Bruce Mattson

Bruce Mattson, Ph.D.


Bruce Mattson, Ph.D.
Inorganic Chemistry

Hixson-Lied Science Building 262

Bruce Mattson

We have developed a novel method for the generation of small samples of gases safely and inexpensively inside 60-mL plastic syringes. This enclosed arrangement prevents discharges to the room, which is important when noxious gases are being generated. In all, we have developed methods and suggested experiments for H2, O2, CO2, N2, NH3, NOx, C2H2, H2S, SO2, Cl2, HCl, CO, C2H4, SiH4, CH4, N2O, and O3. The methods and the 150 experiments were published in a series of articles and in a book that is now available on-line

Our current focus in on our “gas reaction catalyst tube”, developed with students at Creighton. The catalyst tube consists of a small glass tube (6 mm diameter x 10 cm) containing ~ 1 mg nanoparticle palladium on alumina support. With undergraduate research students, we designed, developed, and published a series of articles on gas-phase catalytic reactions. Some of the experiments are suited for classroom demonstrations and others lend themselves to inquiry-based learning activities. All along the way, the design of the catalyst tube improved and now can be constructed for about $2 and used indefinitely. Over the past two years we have worked extensively with the deuteration and hydrogenation of alkenes via the Horiuti-Polanyi mechanism and alkynes via the vinyl reversal mechanism.


Ph.D. (1977) University of Minnesota
B.A. (1973) Southwest (Minnesota) State University

Selected Publications

“An Activity in Microscale Precipitation Chemistry” Bob Worley, Eric M. Villa, Jess M. Gunn, Bruce Mattson* submitted July 2018 to J. Chem. Educ.

“Bringing New Chemistry into the Classroom: Nanoparticles and catalysis: Part 3. Building a nanoparticle” Bruce Mattson* and Samantha Jarman, Chem13 News, 2018, 437, 12 – 15.

“Bringing New Chemistry into the Classroom: Nanoparticles and catalysis. Part 2. Estimating the amazing surface area of the incredibly tiny” Bruce Mattson* and Samantha Jarman, Chem13 News, 2018, 436, 15 – 17.

“Bringing New Chemistry into the Classroom: Nanoparticles and catalysis. Part 1. Function and Importance of nanoparticles in catalysis” Bruce Mattson* and Samantha Jarman, Chem13 News, 2017, 435, 12 – 15. This is a 3-part series on Bringing New Chemistry into the Classroom: Nanoparticles and Catalysis Series.

Heterogeneous catalysis: deuterium exchange reactions of hydrogen and methane, Anne Mirich, Trisha Hoette Miller, Elsbeth Klotz, Bruce Mattson*, J. Chem. Educ., 2015, 92 (12), pp 2087–2093.

Structural characterization of dissolved organic matter: a review of current techniques, Elizabeth C. Minor, Michael Swenson, Bruce Mattson, and Alan Oyler Environmental Science: Processes and impacts, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2014,16, 2064-2079.

Heterogeneous catalysis: The Horiuti-Polanyi mechanism and alkene hydrogenation. Bruce Mattson*, Wendy Foster, Jaclyn Greimann, Trisha Hoette, Nhu Le, Anne Mirich, Shanna Wankum, Ann Cabri, Claire Reichenbacher, and Erika Schwanke, Journal of Chemical Education, 2013, 90 (5), 613–619.

The Equilibrium Constant for Bromothymol Blue: A general chemistry laboratory experiment using spectroscopy, Elsbeth Klotz, Robert Doyle, Erin Gross* and Bruce Mattson**, Journal of Chemical Education, 2011, 88, 637 – 639.

Microscale Gas Chemistry, Bruce Mattson and Michael Anderson, invited paper to the Association for Science Education (UK)’s premier journal School Science Review, 2011, 92, 43 – 48.

The remarkable chemistry of potassium dioxide(1-) (potassium superoxide). Two Microscale Classroom Demonstrations.” Andrew Allen, Michael Anderson, and Bruce Mattson; Journal of Chemical Education 2009, 86, 1286 – 1289.

Hydrogen and palladium foil. Two classroom demonstrations. Elsbeth Klotz, E.; and Mattson, B. Journal of Chemical Education 2009, 86, 465 – 469.


"Classroom Demonstration Aids That You Can Build!" Mattson, B. M., Kubovy, M. A., Hepburn, J., Lannan, J., Flinn Scientific, 1997.

"The Chemistry of Gases, A Microscale Approach," Mattson, B. M., Anderson, M. P., Schwennsen, Cece, Flinn Scientific, 1999.

"Microscale Gas Chemistry," Educational Innovations, 2006, ISBN #0-9701077-0-6.