Current research topics:

  • Electroanalytical methods of detection of ultra-low concentrations of various analytes including hard (metal, polymer) and soft (emulsion) nanoparticles, and bioparticles (E. coli)
  • Electrokinetic phenomena: dielectrophoresis, electrothermal fluid flow, electrophoretic migration
  • Scanning electrochemical microscopy using hot (ac polarized) microelectrodes
  • Redox Flow Batteries
  • Numerical simulations

We are fascinated by electrokinetic phenomena such as the electrothermal fluid flow (ETF) and dielectrophoresis (DEP), which can be generated in an electrolyte solution near the surface of a microelectrode, once a high frequency alternating current (ac) waveform is applied to it. Most recently (Anal. Chem. 2017, 89, 8614-8619), we have demonstrated that these phenomena can lead to an over three orders of magnitude increase in the frequency of collisions of Ag nanoparticles with the surface of an indicator (working) electrode. These results signify a tremendous potential for ETF and DEP phenomena to serve as extremely efficient methods for analyte preconcentration. At the same time, preconcentrated analytes can be conveniently detected via electrochemical methods at the same electrode.

We have also recently demonstrated (Electrochem. Commun., 2016, 68, 36-39) that ac polarized microelectrodes can be successfully used as tips in the arrangement for the scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM). We have named this novel technique hot-tip scanning electrochemical microscopy (HT-SECM) and used it to differentiate electrically non-conductive materials, such as alumina and polystyrene, based on their thermophysical properties (thermal conductivities). Our goal is to apply HT-SECM to the studies of electron transfer kinetics and the kinetics of coupled chemical reactions under the conditions of elevated temperature and high rates of mass transfer.

In collaboration with the Ziegler group at the Department of Chemistry, The University of Akron, we have received funding from the National Science Foundation to develop and test new chemistries for the redox flow battery (RFB) applications. Our goal is to find solutions to the long-standing challenges in the RFB operation such as the slowness of electron transfer and the crossover.

The research projects in our group are highly interdisciplinary, and the group members are exposed to the training and new experiences in the fields of electrochemical analysis, analytical chemistry, numerical simulations and electronics. If you are interested in joining our group, please contact Dr. Boika directly.