Research fields

1. Preparation of nanocatalysts and in situ/Operando characterization. Developing novel methods for morphology/size-controlled synthesis of nanocatalysts, and exploring their applications in the low-temperature oxidation reactions, such as CO oxidation, methane/VOC combustion, and H2O2 synthesis directly from H2 and O2, and so forth. Furthermore, on the basis of kinetics, spectroscopy, and DFT calculations, the mechanism studies were performed at the atomic or molecular level for important processes of energy conversion. In particular, the new generation of Operando spectroscopy (reaction cell up to 50 bar) has been developed. The combination of kinetics, DFT, and operando spectroscopy allows us to build the relationship of structure-performance for the catalysts. The aim of the project is to develop efficient nanocatalysts that build on the atomic level information obtained from our mechanism studies.


2. Study of key problems for the clean transformation of coal to value-added chemicals.
Exploring the mechanisms for the synthesis of C2 chemicals (ethanol, acetaldehyde, acetic acid) directly from syngas (CO+H2).
The main research activities include: preparation of catalysts, characterization, DFT calculations, kinetics, reaction on model catalysts (single crystal, clusters in UHV), relationships of model and real world catalytic systems, and rational design of catalysts.


3. Removal of trace amounts of pollutants in water. It is a challenge to remove trace amounts of toxic organics and heavy metals from water. These toxic pollutants, even existing in water at extremely low concentrations (usually ppb level), cause serious problems to human health. Novel approaches based on new generation of solid-Fenton catalysts are developed to solve these problems, which can effectively decompose H2O2 to form OH radicals. The organics and metal ions in water can be oxidized through the interaction with OH radicals without any second-hand pollutants.


Research interests

1.Preparation and in-situ characterization of nano catalysts
Synthesis of nano noble metal catalysts and alloy catalysts (Pt, Pd, Rh, Au);
Synthesis of nano manganese oxides (Mn2O3, MnO2);
In situ/Operando technologies and its applications in catalyst characterization (Raman, DRIFT,UV-Vis, TPSR)
2.Synthesis and applications of green oxidants
Direct synthesis of H2O2 from H2 and O2 at low temperature and ambient pressure;
Synthesis of heterogeneous Fenton catalyst and its applications in treating toxic waste water;
Applications of heterogeneous Fenton catalyst in purifying drinking water;
Methods for breaking C-C and C-F bonds in toxic organic molecules
3.Combustion for industrial volatile organic compounds
Catalytic combustion of formaldehyde and phenol at low concentrations;
CO and CH4 combustion at low temperature and its applications in fuel cells
4.Green energy technology and C1-2 chemistry
Synthesis of C2 oxygenates (ethanol, acetaldehyde and acetic acid) directly from syngas;
Ethylene, acetaldehyde and butanol synthesis from ethanol
5.Study of kinetics and mechanism of heterogeneous catalysis with computational methods based on Density Functional Theory (DFT).