Investigating the Potential Applications of a New Carbon Material
Isaiah Gyan likes studying in Moscow and the University of Idaho because here “it's all about school”. He learned about UI while in Ghana from a friend who had been an Architecture student here. After a little research, he wrote to Professor Francis Cheng to ask about graduate work in Chemistry. The rest, as they say, is history.
Isaiah is working on the properties of a substance they are calling GUITAR, an acronym for ‘Graphene’ from the University of Idaho Thermolyzed Asphalt Reaction. This two-dimensional substance, discovered somewhat by accident previous to Isaiah's joining Dr. Cheng's lab team, is produced by a simple process involving inexpensive ingredients, yet it seems to outperform other carbon materials in important ways. GUITAR is a highly conductive material that “has a wide potential window in aqueous electrolytes and is resistant to corrosion”, Isaiah explains, which allows it to promote faster electron transfer. Isaiah's current project looks towards applying those advantages in developing catalyst supports for electrochemical sensing and wastewater treatment.
Outside of the research lab, Isaiah is the recipient of this year’s Cooley-Juve Award for Teaching Excellence in the Chemistry Department, a near-4.0 student, and Wellgates International Distinguished Scholar.