Energy conversion and storage are more important today than at any time in human history. Our research interests focus primarily on design and synthesis of nanostructured materials for solving critical issues in development of new generation energy storage and solar fuel production systems. In our lab, we combine our expertise in catalysis, materials science and electrochemistry, and by doing so are able to address the most exciting scientific challenges that occur in the field of energy conversion and storage. Breakthrough in this field is crucial for us to tackle global warming by providing the society with clean, sustainable, and environmental friendly energy supplies.
For prospective postdoc candidates: We are looking for highly self-motivated individuals to work on our electrolysis project. Candidate should have hands-on experience in electrocatalysis, reactor design and assembly. The starting date is tentatively summer of 2017 and the initial appointment will be one year with the possibility to renew depending on project progress and funding availability. To be considered for this position, please send an email with a brief description of your research experiences and a detailed CV to email@example.com. (posted on 03/2017)
Congratuations to Wesley for winning the 2017 Kokes Award for the 25th North American Catalysis Society (NACS) meeting in Denver, CO.
Our group is receiving a grant from the US Department of Energy to develop a technology, which allows us to convert CO2 captured in the flue gas into high-value alcohols. So excited! A news story about this grant was just released by UDaily and the official DOE announcement can be found here.
Molecular level understanding of the role of bicarbonate in increasing CO2 reduction rates is an important topic, while the lack of in-situ tools make it difficult to directly probe the electrochemical interface. Together with the Xu lab and other collaborators, we developed a protocol to observe normally invisible reaction intermediates with a surface enhanced spectroscopy by applying square-wave potential profiles. Further, we demonstrate that bicarbonate, through equilibrium exchange with dissolved CO2, rather than the supplied CO2, is the primary source of carbon in the CO formed at the Au electrode by a combination of in-situ spectroscopic, isotopic labeling, and mass spectroscopic investigations. We propose that bicarbonate enhances the rate of CO production on Au by increasing the effective concentration of dissolved CO2 near the electrode surface through rapid equilibrium between bicarbonate and dissolved CO2. The results have been published in JACS.
Congratuations to Wesley for winning the University Doctoral Fellowship Award! Well done!
First-row transition metals are potential candidates as catalysts for electrochemical CO2 reduction; however, their high oxygen affinity makes them easy to be oxidized, which could, in turn, strongly affect the catalytic properties of metal-based catalysts. Together with collaborators at Northwestern University and Virginia Tech, we recently proposed a strategy to synthesize Ag-Sn electrocatalysts with a core-shell nanostructure that contains a bimetallic core responsible for high electronic conductivity and an ultra-thin partially oxidized shell for catalytic CO2 conversion. This concept was demonstrated by a series of Ag-Sn bimetallic electrocatalysts. At an optimal SnOx shell thickness of ~1.7 nm, the catalyst exhibited a high formate Faradaic efficiency of ~80% and a formate partial current density of ~16 mA cm-2 at -0.8 V vs. RHE, a remarkable performance in comparison to state-of-the-art formate-selective CO2 reduction catalysts. The results have been published in JACS.