Alevtina L Smirnova (2011)


B.S., St. Petersburg State University
M.S., St. Petersburg State University
Ph.D., St Petersburg State University

(605) 394-1890
CBEC 3313 (campus map)
Research Expertise

Dr. Smirnova’s research is largely focused on energy generation and storage.This  multidisciplinary area links chemistry, catalysis, nanomaterials, chemical and materials engineering, and electrochemistry. Many novel polymer, composite, and low-dimensional materials developed in Dr. Smirnova’s group are applied to different types of low and high temperature fuel cells, lithium-ion and lithium-air batteries, and supercapacitors. These materials including catalytically active nanostructures produced in supercritical fluids or by sol-gel methods, atomic vapor deposition, and MS-PVD meet the highest criteria required for clean and efficient energy generation and storage. The physical and chemical materials characterization is performed by using AC Impedance, HRTEM, FESEM, XRD, EDX, TGA, and Raman spectroscopy. The catalytic and electrochemical properties of these materials are evaluated by temperature programmed oxidation/reduction and various electrochemical techniques, such as rotating disk electrode, rotating ring disk electrode, cyclic voltammetry, chronopotentiometry, C-rate capability, and charge/discharge cycling.

The second Dr. Smirnova’s major research area emphasizes homogenous and heterogeneous catalysis and, specifically, synthesis of high-value phenolic monomers and adhesives from lignin by using enzymatic degradation and supercritical fluids. The latter is mainly based on the environmentally benign and “green” supercritical carbon dioxide solvent that has been confirmed to act as a homogeneous catalyst. Furthermore, graphitized carbon materials and electrospun nanofibers produced from lignin are currently used in Dr. Smirnova’s group for manufacturing of lithium-ion battery electrodes and supercapacitors.

Brief Bio

Before joining SDSMT in 2011, Dr. Smirnova served an Assistant Professor at the Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU), and prior to this appointment (2000-2009) as a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut (UConn). Starting as a graduate student, and later as an Assistant Professor at St. Petersburg University (RF), Dr. Smirnova involved a range of novel ionically conductive materials for sensors based on neutral carriers and ion exchangers, photocurable polymers, and ion-selective field effect transistors.  During her career, Dr. Smirnova has been performing her studies in Germany (Institute for Chemical and Biosensors, Muenster), Spain (Autonoma University of Barcelona), and Finland (University of Turku). Dr. Smirnova’s national and international projects have been supported by ACS PRF. NATO, NASA, EU INTAS, DOD, and DOE.


Dr. Smirnova has broad experience teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, among them general, inorganic, physical, and analytical chemistry as well as specialized courses in materials science, corrosion of metals, electrochemisty, and polymer chemistry. The teaching experience acquired at UConn, Quinnipiac University, Manchester Community College, ECSU, and SDSMT allowed Dr. Smirnova to promote students’ curiosity and critical thinking in various areas of science and technology, and especially in energy generated and storage.  

A major part of Dr. Smirnova’s teaching is associated with the outreach activities that she started almost 15 years ago at UCONN, and continued at ECSU and SDSMT. She has developed a teaching module and is currently participating in annual “Green Chemistry and Sustainable Energy” summer camps at the SDSMT CABS Department and in the NSF RET program (2017-2020) at SDSMT that brings science teachers from South Dakota to the SDSMT chemistry labs.

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