Buck-Whitney Award

Congratulations to Benjamin J. Wiley for winning the 2019 Buck-Whitney Award!

Benjamin J. Wiley Ph.D. - Winner of the 2019 Buck-Whitney Award

Benjamin J. Wiley Ph.D. - Winner of the 2019 Buck-Whitney Award


Benjamin J. Wiley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Duke University. He received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 2003, and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle in 2007 with Professor Younan Xia. From 2007-2009, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University in the laboratory of George M. Whitesides. He joined the Department of Chemistry at Duke University as an Assistant Professor in 2009.

Professor Wiley is the recipient of the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, the CAREER award from the Nation Science Foundation, the Beilby Metal from the Royal Society of Chemistry, and has been recognized as a Highly Cited Researcher by Thomson Reuters in 2014 and 2018. Since 2018, Professor Wiley has been an Associate Editor of Nanoscale and Nanoscale Advances.

Professor Wiley’s research has focused on understanding the processes that drive anisotropic growth of metal nanostructures, and studying the structure-property relationships of metal nanostructures in the context of transparent conducting films, transparent electrocatalysts, stretchable conductors, and printable electronics. Over the last 10 years, his work has been reported in 52 publications. This work has also led to Professor Wiley being a founder of two startup companies.

Facet-Selective and Flow-Through Electrochemistry with Metal Nanowires


Metal nanowires are essentially sticks of metal with diameters usually in the tens of nanometers and lengths in the tens of micrometers. By controlling the dimensions of nanowires, one can control their properties in a wide range of applications, but why metal nanowires grow in solution is poorly understood. In the first half of my talk, I will show how measurements with single-crystal electrodes can be used to reveal the facet-selective chemistry that drives anisotropic growth of metal nanowires in solution-phase synthesis. Researchers have hypothesized that organic capping agents direct anisotropic growth of nanowires by specifically adsorbing to the sides of nanowires, leaving the ends open to atomic addition. I will show this hypothesis is incorrect for two different syntheses of Cu nanowires, and illustrate how the combination of single-crystal electrochemistry and density functional theory can uncover the facet-selective chemistry that drives anisotropic growth.

In the second half of my talk, I will show how a three-dimensional network of nanowires can be used to achieve unprecedented rates of electrochemical conversion. Achieving a high rate of electrochemical conversion at a high efficiency requires the use of flow-through porous electrodes, but the types of flow-through electrodes that are commercially available has not changed in ~40 years. Compared to carbon paper, which has the highest surface area of any commercially available flow-through electrode, a three-dimensional Cu nanowire electrode has 15 times more surface area and was 32 times more conductive. The Cu nanowire electrode could reduce Cu ions at a single-pass conversion of 70% at a flow rate 611 times greater than for carbon paper. For the intramolecular cyclization of 2,2′-bis(bromomethyl)-1,1′-biphenyl to 9,10-dihydrophenanthrene, the maximum productivity of the Cu nanowire electrode was 4 times higher than that of carbon paper. These results demonstrating the ability of nanowire electrodes to improve the productivity of organic electrosynthesis.   

Buck-Whitney Award – Eastern New York ACS

The Eastern New York section of the American Chemical Society (ENYACS) presents the Buck-Whitney Medal to recognize original work in pure or applied chemistry.

This award honors two of the section's deceased members, Johannes S. Buck, former Associate Research Director of the former Sterling-Winthrop Research Institute and, Willis R. Whitney, the first Director of the General Electric Research Laboratory. The nominee must have made outstanding contributions to chemistry and be a resident of North America. We are interested primarily in identifying a chemist whose work has not yet received a significant national or international award, and whose career will be advanced by such recognition. 

The awardee will be presented with a bronze medal and citation, an honorarium of $1000, and a travel grant to attend the Buck-Whitney Symposium at NERM 2019. The awardee must be available to give the award address at NERM 2019 on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019. The nominee's work can be in either experimental or theoretical aspects of any field of pure or applied chemistry.