Freund, Michael

Professor and Head of Chemistry

Personal Overview

Dr. Freund was born and raised in Florida where he received his B.Sc. in Chemistry from Florida Atlantic University in 1987 developing his interest in electrochemistry and his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Florida in 1992 where he began to explore new electronic materials. Subsequently he moved to the California Institute of Technology where he became a Postdoctoral Fellow and helped to initiate a multi-investigator interdisciplinary research program on the development olfactory-inspired sensor arrays that broadened to include NASA and DARPA. In 1994 he began his academic career as an Assistant Professor in Chemistry at Lehigh University where he developed research programs in sensing and electronic materials with strong collaborations with Electrical Engineering. In 1999, he was recruited back to Caltech to direct the Molecular Materials Research Center in the Beckman Institute and in 2003 to Canada where he was awarded a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair and helped to establish the Manitoba Institute for Materials as Director. During his time in Canada his research program expanded to include solar fuels (in collaboration with Caltech) in addition to sensing and electronics and he was responsible for securing over $30M in research and infrastructure funding as lead or co-principle investigator.

Educational Background

B. S., Chemistry, Florida Atlantic University (Advisor: Frank Schultz) 1987

Ph. D., Analytical Chemistry, University of Florida (Advisor: Anna Brajter-Toth) 1992
Title: Surface Microstructure and its Effect on Electrode Response

Postdoctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology (Advisor Nathan Lewis) 1994

Recognition & Awards

Tier 1 Canada Research Chair                                  2013
University Merit Award for Research and Service     2013
University Outreach Award                                        2012
University Merit Award for Research and Service     2009
Tier 2 Canada Research Chair renewal                    2008
University Merit Award for Research and Service     2008
University Merit Award for Research and Service     2004
Tier 2 Canada Research Chair                                  2003 

Professional Experience

Professor of Chemistry and Canada Research Chair, University of Manitoba (2002–2015)

Director of the Manitoba Institute for Materials, University of Manitoba (2010 –2014)

Director of the Molecular Materials Center, Beckman Institute, California Institute of Technology (1999-2002)

Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Lehigh University (1994 –1999)

Current Research

Membranes for Artificial Photosynthetic Systems

Given the scale of projected energy needs as well as the rapid climate change associated with growing CO2 levels in the atmosphere, there is a major push by governments to increase the rate of innovation and discovery in the area of carbon-neutral solar fuel production. For example, the US National Science Foundation has established a Solar Energy Initiative and the European Science Foundation has established the EuroSolarFuels program to support interdisciplinary efforts to address solar energy and solar fuels. The US Department of Energy has made major investments to establish facilities (e.g., for testing and translating innovations in the field with a focus on scaling up and enabling. Dr. Freund’s group, which includes collaborators in Electrical and Computer Engineering, is focusing on the development of membranes will likely play a key role in artificial photosynthetic systems. This effort includes the design and synthesis of new materials as well as the study of their electronic properties and their integration with light absorbers and catalysts required for functional devices.

  1. M. McDonald, S. Ardo, N. S. Lewis and M. S. Freund: “Use of Bipolar Membranes for Maintaining Steady-state pH Gradients in Membrane-supported Solar-driven Water-splitting” ChemSusChem, 7: 3021-3027 (2014) 
  2. M. McDonald and M. S. Freund: “Graphene Oxide as a Water Dissociation Catalyst in the Bipolar Membrane Interfacial Layer” ACS Appl. Mat. & Interfaces, 6: 13790-13797 (2014) 
  3. J. P. Bruce, S. Asgari, S. Ardo, N. S. Lewis, D. R. Oliver and M. S. Freund: “Measurement of the Electrical Resistance of n-type Si Microwire/p-type Conducting Polymer Junctions for Use in Artificial Photosynthesis” J. Phys. Chem. C. ASAP, DOI: 10.1021/jp509211k (2014) 
  4. I. Yahyaie, S. Ardo, D. Oliver, D. J. Thomson, M. S. Freund and N. S. Lewis: “Comparison Between the Electrical Junction Properties of H-terminated and Methyl-terminated Individual Si Microwire/Polymer Assemblies for Photoelectrochemical Fuel Production” Energy Environ. Sci. 5: 9789-9794 (2012) 
  5. I. Yahyaie, K. McEleney, M. Walter, D. Oliver, D. J. Thomson, M. S. Freund and N. S. Lewis: “Characterization of the Electrical Properties of Individual p-Si Microwire/Polymer/n-Si Microwire Assemblies” J. Phys. Chem. C. 115: 24945-24950 (2012) 
  6. S. L. McFarlane, B. A. Day, K. McEleney, M. S. Freund and N. S. Lewis: “Designing Electronic/Ionic Conducting Membranes for Artificial Photosynthesis” Energy Environ. Sci., 4: 1700-1703 (2011) Cover article

Polymer-Based Electronics
The widespread focus on organic and molecular approaches to electronics has been driven by the promise that new mechanisms may overcome current limitations of silicon-based devices. In particular, silicon devices based on capacitive and field effects are dominated by interfacial processes that are currently limited by defects and scaling issues. However, molecular devices currently suffer from issues of reproducibility that are in part a result of the incorporation of organic materials into a fairly aggressive lithographic process. Dr. Freund’s research program explores well-defined mechanisms for redox-driven memory and electronics based on field-driven ion motion. By designing molecular composite architectures that distribute charges within dopable systems we are opening up new approaches for the design of polymer-based electronics and memory. Working with collaborators in Electrical and Computer Engineering and industry his group is working on producing functional memory based on these new principles.

