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About Carrick M Eggleston

Rocks and minerals can generally only interact with their surroundings via the chemistry that happens at their surfaces. For this reason, understanding the surface chemistry of minerals is key to understanding how geologic materials interact with, modulate, and control our environment. Mineral surfaces affect the composition of natural waters by partitioning solutes between solid and solution, catalysis, electron transfer (abiotic and otherwise), and simply by dissolving and growing.
Our research group has recently focused on interactions between minerals and microbes. At present we study the manner in which certain proteins control electron transfer between iron-reducing bacteria and ferric minerals. This field is fascinating, in part because of the interesting chemistry involved but also because Fe(III) is thought to be the most common respiratory electron acceptor after oxygen worldwide and because Fe(III) respiration is thought to have been among the earliest respiratory strategies used by life. In addition, these organisms still play a very important role in global iron and organic matter cycling, and are of interest because they have the ability in some cases to reduce and help immobilize contaminants such as uranium, chromium, and other metals. Currently, we have both NSF and DOE funding to pursue this research.
Most recently, our research has also turned to photoelectrochemistry, with two students working on the sunlight-driven oxidation of water on iron oxide photocatalytic films grown by chemical vapor deposition, and on strontium titanate films with the capability of photoelectrocemically reducing carbonate species to formate and methanol. These studies help us understand key photoelectrochemical redox processes in nature, as well as allow us to contribute to solar energy research. We believe that this will be an important future growth area.
I currently teach Geochemistry of Natural Waters (GEOL 4777/5777) and Geochemical Cycles and the Earth System (GEOL/ESSE 2000) in the fall semester, and either GEOL 1070 (an introductory Earth Science course specifically tailored for elementary education majors) or a seminar on semiconducting minerals in the spring semester.


Present Faculty Member, University of Wyoming


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