Casey O’Brien

Professor Casey O'Brien

Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering






240D McCourtney Hall

Areas of Interest

We focus on reducing the environmental impact of the chemical industry by developing catalytic materials that promote desirable reaction pathways and block reaction pathways that lead to environmentally harmful byproducts.

Our general approach involves (1) synthesizing catalytic materials, (2) using in-situ/operando spectroscopic characterization to elucidate reaction mechanisms, and (3) systematically changing the structure and composition of catalysts to obtain detailed structure-function relationships.

Our main expertise is using in-situ/operando vibrational spectroscopy to understand how the structure and composition of catalytic surfaces influences their reaction mechanisms. We also develop new spectroscopic tools that couple in-situ spectroscopic characterization of membrane materials and measurement of trans-membrane gas permeation rates simultaneously (operando membrane spectroscopy).



Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2011
B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2006