Research Projects

(2) Nanoscience for energy research: energy storage, electrocatalysis and photocatalysis

Inorganic/nano carbon hybrid materials are actively pursued in our group, motivated by interesting materials chemistry and exciting applications in energy. We have been developing synthesis of nanostructured metal oxide, hydroxide, sulfide materials on graphene sheets, either with graphene on solid substrates or graphene oxide (GO) sheets stably suspended in solutions. These inorganic-graphene hybrids are novel owing to chemical and electrical coupling effects and utilization of the high surface area and electrical conductance of graphene, leading to advanced materials for nanoelectronics, energy storage devices (including pseudocapacitors and lithium ion batteries) and novel catalysis. In particular, synergistic coupling effects between inorganic materials and graphene leading to unexpected, interesting catalytic activities have been observed and will be further explored.

Our research in this area includes the following aspects:

    • - Synthesis of metal oxide, hydroxide, phosphates and sulfide nanocrystals on and off nano-carbon materials (graphene, nanotubes, etc.)
    • - The use of hybrid materials for advanced lithium ion batteries and supercapacitors for energy storage
    • - Development of synergistic hybrid materials for oxygen reduction catalyst for fuel cells
    • - Hybrid materials for water splitting/hydrogen evolution/oxygen evolution catalysts
    • - Novel photocatalysts for photoelectrochemical water splitting and solar cells.
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