Hal Van Ryswyk Research

John Stauffer Professor, analytical & materials chemistry
PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Solar energy conversion, self-assembling molecular systems, energy and electron transfer


My interests span analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, surface science, and solid-state materials science. Current research in the Van Ryswyk group centers around three major thrusts:

  • Dye-sensitized solar cells utilizing nanostructured zinc oxide photoanodes. We grow zinc oxide nanoparticles, nanorods, and nanotubes as the photoanode for use with a range of organic dye and quantum dot sensitizers to better understand the interactions of sensitizer and photoanode in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs).  The ultimate goal is to create low-cost photovoltaics that can be produced easily for large-area applications.
  • Conformal spraying of colloidal quantum dots. We explore the fundamental limitations of delivering a monolayer of quantum dots to uniformly and conformally cover surfaces textured on the nanometer length scale. We are interested in the materials science and physics of droplet drying on surfaces and the surface chemistry of colloidal quantum dots delivered via spraying in the context of producing high-efficiency solid-state solar cells on large-area substrates.
  • Lead levels in soil from vehicle emissions. Lead in soil from vehicle emissions is a leading cause of childhood lead poisoning in southern California. We developed a service-learning module for the general chemistry course at HMC wherein our first-year students work with local fifth- and sixth-grade students to determine lead levels in soil throughout our community. We utilized statistical sampling methods, GPS mapping, microwave-assisted digestion, and atomic absorption analysis in a preliminary study of soil at the Bernard Field Station adjacent to old U.S. Route 66 in Claremont.   We have worked with Vista del Valle, Oakmont, Mountain View, and Sumner elementary schools in the Claremont Unified School District to map the lead content of their playgrounds.