Directory: Faculty

Henry S. White

Henry S. White


Distinguished Professor

B.S., University of North Carolina, 1978
Ph.D., University of Texas, 1983
Postdoctoral Associate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1983-84

Phone: (801) 585-6256

Office: B423 HEB-S


Research Group

Interfacial and Bioanalytical Chemistry (IBAC)


Activities & Awards

  • Utah Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology, 2014
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2011
  • Fellow in the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2011
  • Carl Wagner Award, The Electrochemical Society, 2010
  • American Chemical Society Utah Award, 2008
  • W.W. Epstein Outstanding Educator Award, U of Utah, 2007
  • Grahame Award of the Electrochemical Society, 2005
  • President, Society of Electroanalytical Chemistry, 2003-2005
  • Associate Editor, Journal of the American Chemical Society
  • ACS Analytical Division Award in Electrochemistry, 2004
  • University of Utah, Distinguished Research Award, 2004
  • Students Choice Teaching Award, Associated Students of the U of Utah, 2003
  • Faraday Medal, Royal Society of Chemistry, London, 2002
  • Professeur Invité de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France, 2002
  • Chair, Gordon Research Conference on Electrochemistry, 2002
  • Reilley Award of the Society of Electroanalytical Chemistry, 2000
  • Shell Chair of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, U of Minnesota, 1992
  • Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in Chemistry, 1987
  • McKnight Land-Grant Professorship, University of Minnesota, 1987
  • Shell Faculty Career Initiation Award, 1985
  • Gilbert H. Ayres Award, University of Texas, 1982

Research Interests


Theoretical i-V curves for ultra-thin batteries.

My colleagues and I are engaged in both experimental and theoretical aspects of electrochemistry, with diverse connections to analytical, biological, physical, and materials chemistry. Much of our current research is focused on electrochemistry in microscale and nanoscale domains.

Coulomb Transport in Ultrathin-Layer Electrochemical Cells. Batteries with very high energy and high power density can be achieved by reconfiguring the electrode materials into 3-D architectures. The general strategy requires an approach to design cell structures that maximize energy density while maintaining very short ion transport distances to maintain high power. We are currently investigating electrochemical cells comprising two electrodes separated by ultra-thin (~10 nm) layers of electrolyte; our calculations have demonstrated that overlap of the electrical double layers results in molecular transport being driven by the surface charge of the electrodes, a phenomenon we refer to as "coulomb transport." Verification of coulomb transport in experimental nanometer-scale electrochemical cells is being investigated for applications in batteries and chemical sensors.

Nanopore Based Chemical Analyses. We have developed several new types of chemical sensors based on glass and quartz nanopore membranes and nanopore electrodes. These membranes and electrodes are constructed in our lab, and contain a single conical shaped pore with an orifice as small as 2 nm. The nanopore allows controlled transport of ions, molecules and particles between two solutions, or from a solution to an electrode. The nanopores can be modified in many different ways to develop sensors. In one application we deposit ion-sensitive materials at the bottom of the nanopore to fabricate potentiometric electodes. In other


Glass nanopore membrane for ion channel recordings.

applications, the nanopore membranes are used for counting and shape analysis of nanoparticles in the sub-100 nm range. Nanopore membranes are also useful as a support structure for lipid bilayers used in ion channel recordings. The small geometrical area of the bilayer results in exceptional mechanical stability and lower device capacitance. Ion channel recordings using glass nanopores are employed for small molecule detetion and structural analysis of biopolymers, i.e., detection of damaged DNA.

Electrochemistry at Electrodes Approaching the Size of Single Molecules. Our lab has a long-standing interest in the kinetics of redox reactions at nanoscale metal electrodes (>2 nm radius) imbedded in an insulating matrix. The rates of redox reactions can be significantly altered when molecular diffusion lengths approach the charateristic lengths of the electrial double layers of the electrode or the insulating support material, or when the redox molecule is confined between closely spaced electrodes.

