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Raymond Schaak

DuPont Professor of Materials Chemistry


Professional Appointments and Affiliations

DuPont Professor of Materials Chemistry

Professor of Chemical Engineering 


523 Chemistry Building

University Park, PA 16802


(814) 865-8600


B.S. Lebanon Valley College, 1998

Ph.D. Penn State University, 2001

Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton University, 2001 - 2003

Honors and Awards

NSF CAREER Award, 2006

Beckman Young Investigator Award, 2006

DuPont Young Professor Grant, 2006

Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, 2007

Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, 2007

National Fresenius Award, 2011

Penn State Faculty Scholar Medal in the Physical Sciences, 2012

ACS Inorganic Nanoscience Award, 2016

Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2017


The Schaak group’s main research interests are in the general area of synthetic inorganic nanochemistry.  We identify target materials systems that underpin practical, relevant, and emerging applications, but for which a fundamentally interesting synthetic bottleneck precludes their formation.  We then seek to develop new synthetic tools that overcome these challenges, both to generate and study our specific target materials and also to provide conceptually new synthetic approaches that are broadly applicable.  Our targets, materials systems, and applications are diverse, spanning metals, metal alloys, metal oxides, metal chalcogenides, metal phosphides, metal carbides, and metal borides for use in catalysis, photonics, magnetic separations, and energy conversion and storage.  Current research projects include (a) discovering and studing new non-noble-metal catalysts, comprised of inexpensive and Earth-abundant elements, for solar energy conversion and fuel cell applications, (b) developing a “total synthesis” toolkit for the construction of multi-functional hybrid inorganic nanostructures, and (c) synthesizing and studying the formation pathways of metal chalcogenide nanostructures with useful catalytic, magnetic, and optical properties.

Selected Publications

L.T. Alameda, R.W. Lord, J.A. Barr, P. Moradifar, Z.P. Metzger, B.C. Steimle, C.F. Holder, N. Alem, S.B. Sinnott, R.E. Schaak, R.E. “Multi-Step Topochemical Pathway to Metastable Mo2AlB2 and Related Two-Dimensional Nanosheet Heterostructures,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 10852-10861.

J.L. Fenton, B.C. Steimle, R.E. Schaak, "Exploiting Crystallographic Regioselectivity to Engineer Asymmetric Three-Component Colloidal Nanoparticle Isomers using Partial Cation Exchange Reactions," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018140, 6771-6775.

J.L. Fenton, B.C. Steimle, R.E. Schaak, "Tunable Intraparticle Frameworks for Creating Complex Heterostructured Nanoparticle Libraries," Science 2018360, 513-517.

Y. Sun, K. Fujisawa, Z. Lin, Y. Lei, J.S. Mondschein, M. Terrones, R.E. Schaak, “Low-Temperature Solution Synthesis of Transition Metal Dichalcogenide Alloys with Tunable Optical Properties,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017139, 11096-11105.

J.L. Fenton, R.E. Schaak, “Structure-Selective Cation Exchange in the Synthesis of Zincblende MnS and CoS Nanocrystals,” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 201756, 6464-6467.

J.F. Callejas, C.G. Read, C.W. Roske, N.S. Lewis, R.E. Schaak, “Synthesis, Characterization, and Properties of Metal Phosphide Catalysts for the Hydrogen-Evolution Reaction,” Chem. Mater. 2016, 28, 6017-6044.

A.E. Powell, J.M. Hodges, R.E. Schaak, “Preserving Both Anion and Cation Sublattice Features during a Nanocrystal Cation Exchange Reaction: Synthesis of Metastable Wurtzite-Type CoS and MnS,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016138, 471-474.

J.M. Hodges, J.R. Morse, M.E. Williams, R.E. Schaak, “Microscopic Investigation of Chemoselectivity in Ag-Pt-Fe3O4 Heterotrimer Formation: Mechanistic Insights and Implications for Controlling High-Order Hybrid Nanoparticle Morphology,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015137, 15493-15500.

E.J. Popczun, J.R. McKone, C.G. Read, A.J. Biacchi, A.M. Wiltrout, N.S. Lewis, R.E. Schaak, “Nanostructured Nickel Phosphide as an Electrocatalyst for the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013135, 9267-9270.

M.R. Buck and R.E. Schaak, “Emerging Strategies for the Total Synthesis of Inorganic Nanostructures,” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.201352, 6154-6178.