Dr. McKone earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and music from Saint Olaf College in Northfield, MN in 2008. He holds a PhD in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where he was advised byHarry Gray and Nathan Lewis. From 2013 to 2016, Dr. McKone was a postdoctoral
researcher in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell
University under Héctor D. Abruña and Francis J. DiSalvo.
In the Fall of 2016 he joined the faculty in the
Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at Pitt. Dr. McKone’s research
group studies fundamentals and applications of electrochemistry,
photochemistry, and solid-state/materials chemistry with an emphasis on
renewable energy and sustainability.
Postdoctoral Research Associate (2013–2016)Cornell University, Ithaca NYResearch mentors: Héctor D. Abruña and Francis J. DiSalvoStudying materials and methods for electrochemical energy conversionPhD Chemistry (2008–2013)California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CADOE Office of Science Graduate Research FellowResearch advisors: Nathan S. Lewis and Harry B. GrayThesis Title: Earth-Abundant Materials for Solar Hydrogen GenerationB.A. Chemistry and Music (Summa cum laude, 2004–2008)Saint Olaf College, Northfield MNSynthesized transition metal dithiolene complexes with Prof. Gary Miessler
Electrochemistry, catalysis, energy, sustainability, materials
DOE EERE SunShot Postdoctoral Research Award (2013–2015)Two-year independent research award to support work on advanced solar technologiesCaltech Milton and Francis Clauser Prize (Spring 2013)Top graduation award for the most exemplary PhD thesisCaltech Demetriades-Tsafka-Kokkalis Prize in Renewable Energy (Spring 2013)Annual award for best thesis, publication, or discovery in renewable energyCaltech Everhart Lecture Award (Spring 2013)Recognizes dynamic speaking skills and research impactDOE Office of Science Graduate Research Fellowship (2010–2013)Inaugural cohort; supported three years of graduate workSt. Olaf Buntrock Regent’s Scholarship (2004–2008)Phi Beta Kappa (2007)National Merit Scholarship (2004)
2016 Cornell University Materials Science and Engineering Spring Lecture SeriesInvited Lecture: “Two-Dimensional Semiconductors for Solar Energy Storage”2016 Gordon Conference on ElectrochemistryPoster: “The Solar Flow Battery: Photoelectrochemistry for Flexible Solar Power”2015 AICHE Annual MeetingOral Presentation: “The Solar Flow Battery: A Hybrid Device for Base-Load Solar Electricity”2015 University of Pittsburgh Fall Lecture SeriesInvited Lecture: “Development of Earth-Abundant Hydrogen Evolution Electrocatalysts”2015 University of Chicago Fall Lecture SeriesInvited Lecture: “Solar-Driven Hydrogen Production Using Earth-Abundant Materials”2015 Cornell Center for Technology New Business and Emerging Technology ShowcasePoster: “The Solar Flow Battery: Low cost solar energy on demand”2015 Assorted University Spring Lecture SeriesInvited Lecture: “Two-Dimensional Semiconductors for Solar Energy Storage” Locations: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin at Madison, University of California at San Diego, University of California at Santa Barbara2015 Spring ACS National Conference – Denver, COOral Presentation: “Unassisted Energy Storage Using N-Type WSe2 Semiconductors”Invited Lecture: “A Postdoc’s Perspective on Use-Inspired Academic Research”2014 Assorted University Fall Lecture SeriesInvited Lecture: “Two-Dimensional Semiconductors for Solar Energy Storage”Locations: Lake Forest College, University of Washington, Johns Hopkins University, University of Minnesota, University of Michigan, Purdue University2014 Energy Materials Center at Cornell SymposiumPoster: “WSe2 Photoelectrodes for Solar Flow Batteries”2014 UC Irvine Solar Lunch Seminar SeriesInvited Lecture: “Overcoming Renewable Energy Challenges with Electrochemistry”2014 Spring Materials Research Society MeetingInvited Lecture: “Operando Methods for Characterization of Fuel Cell and Battery Materials” (on behalf of Héctor Abruña)2014 DOE EERE SunShot SummitPoster: “Chalcogenide Semiconductors for Solar Flow Batteries”2013 Saint Olaf College Undergraduate Seminar SeriesInvited Lecture: “Energy, Chemistry, and Academia”2013 Caltech Alumni Association Seminar DayInvited Lecture: “21st Century Energy: Solar Storage in Hydrogen Gas”2013 Caltech Everhart Lecture SeriesHonorary Lecture: “21st Century Energy: Solar Storage in Hydrogen Gas”2013 Spring ACS National Conference – New Orleans, LAOral Presentation: “Efficient and Stable Photoelectrochemical Energy Conversion using p-type WSe2 Photocathodes”2013 Energy Materials Center at Cornell Seminar SeriesOral Presentation: “Earth-abundant Materials for Solar Hydrogen Generation”2012 Southern California Inorganic Photochemistry ConferenceOral Presentation: "Tungsten Diselenide – A Semiconductor Photocathode for Hydrogen Evolution"2012 Gordon Research Conference on ElectrochemistryPoster: “Hydrogen Evolution from a Non-Noble Transition Metal Alloy”2011 Spring Materials Research Society MeetingOral Presentation: “Electrocatalysts for Hydrogen Evolution on Integrated Semiconductor Devices”2010 Southern California Inorganic Photochemistry ConferenceOral Presentation: “Photoelectrochemical Hydrogen Generation From Silicon Microwires”2010 GCEP Research SymposiumPoster: “Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting: Silicon Microwire Photocathodes for Hydrogen Evolution”
Electrochemical techniquesCyclic voltammetry; chronoamperometry chronocoulometry; hydrodynamic voltammetry (rotating disc and flow-through geometries); electrochemical impedance spectroscopy; electrodeposition; stripping voltammetry; electropolishing; semiconductor photo-electrochemistry; micro-electrochemistry; scanning electrochemical microscopyMaterials synthesisPowder synthesis; colloidal nanoparticle synthesis; chemical vapor transport crystallization; melt crystallizationBulk materials characterization Powder XRD; thermogravimetry; porosimetry; four-point probe resistivityMaterials deposition and processingSputtering; evaporation; atomic-layer deposition; chemical vapor deposition; etching; photolithography; powder slurry preparation; drop- and spray-coating; doctor blade (tape) casting; electrophoretic depositionInorganic/organometallic synthesisAir-free techniques; solution recrystallization; thin-layer and column chromatographyMolecular CharacterizationNMR, FTIR, mass spectrometry Surface AnalysisX-ray photoelectron spectroscopy; Auger spectroscopy; contact-angle measurementsSurface probe methodsProfilometry, atomic-force microscopyElectron microscopyScanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopyBeamline techniquesWide-angle X-ray scattering; grazing-incidence X-ray scattering; X-ray absorption spectroscopies (EXAFS and XANES); crystal truncation rod scatteringMetallographyLapping and polishing, contrast etching, optical microscopyOptical spectroscopiesUV/VIS spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy; spectroscopic ellipsometry