Contact Information

Office: WEL: 3.210AA
Phone: 512-475-8674


Office: WEL 3.228
Phone: 512-475-7461

Richard M. Crooks

Professor, Faculty

Research Group

Crooks Group


BS, University of Illinois, 1981
PhD, University of Texas, 1987
Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT (1987-1989)


Executive Editor, Langmuir, 2015
Faraday Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2015
Pittsburgh Analytical Chemistry Award, 2014
World Technology Award (Environment Category), Finalist, 2013
Charles N. Reilley Award in Electroanalytical Chemistry, 2010
Robert A. Welch Chair in Materials Chemistry, 2009-Present
ACS Award in Electrochemistry, 2008
Carl Wagner Memorial Award of the Electrochemical Society, 2003


Center for Nano- and Molecular Science and Technology; Center for Electrochemistry; Texas Materials Institute

Bioanalytical chemistry, nanochemistry, and electrochemistry

The group's focus is on developing the basic science and technology that will lead to a cleaner planet and a healthier life for its inhabitants. Underpinning this basic philosophy are our core competencies in electrochemistry, catalysis, nanomaterials, and biological and chemical microsensors.  For example, we are interested in learning how the physical and chemical properties of catalysts affect their selectivity and efficiency. Nanoscale catalysts in the 1-3 nm size range are of particular interest, because very slight changes to materials in this size range can dramatically affect their catalytic properties. Accordingly, we use a versatile, template-based method, discovered by our group, to synthesize metal nanoparticles that have remarkable uniformity in size, composition, and structure. One important lesson we have learned during the course of these studies is that there are not many good analytical methods for studying the characteristics and properties of nanoparticles smaller than about 3 nm, and therefore we also invent and modify analytical methods to suit our needs.  Our nanoparticle catalysis work is guided by theoretical calculations thanks to a long-standing collaboration with the Henkelman group here at UT. The Crooks group also has a long-standing interest in chemical and biological sensors.  Over the past 2-3 years we have directed this activity toward the development of ultra-low cost sensors (<$1), primarily for medical applications in both the developed and developing world.  In most cases these sensors are constructed of paper, fabricated by origami, and the result of the assay detected using electrochemical methods.  New principles and analytical methods are required to keep the cost of these devices low and the detection limits appropriate for a particular application.  Finally, we have developed a new electrochemical method for desalinating salt water that is highly energy efficient.  We have a basic understanding of the phenomena responsible its effectiveness but are still studying the fundamental principles of the method.  At the same time we are working with a small company to commercialize the desalination technology.

Representative Publications

J. C. Cunningham; K. Scida; M. R. Kogan; B. Wang; A. D. Ellington; R. M. Crooks "Paper Diagnostic Device for Quantitative Electrochemical Detection of Ricin at Picomolar Levels" Lab Chip, July, 2015 (published on the RSC website, DOI 10.1039/c5lc00731c).


J. J. Yoo; J. Kim; R. M. Crooks "Direct Electrochemical Detection of Individual Collisions between Magnetic Microbead/Silver Nanoparticle Conjugates and a Magnetized Ultramicroelectrode" Chem. Sci., July, 2015 (published on the RSC website, DOI: 10.1039/c5sc02259b).


R. M. Anderson; D. F. Yancey; L. Zhang; S. T. Chill; G. Henkelman; R. M. Crooks "A Theoretical and Experimental Approach for Correlating Nanoparticle Structure and Electrocatalytic Activity" Acc. Chem. Res. 2015, 48, 1351-1357 (DOI: 10.1021/acs.accounts.5b00125).


L. Luo; L. Zhang; G. Henkelman; R. M. Crooks "Unusual electrocatalytic activity trend for PdxAu140-x@Pt core@shell nanoparticles for adsorbed CO oxidation" J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2015, 6, 2562-2568 (DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.5b00985).


K. N. Knust; D. Hlushkou; U. Tallarek; R. M. Crooks "Electrochemical Desalination for a Sustainable Water Future" ChemElectroChem 2014, 1, 850-857 (DOI: 10.1002/celc.201300236).