The Boyd Research Group is developing materials for the photocatalytic purification of water.  Very simply put, we utilize ultraviolet light to activate a photocatalytic material that removes contaminants from water.  We have worked with contaminants ranging from heavy metals to bacteria and algal toxins.  Students working on these projects learn both analytical and physical chemistry techniques, and are also exposed to the rapidly expanding area of materials development on the nanometer scale.  We use titanium dioxide (also found in commercial products like toothpaste, powdered sugar donuts, and latex paint) as our photocatalyst and adhere it firmly to acrylic plastic support materials.  Undergraduate students in the Boyd group have secured one US patent, published 8 peer reviewed publications, written two invited book chapters, authored and defended 10 undergraduate research theses, and presented at numerous national and regional conferences all over the country.



Boyd Group researchers usually start in a spring semester with literature research and background-development work.  The bulk of the research is usually done in the following summer during a full-time summer research fellowship.  The ensuing fall and spring semesters are spent finishing up experimental “loose ends”, writing up the work in thesis and publishable forms, and presenting the work both on and off campus.  Boyd group alumni have generally gone on to graduate programs in chemistry and biochemistry, and have used their undergraduate research and presentation experience as an important stepping stone to their graduate school success.


Adam C. Hartley, Joseph B. Moss, Kyle J. Keesling Jr, Nathanael J. Moore, Justin D. Glover and Joel E. Boyd.  Water Science & Technology75.6, 1362-1369, 2017.  “PMMA-titania floating macrospheres for the photocatalytic remediation of agro-pharmaceutical wastewater.”

Justin D. Glover, Adam C. Hartley, Reid A. Windmiller, Naoma S. Nelsen, and Joel E. Boyd.  Invited book chapter for publication in Visible-Light-Active Photocatalysis: Nanostructured Catalyst Design, Mechanisms, and Applications; Wiley-Interscience Publishers.  Srabanti Ghosh, PhD, editor.  “An overview of solar photocatalytic reactor designs and their broader impact on the environment.”  Anticipated publication spring, 2018.

Justin D. Glover, Autumn G. Horne, Jeron D. Crawford, and Joel E. Boyd.  International Journal of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering, special issue Photocatalysis Materials: Future Trends3:135, 2017.  “Improved fabrication method for porous PMMA-titania composite photocatalytic materials.”

Benjamin D. Stewart, Lee G. Andrews, Bria S. Pelletier, Clyde A. Daly Jr., and Joel E. Boyd.  Journal of Water Process Engineering8, 179-185, 2015.  “Porous PMMA-TiO2 composites:  A step towards more sustainable photocatalysis.”

Jonathan M. Carey, Tonia M. Perez, Elida G. Arsiaga, Luke H. Loetscher, and Joel E. Boyd, Water Science & Technology63, 1130-1136 (2011).  “The Photocatalytic Enhancement of Acrylic and PET Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) Bottles.”

Joel E. Boyd, Lori A. Pretzer, Philip J. Carlson and Stephanie L. Skiles.  Invited book chapter published in Handbook of Photocatalysts: Preparation, Structure and Applications. Nova Science Publishers.  Geri K. Castello ed.  “Metal Oxide Deposition Strategies for Photocatalytic Water Purification.”  pp. 323-340.

Leah H. Quisenberry, Luke H. Loetscher, and Joel E. Boyd, Catalysis Communications, 10, 1417-1422 (2009).  “Catalytic Inactivation of Bacteria Using Pd-modified Titania.”

Luke H. Loetscher, Jonathan M. Carey, Stephanie L. Skiles, Vanessa M. Carey, and Joel E. Boyd. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 48, 4697-4702 (2009).  “Titania-Acrylic Coil Reactor for Photocatalytic Water Purification and Sterilization.”

Lori A. Pretzer, Philip J. Carlson, and Joel E. Boyd. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry, 200, 246-253 (2008).  “The Effect of Pt Oxidation State and Concentration on the Photocatalytic Removal of Aqueous Ammonia with Pt-modified Titania.”

Philip J. Carlson, Lori A. Pretzer, and Joel E. Boyd.  Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 46, 7970-7976 (2007).  “Solvent Deposition of Titanium Dioxide on Acrylic for Photocatalytic Application.”


Joel E. Boyd, Philip J. Carlson, and Lori A. Pretzer; “Composite Catalytic Material and Process for Manufacture of Such Material”; US Patent No. 7,858,552.  December 28, 2010.