We develop nanomaterials and reactions for sustainable production of fuels and value-added chemicals. Our efforts are focused on: (I) synthesis of nanomaterials for catalytic applications and study of their performance and structural stability; (II) mechanistic studies and reaction design for electrochemical transformations including carbon dioxide conversion, water electrolysis, and waste water treatment; (III) reactor and systems design for reaction scale-up and continuous electrosynthesis.
The ability to alter properties of nanocrystals by varying their structural characteristics (such as size, shape, surface morphology, and surface chemistry) paves the way for a variety of nanomaterials applications. We develop synthetic routes for shape-controlled nanocrystals and study their growth mechanisms to further expand nanochemistry synthetic toolbox.
Catalysts based on shape-controlled nanocrystals offer unsurpassed control over the arrangement of atoms on their surface to produce efficient catalytic active sites for industrially important catalytic processes. We study the effects of composition, size, shape, surface defects, and surface chemistry of shaped nanocrystals to gain a fundamental understanding of their structure – catalytic performance relationship and structural stability in catalytic reactions.
Reaction and reactor design
To maximize the performance of the catalysts and achieve carbon dioxide conversion scalability for industrial implementation, we also work on the electrolyzer design utilizing device concepts from fuel cells and flow batteries with divided electrochemical compartments to help overcome the critical CO2 solubility issue and mass transport limitation.
Ultimately, green routes for the synthesis of industrially-relevant fuels, carboxylic and amino acids will be identified and validated to bypass the need for petroleum-based precursors and unsustainable industrial processes.See our papers