Rachel Licht
Rachel Licht, Ph.D.
Senior Associate
Polymer Science & Materials Chemistry
Menlo Park

A chemical engineer by training, Dr. Licht’s expertise is in the areas of heterogeneous catalysis and physical chemistry. She is particularly interested in how intrinsic chemical properties impact material performance. Dr. Licht applies her knowledge to a range of engineering issues in the areas of chemical reaction kinetics and solid material characterization, particularly as they apply to the evaluation of lithium-ion batteries.

Prior to joining Exponent, her graduate research dealt with the conversion of petroleum feedstocks to monomers and polymers of industrial relevance. Specifically, Dr. Licht elucidated the mechanisms and chemical driving forces of partial oxidation and ammoxidation reactions of light, unsaturated hydrocarbons over mixed metal oxide materials. She used a multi-prong approach that combined insights from atomic-scale theoretical quantum chemical modeling (DFT) with findings from macro-scale, intrinsic chemical kinetics experiments. As part of this work, she designed and constructed a reactor setup capable of safely handling highly toxic and corrosive gases that quantitatively monitored a large number of reaction products using gas chromatography (GC). She also employed a variety of solid-phase characterization techniques such as X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray diffraction (XRD), UV-Visible spectroscopy and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy to understand catalyst structure-function relationships.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 2016
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2010
  • Fulbright Scholar, 2010

    Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, 2010

    Tau Beta Pi Honor Society, 2008

LANGUAGES

  • French

Publications

Licht RB, Getsoian A, Bell AT. Identifying the Unique Properties of α-Bi2Mo3O12 for the Activation of Propene. Journal of Physical Chemistry C 2016; 120(51):29233-29247.

Licht RB, Bell AT. A DFT Investigation of the Mechanism of Propene Ammoxidation over α-Bismuth Molybdate. ACS Catalysis 2016; 7:161-176.

Licht RB, Vogt D, Bell AT. The Mechanism and Kinetics of Propene over α-Bismuth Molybdate. Journal of Catalysis 2016; 339:228-241.

Zhai Z, Wütschert M, Licht RB, Bell AT. Effects of Catalyst Crystal Structure on the Oxidation of Propene to Acrolein. Catalysis Today 2016; 261:146-153.

Zhai Z, Wang X, Licht RB, Bell AT. Selective Oxidation and Oxidative Dehydrogenation of Hydrocarbons on Bismuth Vanadium Molybdenum Oxide. Journal of Catalysis 2015; 325:87-100.

Chaabane FB, Jourdier E, Licht R, Cohen C, Monot F. Kinetic Characterization of Trichoderma reesei CL847 TR3002: an engineered strain producing highly improved cellulolytic cocktail. Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering 2012; 6:109-117.

Gabelle, J-C, Jourdier E, Licht, RB, Ben Chaabane F, Henaut I, Morchain J, Augier F. Impact of rheology on the mass transfer coefficient during the growth phase of Trichoderma reesei in stirred bioreactors. Chemical Engineering Science 2012; 75:408-417. 

Presentations


Licht RB. Propene Ammoxidation: Insights from Experiments and Theory. Oral presentation, The 16th International Congress on Catalysis, Beijing, China, Jul 2016, Abstract #765.

Licht RB. Propene Ammoxidation over Doped Bismuth Molybdates. Oral presentation, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, Nov 2015, Abstract #429689.

Licht RB. Propene Ammoxidation to Acrylonitrile over Bismuth Molybdate. Oral presentation, The 24th North American Meeting of the Catalysis Society, Pittsburgh, PA, Jun 2015, Abstract #12111.

Licht RB. Ammoxidation of Propene to Acrylonitrile over Bismuth Molybdate. Oral presentation, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, Nov 2014, Abstract #376715.

Licht RB. The Role of Geometric and Electronic Effects in Creating Active Sites on the Surface of Lead-Doped Bismuth Molybdates. Oral presentation, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, Nov 2013, Abstract #336329.

Patents

US Patent #8936697: Highly Absorbent and Retentive Fiber Material, Jan 2015 (Scharph E, Huang L, Brice H, Velson J, Salehi Omran S, Zhou J, Licht RB, Colton CK, Dalzell WH).

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 2016
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2010
  • Fulbright Scholar, 2010

    Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, 2010

    Tau Beta Pi Honor Society, 2008

LANGUAGES

  • French