He said he is also very appreciative for the wonderful collaborators he found at ASU, including Karl Sieradzki, Cody Friesen, Vladimiro Mujica, Tarakeshwar Pilarisetty, Jeff Yarger, Greg Holland, Austen Angell, Gould, Ray Carpenter, Jimmy Liu, Candace Chan, Peter Crozier and Bob Nemanich. Buttry said, “All the big money I got was always collaborative with these really terrific colleagues that I had at ASU.” And he feels that these collaborations enabled science that could never have been done “without such a broad range of expertise, something ASU is well known for."

Buttry has published over 100 papers and 18 patents in the general areas of electrochemistry, interfacial chemistry, thin films, nanomaterials, sensors and battery chemistry. He made widely cited contributions on the use of the quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) to measure interfacial chemistry at electrodes, and the mechanisms of charge migration in organic thin-film devices.

“If you ask anybody what I've worked on, QCM work would be the first thing they would say,” Buttry said. “I learned all about it from a wonderful guy at IBM called Kay Kanazawa. I learned how to build one and how to interface it to electrochemical equipment and then, with their blessing, moved off to Wyoming and set one up and started working in that area.”

There were only a couple of instruments anywhere in the world doing the combination of QCM and electrochemistry at that time.

Buttry also worked on the development of a new generation of lithium and magnesium ion batteries. His most recent work focused on new methods for the controlled capture and release of carbon dioxide to ameliorate the effects of point source emitters such as power stations, for which he received a $3.75 million grant from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Buttry made significant service contributions to the fields of electrochemistry and materials chemistry, serving on the editorial board of the journal Langmuir and on the board of the Society for Electroanalytical Chemistry. He also helped to organize many important scientific meetings and conferences in his field, and he chaired the Gordon Research Conference on Electrochemistry.

Even though he is retiring, Buttry said he is extremely passionate about helping to solve our climate change problem. He will continue to work on carbon capture but says that there should be a fiercer urgency to tackle the problem, using an “all of the above” approach to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

Buttry has always enjoyed teaching both undergraduate and graduate students, and taught a graduate electrochemistry class online during the last couple of years. Ironically, he expressed that the dynamic of the class became a lot more personal over Zoom, with students interrupting and asking a lot of questions, which was extremely beneficial for everyone.

“Dan was an important member of the SMS faculty; his expertise was unique in that he was just as comfortable thinking about fundamental chemistry as the design of practical and workable applications of chemistry. He had a very deep understanding of basic chemistry, could talk meaningfully on any chemistry topic and was kind, generous and helpful. We wish him all the best in his retirement, but he will be truly missed,” said Gould.

Ian Gould contributed to this story.

Jenny Green

Clinical associate professor, School of Molecular Sciences