UCSB Engineering

Eric McFarland


Chemical Engineering

Eric McFarland


Deparment of Chemical Engineering
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106

tel: (805) 893-4343

Personal web site

Research Description

Our research is focused on understanding and developing new catalysts for the production of fuel. We utilize novel synthesis and characterization methods with emphasis on developing high-throughput experimentation technologies for combinatorial materials research. The group is presently using combinatorial chemistry to investigate new photocatalytic systems for energy production and investigating fundamental chemical processes on atomically doped oxide catalysts.


After his undergraduate studies at U.C. Berkeley, McFarland moved to M.I.T. where he completed his Ph.D. investigating the measurement of complex reaction kinetics with nuclear magnetic resonance. While a graduate student, McFarland was a member of a team at Field Effects Inc. that designed and built the first permanent ring magnet based magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system. He received an M.D. from Harvard Medical School and, after post-graduate training in general surgery, worked part-time in the Emergency Medicine. He joined the Department of Nuclear Engineering at MIT and then later moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara where his research interests moved to chemical kinetics and catalysis specifically related to energy production. He has broad ranging research interests with direct links to industrial problems and has published over 130 papers and is the inventor on over 25 patents. In 1996, during a leave of absence from the University, McFarland was a founding technical Director of Symyx Technologies, a technology company which developed novel systems and methods for new materials discovery. He was a part of the core management team as the company grew from 3 employees to over 150 and eventually had a successful public offering. He has been on the Board of Directors of several chemical and technology companies and has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of GRT Inc. a start-up company developing a new process for the production of liquid fuels and chemicals from natural gas.


  • NSF Presidential Young Investigator, 1995

Selected Publications

  • Automated Electrochemical Synthesis and Photoelectrochemical Characterization of Zn_1-xCo_xO Thin Films for Solar Hydrogen Production, J. Combinatorial Chemistry, 7(2), 2005, 264-271, T.F. Jaramillo, S.H. Baeck, A. Kleiman-Shwarsctein, and E.W. McFarland
  • Benzene Formation at 70°C by Coupling of Propylene on Supported Pd Nanoclusters, Angew Chemie, 44, 2005, 4735-4739, J. Chou and E. McFarland
  • Combinatorial Electrochemical Synthesis and Screening of Pt-WO_3 Catalysts for Electro-oxidation of Methanol, Rev. Sci. Instru, 76, 1, 2005, S. Jayaraman, S.-H. Baeck, T. Jaramillo, A. Kleiman-Shwarsctein, and E. McFarland
  • Electrolithographic Investigations of the Hydrophilic Channels in Nafion Membranes, J. Phys. Chem. B, 109, 2005, 3252-3256, J. Chou, E.W. McFarland, and H. Metiu
  • Natural Gas Conversion to Liquid Fuels in a Zone Reactor, Catalysis Today, 106(1-4), 2005, 301-304, A. Breed, M.F. Doherty, S. Gadewar , P. Grosso, I.M. Lorkovic, E.W. McFarland, and M.J. Weiss
  • Synthesis and Characterization of Pt-WO_3 as Methanol Oxidation Catalysts for Fuel Cells, J. Physical Chemistry B, 109(48), 2005, 22958-22966, S. Jayaraman, T.F. Jaramillo, S.-H. Baeck, and E.W. McFarland
  • A General Integrated Process for Synthesizing Olefin Oxides, Chem. Comm, 18, 2004, 2100-2101, S.L. Sun, I.M. Lorkovic, M. Weiss, J.H. Sherman, G.D. Stucky, P.C. Ford, and E.W. McFarland
  • Chemically Induced Charge Carrier Production and Transport in Pd/SiO_2/n-Si(111) Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Schottky Diodes, Phys. Rev. B, 70, (11), 2004, 115322, B. Roldan Cuenya, H. Nienhaus, and Eric W. McFarland
  • Parallel Synthesis and Characterization of Photoelectrochemically and Electrochromically Active Tungsten Molybdenum Oxides, Chem. Commun., 4, 2004, 390-391, S.-H. Baeck, T.F. Jaramillo, D.-H. Jeong, E.W. McFarland
  • A Photovoltaic Device Structure, Nature, 421, 2003, 616-618, E. McFarland and J. Tang