John L. Falconer

John FalconerMel and Virginia Clark Professor
University of Colorado President's Teaching Scholar
(303) 492-8005
Curriculum Vitae
Google Scholar Profile
Screencasts, ConcepTests and interactive simulations at www.LearnChemE.Com
Concept Warehouse


Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering), Stanford University (1974)
B.E.S. (Chemical Engineering), The Johns Hopkins University (1967)


  • Johansen-Crosby Lectureship, Michigan State University (2013)
  • Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2012)
  • Chancellor's Award for Excellence in STEM Education (2011)
  • Boulder Faculty Assembly Service Award (2011)
  • University of Colorado Hazel Barnes Prize (highest faculty recognition for teaching and research given by the University of Colorado Boulder, 2008)
  • College of Engineering Max S. Peters Outstanding Service Award (2008)
  • University of Colorado CRCW Faculty Fellowship (2004-05, 1997-98, 1980-81)
  • ASEE Annual Conference Best Zone Paper Award (2005)
  • University of Colorado President's Teaching Scholar (the University’s highest teaching recognition, a lifetime appointment, 2000-present)
  • Boulder Faculty Assembly Excellence in Research, Scholarly, and Creative Work Award (1999)
  • Chemical Manufacturers Association National Catalyst Award for Excellence in Teaching (1997)
  • ASEE Rocky Mountain Section Outstanding Teaching Award (1997)
  • Departmental Outstanding Teaching Awards (1988, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2000)
  • James & Catherine Patten Professor (1992-1996)
  • ACS Colorado Section Award in Chemistry (1992)
  • College of Engineering Outstanding Advisor Award (1992)
  • College of Engineering Research Award (1991)
  • Hutchinson Memorial Teaching Award, College of Engineering (1990)

Selected Publications

  • T.D. Gould, A.W. Weimer, J.L. Falconer, J.W. Medlin, “Stabilizing Ni Catalysts by Molecular Layer Deposition for Harsh Dry Reforming Conditions”, ACS Catalysis, in press (2014).
  • H.H. Funke, M. Chen, A. Prakash, J.L. Falconer, R.D. Noble, “Separating Molecules by Size in SAPO-34 Membranes”, J. Membrane Science 456, 185-191 (2014).
  • C.T. Nam, J.L. Falconer, L.M. Duc, W.-D. Yang, “Morphology, Structure and Adsorption of Titanate Nanotubes prepared using a Solvothermal Method”, Materials Research Bulletin 51, 49-55 (2014)
  • R. Zhou, E.W. Ping, H.H. Funke, J.L. Falconer, R.D. Noble. “Improving SAPO-34 Membrane Synthesis”, J. Membrane Science 444, 384-393 (2013).
  • T.D. Gould, A.M. Lubers,  B. Neltner, A.W. Weimer, J.L. Falconer, J.W. Medlin, “Synthesis of Supported Ni Catalysts by Atomic Layer Deposition” J. Catalysis 303, 9-15 (2013).
  • H.H. Funke, B. Tokay, Y. Zhang, R.F. Zhou, E. Ping, J.L. Falconer, R.D. Noble, “Spatially–Resolved Gas Permeation through SAPO–34 Membranes” J. Membrane Science 409, 212-221(2012).
  • E. Ping, R. Zhou, H.H. Funke, J.L. Falconer, R.D. Noble, “Seeded-gel Synthesis of SAPO-34 single channel and monolith membranes for CO2/CH4separations” J. Membrane Science 415, 770-775 (2012). 
  • J.L. Falconer, G. Nicodemus, J. deGrazia, J.W. Medlin, “Chemical Engineering Screencasts”,Chemical Engineering Education 46, 58-62 (2012).H.H. Funke, B. Tokay, Y. Zhang, R.F. Zhou, E. Ping, J.L. Falconer, R.D. Noble, “Spatially–Resolved Gas Permeation through SAPO–34 Membranes,” J. Membrane Science 409, 212-221 (2012).
  • M. Yu, R.D. Noble, J.L. Falconer, “Zeolite Membranes: Microstructure Characterization and Permeation Measurements,” Accounts Chemical Research 44, 1196-1206 (2011).
  • X. Liang, J. Li, M. Yu, C.N. McMurray, J.L. Falconer, A.W. Weimer, “Stabilization of supported metal nanoparticles using an ultrathin porous shell,” ACS Catalysis, 1162-1165 (2011).
  • K.L. Miller, J.L. Falconer, J.W. Medlin, “Effect of Water on the Adsorbed Structure of Formic Acid on TiO2 Anatase (101),” J. Catalysis 278, 321-328 (2011).
  • K.L. Miller, C.B. Musgrave, J.L. Falconer, J.W. Medlin, “Effects of Water and Formic Acid Adsorption on the Electronic Structure of Anatase TiO2(101),” J. Physical Chemistry C 115, 2738-2749 (2011).
  • M. Yu, J.L. Falconer, R.D. Noble, “Hydrogen Separation using Ultrathin Microporous Al2O3 Supported by SAPO-34 Membranes,” J. American Chemical Society 133, 1748-1750 (2011).
  • S. G. Sorenson, A. Payzant, W.T. Gibbons, B. Soydas, H. Kita, E. R.D. Noble, J.L. Falconer, “Influence of Zeolite Crystal Expansion/Contraction on NaA Zeolite Membrane Separations,” J. Membrane Science, 366, 413-420 (2011).
  • K.L. Miller, C.W. Lee, J.L. Falconer, J.W. Medlin, “Effect of Water on Formic Acid Photocatalytic Decomposition on TiO2 and Pt/TiO2,” J. Catalysis 275, 294-299 (2010).
  • Y. Zhang, B. Tokay, H.H. Funke, J.L. Falconer, R.D. Noble, “Template Removal from SAPO-34 Crystals and Membranes,” J. Membrane Science 363, 29-35 (2010).
  • M. Yu, H.H. Funke, J.L. Falconer, R.D. Noble, “Gated Ion Transport through Dense Carbon Nanotube Membranes,” J. American Chemical Society 132, 8285-8290 (2010).
  • Y. Zhang, A.M. Avila, H.F. Funke, J.L. Falconer, R.D. Noble, “Blocking Defects in SAPO-34 Membranes with Cyclodextrin,” J. Membrane Science 358, 7-12 (2010).
  • S.G. Sorenson, E.A. Payzant, R.D. Noble, J.L. Falconer, “Influence of Crystal Expansion/Contraction on Zeolite Membrane Permeation,” J. Membrane Science 357, 98-104 (2010).
  • W.T. Gibbons, Y. Zhang, J.L. Falconer, R.D. Noble, “Inhibiting Crystal Swelling in MFI Zeolite Membranes,” J. Membrane Science 357, 54-61 (2010).
  • Y. Zhang, S. Li, M.A. Carreon, H.H. Funke R.D. Noble, J.L. Falconer, “Scale-up of SAPO-34 Membranes for CO2/CH4 Separation,” J. Membrane Science 352, 7-13 (2010).

