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Saul Krasner Memorial Science Lecture Series
Dr. Blair Tuttle, Penn State University

"Hydrogen in Materials Science: From Basic Ideas to Advanced Technology to Undergraduate Research" 

Abstract: Over the past 100 years, hydrogen has been central to some of the most important advances in science and technology. In 1912, Bohr published a model for explaining the light spectra emitted by hydrogen atomic gases. This model led to the development of quantum mechanics, the fundamental theory of electrons in atoms and solids. Most materials science can be considered applied quantum mechanics. The early development of solid state electronics involved mastering the injection of small concentrations of hydrogenic impurities into semiconductors. More recently, passivating unwanted defects with hydrogen has been the main procedure for producing robust and reliable modern electronics. Currently, hydrogen storage materials are being explored for energy applications. In this talk, I will review the above topics and share the computational research my undergraduate students and I have performed regarding hydrogen in a variety of environments, including the interesting case of amorphous materials.  

Biography: Blair Tuttle is presently Associate Professor of Physics at the Behrend College campus of Penn State University. He also is a visiting Research Professor of Physics at Vanderbilt University. As an undergraduate at Bates College, he majored in Physics and studied hydrogen’s role in the universe and potential alternatives. In 1991, he began graduate school in physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where his dissertation research culminated in a theory of hydrogen in amorphous silicon, a common solar cell material. Since joining the faculty at Behrend College in 2000, he has been involved in teaching undergraduates in a variety of settings, and engaging in computational materials research with a focus on the role of hydrogen in a variety of systems relevant to advanced electronics.