Magnetic Field Effects on Electrochemical Reactions. Measurements are made using ultramicroelectrodes to enhance the Lorentzian and gradient forces that developed at the electrode/electrolyte interface during electron-transfer processes. Solution-phase ion-trapping and focusing techniques for analytical applications are also being developed.

Henry White is a member of the Nano Institute of Utah.

topSelected Publications

  • Matt K. Petersen, Revati Kumar, Henry S. White, and Gregory A. Voth, “A Computationally Efficient Treatment of Polarizable Electrochemical Cells Held at a Constant Potential,” J. Phys. Chem. C 116, 4903–4912 (2012). • Wen-Jie Lan and Henry S. White, “Diffusional Motion of a Particle Translocating through a Nanopore,” ACS Nano 6, 1757–1765 (2012).
  • Deric A. Holden, John J. Watkins, and Henry S. White, “Resistive-Pulse Detection of Multilamellar Liposomes,” Langmuir, 28, 7572–7577 (2012).
  • Sean R. German, Long Luo, Henry S. White, and Tony L. Mega, “Controlling Nanoparticle Dynamics in Conical Nanopores,” J. Phys. Chem. C, 117, 703–711 (2012).
  • Na An, Aaron M. Fleming, Henry S. White, and Cynthia J. Burrows, “Crown Ether–Electrolyte Interactions Permit Nanopore Detection of Individual DNA Abasic Sites in Single Molecules,” PNAS, 109, 11504-11509, 2012.
  • Qian Jin, Aaron M. Fleming, Cynthia J. Burrows, and Henry S. White, “Unzipping Kinetics of Duplex DNA Containing Oxidized Lesions in an α-Hemolysin Nanopore,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 134, 11006–11011 (2012).
  • Long Luo, Deric A. Holden, Wen-Jie Lan, and Henry S. White, “Tunable Negative Differential Electrolyte Resistance in a Conical Nanopore in Glass,” ACS Nano 6, 6507-6514 (2012).
  • Sebastian Proch, Mark Wirth, Henry S. White, and Scott L. Anderson, “Strong effects of cluster size and air exposure on oxygen reduction and carbon oxidation electrocatalysis by size-selected Ptn (n ≤ 11) on glassy carbon electrodes, J. Am. Chem. Soc.,” 135, 3073–3086 (2013).
  • Long Luo and Henry S. White, “Electrogeneration of Single Nanobubbles at Sub-50-nm-Radius Platinum Nanodisk Electrodes,” Langmuir, 29, 11169–11175 (2013).
  • Qian Jin, Aaron M. Fleming, Robert P. Johnson, Yun Ding, Cynthia J. Burrows, and Henry S. White “Base-Excision Repair Activity of Uracil-DNA Glyocosylase Monitored Using the Latch Zone of a-Hemolysin,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 135, 19347–19353 (2013).
  • Qian Jin, Aaron M. Fleming, Yun Ding, Cynthia J. Burrows, and Henry S. White, “Structural Destabilization of DNA Duplexes Containing Single Base Lesions Investigated by Nanopore Force Measurements,” Biochemistry, 52 (45), 7870–7877 (2013).
  • Frances S. Ligler and Henry S. White, “Nanomaterials in Analytical Chemistry”, Anal. Chem., 2013, 85, 11161–11162 (2013).
  • Wen-Jie Lan, Clemens Kubeil, Jie-Wen Xiong, Andreas Bund, and Henry S. White. “ Effect of Surface Charge on the Resistive Pulse Waveshape during Particle Translocation through Glass Nanopores”, J. Phys. Chem. C., in press (2014)
  • Long Luo, Sean R. German, Wenjie Lan, Deric A. Holden, Tony L. Mega, Henry S. White “Resistive Pulse Analysis of Nanoparticles, Annual Review, in press, 2014.
  • Long Luo, Deric A. Holden, Henry S. White, “Chemical Sensing Based on Negative Differential Electrolyte Resistance in a Solid-State Nanopore”, ACS Nano, submitted Jan. 2014.