hydrogen Technologies. Shane Ardo, David Fernandez Rivas, Miguel Modestino, Verena Schulze Greiving, Fatwa F. Abdi, Esther Alarcon llado, Vincent Artero, Katherine Ayers, Corsin Battaglia, Jan-Philipp Becker, Dmytro Bederak, Alan Berger, Francesco Buda, Enrico Chinello, Valerio Di Palma, Tomas Edvinsson, Katsushi Fujii, Han Gardeniers, Hans Geerlings, S. Mohammad H. Hashemi, Sophia Haussener, Frances Houle, Jurriaan Huskens, Brian D. James, Kornelia Konrad, Akihiko Kudo, Pramod Patil Kunturu, Detlef Lohse, Bastian Mei, Eric L. Miller, Gary F. Moore, Jiri Muller, Katherine L. Orchard, Timothy E. Rosser, Fadl Saadi, Jan-Willem Schüttauf, Brian Seger, Stafford W. Sheehan, Wilson A. Smith, Joshua Spurgeon, Maureen Tang, Roel van de Krol, Peter Vesborg, and Pieter Westerik, Energy & Environmental Science, DOI: 10.1039/c7ee03639f (2018).

Membranes for Solar Fuels Devices (Invited book chapter), Daniel J. Miller and Frances A. Houle, Integrated Solar Fuel Generators, I. D. Sharp, J. Lewerenz, and H. Atwater, Editors, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge (2018), ISBN 978-1-78262-555-1

Swelling and diffusion during methanol sorption into hydrated Nafion Marielle Soniat and Frances A. Houle
Journal of Physical Chemistry B 122, 8255−8268 (2018) DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.8b03169 (2018).


Additional Information

Profile at LBNL:  http://commons.lbl.gov/display/csd/Frances+Houle/
Simulation Software:  Kinetiscope, a stochastic kinetics simulator. W. D. Hinsberg and F. A. Houle, 2015,www.hinsberg.net/kinetiscope