Research

Discovery of nanomaterials for sustainable chemistry

Nanoscience

We learn to control shape, surface chemistry and surface structure of nanoparticles to design new materials and study nanoscale phenomena.

Catalysis

Using deep mechanistic analysis of catalytic processes on nanoscale, we establish design rules for superior materials for thermal and electrocatalysis.

Electrochemistry

We use electricity to perform chemical transformations and develop electrode materials and reactors to improve reaction outcomes.

Sustainability

With circular economy in mind, we focus on facilitating chemical reactions that enable chemical energy storage and closing carbon and nitrogen cycles.

Shape-controlled Nanocrystal Synthesis

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 and structural transformations to further expand nanochemistry synthetic toolbox. In our lab, these materials are then used as model systems for catalytic applications.

Catalysts for Upgrading Waste

The primary nanomaterials application we explore is  electrochemical treatment and upgrading of small waste molecules. Our efforts involve:

  • Studying factors affecting activity and stability of nanoscale catalysts under bias
  • Developing electrocatalysts for selective electroreduction of carbon dioxide to value-added products
  • Understanding structure-property relationships in cathodic electroorganic synthesis
  • Elucidating mechanisms of nitrogenous waste electrooxidation to devise more active and stable catalysts
  • Exploring mutual effects in paired cathodic and anodic treatment of small waste molecules

Electrolyzer Design

We use various lab-scale batch and flow reactors for optimizing catalyst and system performance in the reactions of interest. With the help of University of Waterloo engineering machine shops, we design and fabricate custom cells according to project needs.

Computational Studies of Nanomaterials

We model chemical and physical processes on nanoscale using density functional theory (DFT) and multiphysics simulations to guide rational material design.