Research from Doug Keszler's and John Wager's groups on simplifying electronegativity was highlighted by the NSF in its SEE Innovation on 12 June 2013.
The article is reprinted below.
Researchers at the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry-an NSF Phase-II Center for Chemical Innovation--have created a unifying method to describe the chemical concept of electronegativity. Electronegativity is a chemical property that describes the tendency of an atom or chemical compound to attract electrons towards itself.
The new system simplifies our understanding of this well-known concept and it provides researchers with a new way to design advanced materials that will help efficiently generate energy and sustainably produce the electronic devices found in smartphones, tablet PCs and flat-panel TVs. The approach also offers insights that will likely result in changes to high-school and college chemistry textbooks around the world.
For nearly 80 years, chemists have relied on the concept of electronegativity invented by Linus Pauling to arrange the properties of the elements and to guide the discovery of new materials. Because electronegativity is defined on an arbitrary scale, the concept's use in other scientific disciplines was limited. By redefining electronegativity on an absolute energy scale, the concept becomes readily accessible to students and researchers from all scientific and engineering disciplines through the universal language of energy.