Physical and Analytical Electrochemistry, Carbon Materials, Corrosion Science and Neuroscience

Greg Swain


314 CEM


REU Site Director

Research webpage

Primary Research Area

Analytical (An)

Other Area(s) of Interest

Biological (Bi)

Material (Ma)


(Research Description PDF)

Research in our group is interdisciplinary and spans several fields: physical and analytical electrochemistry, carbon materials, corrosion science and neuroscience. We conduct fundamental research with advanced carbon materials to address key problems and technological needs in energy, health and the environment. Our core science lies in the preparation, processing and application of diamond and diamond-like carbon thin films. We seek to considerably improve the ability to prepare and control the material properties of polycrystalline diamond and nitrogen-incorporated tetrahedral amor-phous carbon, and to explore frontier applications where the unique material properties are essential for performance.

Electrochemical Reaction Kinetics and Mechanisms – Factors controlling electron-transfer kinetics and mechanisms at boron-doped diamond and nitrogenincorporated tetrahedral amorphous carbon thin-film electrodes are being investigated in aqueous, organic and ionic liquid electrolytes. Factors such as the surface chemistry, electrode microstructure and doping level are probed. Electrochemical and spectroelectrochemical measurements are utilized to determine rate constants and mechanisms.

Neuroanalytical Chemistry – In vitro electrochemical, immunohistochemical and neuropharmacological methods are being used to study how neurogenic signaling in the vasculature (ATP and norepinephrine) and the gastrointestinal tract (5-HT and NO) is altered in obesity. These measurements make use of diamond and carbon fiber microelectrodes, and tissues from animal models and humans. The dysfunction in neurogenic signaling is linked to inflammation. Therefore, we are also working on in vitro electrochemical measurements of peroxynitrite (PON); a biomarker of inflammation. The work has important implications for understanding the underlying mechanisms of obesity-linked hypertension and motility disorders.

Figure 1

Figure 2Electrochemical Sensors for Health – A team of materials scientists, chemists, physiologists, microbiologists, veterinary scientists and physicians is developing a multielectrode sensing platform for bandages to electrochemically monitor biomarkers of wound healing. In addition, the bandage will incorporate electrodes for electrogenerating oxidants, as needed (H2O2, O3, etc.), to inactivate infectious bacteria, thus lessening the need for antibiotic use. These smart bandages utilize ink-jet printed electrode technology. Our team is also developing electrochemical sensors for NO and PON to be used in an exhaled breath analyzer. The sensors utilize a conducting diamond platform that has been chemically functionalized to enable the selective and sensitive detection of each biomarker. We are targeting the analyzer for use in respiratory disease management including cystic fibrosis, lung cancer and obliterative bronchiolitis (OB); the latter a disease that affects a large percentage of lung and heart-lung transplant recipients.

Corrosion Protective Coatings and Surface Pretreatments – Research is being conducted to understand how non-chromate coatings and surface pretreatments inhibit corrosion on aerospace aluminum alloys. We study the formation, structure and corrosion resistance afforded by trivalent chromium process coatings and primers on various aluminum alloys (AA2xxx, 6xxx and 7xxx). Electrochemical methods and surface science techniques are utilized to assess the corrosion status of specimens in the laboratory and during different accelerated degradation tests.

Figure 3

Nanostructured Carbon Powders for Separations and Chemical Sensing – We are preparing high surface area and electrically conducting diamond or diamond/nanocarbon composite powders for use in separations and chemical sensing. The diamond powders are produced by overcoating a substrate powder (diamond, sp2 carbon or metal oxide) with a thin layer of boron-doped ultrananocrystalline diamond. These nanoscale powders offer superb microstructural stability, corrosion resistance and stability over a wide pH range. The conducting and functionalized powders are being developed for use in electrochemically-modulated and reversedphase liquid chromatography.

Selected Publications

Isatin Detection Using an All Boron-Doped Diamond 3-in-1 Macro Electrode and Micro Electrode Array, Ensch, M.; Maldonado, V.Y.; Rusinel, C.A.; Swain, G.M.; Rechenberg, R.; Becker, MF; Wehring, B., Schuelke, T., Anal. Chem. 2018, 90, 1951-1958.

Role of Trivalent Chromium in the Anti- Corrosion Properties of a TCP Conversion Coating on Aluminum Alloy 2024-T3, T.K. Shruthi; Swain, GM, J. Electrochem. Soc. 2018, 165, C103-C105.

Modulation of an Induced Charge Density Gradient in the Room Temperature Ionic Liquid BMIM+BF4, Ma, K.; Jarosova, R.; Swain, G.M.; Blanchard, G.J., J. Phys. Chem. C 2018, 122, 7361-7367.

HPLC-EC Analysis of Estrogenic Compounds Using Tetrahedral Amorphous Carbon Thin-Film Electrodes, Espinoza, E.; Jarosova, R.; Swain, G.M., Electroanal. 2018, in press.

Analysis of Ag(I) in Water Samples Using Anodic Stripping Voltammetry with a Boron-Doped Diamond Disk Electrode, Maldonado, V.Y.; Espinoza, P.J.; Rusinek, C.A.; Swain, G.M., Anal. Chem. 2018, in press.


Editor-in Chief, Diamond and Related Materials (Elsevier), 2011-present

Member of the Neuroscience Program and The Fraunhofer Center for Coatings and Laser Applications (CCL)

Adjunct Appointments: Departments of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, and Pharmacology and Toxicology

B.A., 1985, Univ. of Texas at Dallas

Ph.D., 1991, Univ. of Kansas

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 1991-92, Space Power Institute and the Department of Chemical Engineering, Auburn Univ.

JSPS Postdoc¬toral Research Fellow, 1992-93, Tohoku Univ., Japan

Full CV (PDF)


2015 Corrosion Best Paper Award
1992 - 1993 JSPS Postdoctoral Research Fellow Tohoku University, Japan
1991 Ph.D. University of Kansas
1991 - 1992 Postdoctoral Research Fellow Space Power Institute and the Department of Chemical Engineering, Auburn University
1985 Bachelor of Arts University of Texas at Dallas
Associate Editor Diamond and Related Materials