“Science 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 and complex systems. Through these studies, 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 renewable energy systems
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 renewable energy systems at the nanoscale, using scanning probe microscopy and optical spectroscopy. Specifically, we are trying to understand the molecular origin of energy storage and catalytic reactions at electrochemical interfaces, which is critical for batteries, supercapacitors, electrolyzers, and fuel cells.
We are working on the design and synthesis of nanomaterials for electrocatalysis, in emergent areas such as carbon dioxide reduction, oxygen reduction, and water electrolysis. Building upon the mechanistic understandings of the electrochemical liquid-solid interfaces, we formulate new design rules for electrocatalytic reactions, and implement such rules via nanomaterials synthesis.
- Chemical tomography
Whenever needed, we never hesitate to build new tools. We aim to achieve unprecedented capabilities in chemical tomography of renewable energy devices and biological systems in their native electrolyte/aqueous environments. Stay tuned for more updates!