  1. I. Yahyaie, T. Khaper, P. Giesbrecht and M. S. Freund: “CMOS-Compatible Polymer-based Memory Structures on Copper Substrates” J. Electrochem. Soc. 161: D367-D371 (2014) 
  2. M. R. Kumar, G. M. A. Rahman, D. J. Thomson and M. S. Freund: “Controlling Volatility in Solid-State, Redox-based Memory Devices using Heterojunction Barriers to Ion Transport.” Chem. Com. 48: 9409-9411 (2012) 
  3. M. Pilapil, R. G. Pillai, M. S Freund, J. H. Zhao and D. J. Thomson: “Scaling and Anisotropic Conduction in Electrochemically Deposited Polypyrrole Hybrid Junctions” IEEE Electron Device Letters, 32: 815-817 (2011) 
  4. J. H. Zhao, D. J. Thomson, M. Pilapil, R. G. Pillai, G. M. A. Rahman and M. S Freund: “Field Enhanced Charge Carrier Reconfiguration in Electronic and Ionic-coupled Dynamic Polymer Resistive Memory” Nanotechnology, 21: 134003 (2010) 
  5. G. M. A. Rahman, J. H. Zhao, D. J. Thomson and M. S. Freund: “Compensation Doping in Conjugated Polymers: Engineering Dopable Heterojunctions for Modulating Conductivity in the Solid State” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131: 15600-15601 (2009) 
  6. J. H. Zhao, D. J. Thomson, R. Gopalakrishna Pillai and M. S. Freund: “Dynamic Resistive Crossbar Memory Based on Conjugated Polymer Composite” Appl. Phys. Lett. 94: 092113 (2009) 
  7. R. Gopalakrishna Pillai, J. H. Zhao, M. S. Freund and D. J. Thomson: “Field-induced Carrier Generation in Conjugated Polymer Semiconductors for Dynamic, Asymmetric Junctions” Adv. Mat., 20: 49-53 (2008)

Integrated Circuit, Chemical Sensor Arrays
The invention of the CCD chip has revolutionized the interface between technology and its environment. By pixilating optical images of its surroundings, devices can use sophisticated imaging processing and pattern recognition algorithms to perform increasingly sophisticated tasks associated with visual perception. The creation of a chemically diverse sensor array chip that mimics the olfactory system could provide the next revolution in sensory input for technology. In collaboration with groups in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Freund’s group is working on CMOS circuitry design and new methods for creating large numbers of chemically diverse polymer sensing materials on the chips to significantly expand the ways in which technology interacts and functions.

  1. M. R. Kumar, S. Ryman, Md. Obaej Tareq, D. Buchanan and M. S. Freund: “Chemical Diversity in Electrochemically Deposited Conducting Polymer-based Sensor Arrays” Sensors & Actuators: B. 202: 600–608 (2014) 
  2. Md. Obaej Tareq, D. A. Buchanan, M. R. Kumar, M. S Freund: “An Extended Floating Gate Gas Sensor using Polypyrrole as a Sensing Polymer” 2012 Sixth International Conference on Sensing Technology (ICST), DOI: 10.1109/ICSensT.2012.6461686

Wireless and MEMS Sensing
The coupling of chemical sensing with wireless technology has the potential to impact a range of industrial sectors including food safety. For example, by integrating inexpensive sensing elements into food packaging will enable continuous monitoring of food throughout storage, transportation and delivery. Alternatively, wireless sensors can be distributed in large storage containers such as grain bins to identify sources and location of spoilage, enabling mitigation and reducing losses. In collaboration with researchers in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Freund’s group is developing novel approaches for integrating variable resistive chemical sensors into circuits that can be monitored wirelessly.

  1. S. Bhadra, W. Blunt, C. Dynowski, M. B. McDonald, D. J. Thomson, M. S. Freund, N. Cicek and G. E. Bridges: "Embeddable Coupled Coil Sensor for Wireless pH Monitoring in a Bioreactor" IEEE Trans. Instrum. Meas. 63: 1337-1346 (2014) 
  2. S. Bhadra, D. Tan, G. E. Bridges, D. J. Thomson and M. S. Freund: “A Wireless Passive Sensor for Temperature Compensated Remote pH Monitoring” IEEE Sensor J. 13: 2428-2436 (2013) 
  3. T. A. Emadi, C. Shafai, D. J. Thomson, M. S. Freund, N. White and D. S. Jayas: “Polymer-Based Chemicapacitor Sensor for 1-Octanol and Relative Humidity Detections at Different Temperatures and Frequencies” IEEE Sensor J. 13: 519-527 (2013) 
  4. S. Bhadra, G. E. Bridges, D. J. Thomson and M. S. Freund: “Electrode Potential-Based Coupled Coil Sensor for Remote pH Monitoring” IEEE Sensor J. 11: 2813-2819 (2011)

Selected Publications

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