Frederick’s research is in physical and theoretical chemistry. He is internationally known for his work on characterizing surfaces at the molecular scale using instrumentation in the Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology, including photoelectron spectroscopy, vibrational spectroscopy and adsorption porosimetry, as well as neutron scattering at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Current work in developing oxide and metal catalysts for conversion of woody biomass into transportation fuels is in collaboration with members of the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute, an interdisciplinary team consisting of chemists, physicists, chemical engineers, forest scientists, and economists focused on creating value-added products from waste wood in a sustainable way.
Frederick is the author or co-author of 60 refereed articles, 12 patents or patent applications and more than 100 presentations. He has consistently supported his work with external funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and the Office of Naval Research. He has been the PI or co-PI on grants totaling more than $10 million in the last decade. Frederick also has served as a major advisor for 14 Ph.D. students, three M.S. students, five undergraduate thesis students, and several gifted high school students through the Maine MERITS Scholar program.