Research Interests

Professor Falconer's research focuses on inorganic membranes, heterogeneous catalysis, and applications of atomic and molecular layer deposition to catalysts and membranes. Our laboratory has published more than 225 papers in refereed journals, and these papers have been cited more than 9,700 times (h-index = 53 on ISS Web of Science). In addition, 19 patents have been issued from our research, and more than 20 patent applications are pending.

Zeolite membranes
Professors Rich Noble, Hans Funke, and I are studying inorganic membranes for both gas and liquid separations. This research is concentrated on zeolite membranes for CO2/CH4 separations at pressures up to 70 bar. This separation is of interest because many natural gas wells are contaminated by CO2. The SAPO-34 membranes we have prepared have high selectivities and high fluxes. We have also scaled-up these membranes to longer lengths and to multichannel monoliths. We used a technique that can obtain spatial flux maps to understand defects and how they affect separation. These membranes can separate CO2/i-butane by molecular sieving with selectivities in the hundreds of thousands.

MLD-modified membranes
We are using molecular layer deposition (MLD) to prepare membranes with high selectivities for hydrogen separation. These membranes have been shown to be selective at high pressures and elevated temperatures and to have high fluxes. MLD layers are extremely thin, and such membranes have the potential to have dramatically higher fluxes than other types of membranes.
Heterogeneous catalysis
In collaboration with Professors Will Medlin and Alan Weimer, we are studying the application of atomic layer deposition (ALD) and molecular layer deposition (MLD) to high surface area catalysts. These techniques are being used to modify catalysts to change selectivity, create new types of catalysts, and increase catalytic stability.

Educational Interests

Professor J. Will Medlin, Dr. Janet DeGrazia, Dr. Garret Nicodemus and I have developed a library of 1,400 ConcepTests and more than 1,100 screencasts for chemical and biological engineering courses ( This continuing effort is supported by the National Science Foundation, the University of Colorado Engineering Excellence Fund, and Shell. These screencasts were watched/downloaded more than 2.1 million times in the last twelve months. We have also developed course packages for thermodynamics and material and energy balance courses that incorporate active learning.

Dr. Nicodemus and I, in collaboration with undergraduate students, have also developed more than 55 interactive Mathematica simulations that are published on the Wolfram Demonstration Site (

Courses Taught

Undergraduate thermodynamics and reaction kinetics; graduate reaction engineering and research methods and ethics.