Research

ScienceĀ is a field which grows continuously with ever expanding frontiers” – John Bardeen, 1972

We are detectives investigating the scenes of atoms, molecules, and nanoscale behaviors at materials interfaces. Through these investigations, we offer solutions to the society in critically needed areas ranging from sustainable energy to healthcare.

Currently we are focused on three research themes:

  • Structure-property relationship of advanced energy materials

Energy crisis is a key challenge facing the society in the 21st century. While a tremendous amount of effort has been devoted to materials development for energy applications, there is still a lack of understanding of the fundamental mechanisms behind energy conversion and storage. We tackle this problem by examining the structure-property relationship of energy materials at the nanoscale, using scanning probe microscopy and optical spectroscopy. Specifically, we are trying to understand the molecular origin of charge storage and catalytic reactions at liquid-solid interfaces, which is critical for batteries, supercapacitors, and fuel cells.

  • Electrochemical sensing and electrocatalysis

We are working on the design and synthesis of nanomaterials for electrochemical sensing and electrocatalysis. Building upon the mechanistic understandings of the liquid-solid interfaces, we formulate new design rules for chemical sensing and conversion, and implement such rules via nanomaterials synthesis.

  • Topological materials for energy conversion and microelectronics

Topological materials exhibit exotic surface states which can enable low-dissipation conduction and efficient charge/spin transfer. We are utilizing such effects for energy conversion and microelectronics applications.