Graphene and low-dimensional nanomaterials. Nanomaterials in 0D, 1D, 2D dimensions and their 3D assemblies hold great promises in wide ranges of applications such as energy storage, catalysis, environment and optical/electronic devices for their intriguing physicochemical properties. In this part, we are particularly interested in (1) the scalable and controllable synthesis of low-dimensional materials including graphene and its derivatives likecarbon nanotubes, graphene nanoribbons and graphene quantum dots, carbonnitride, TMDs, LDHs, Mxene, etc.; (2) the precise modification and functionalization of their composition and structure by doping, defect engineering, phase engineering, size effects, shape and aspect ratio tuning, etc; (3) the assembly of these nanomaterials as building blocks into highly complex super lattices or heterostructures in atomic and molecular level forutilizing the complementary merits of different units; (4) the exploration of applications in miscellaneous fields, particularly those related to energy and environment.
Single atom catalyst. Single atom catalysts (SACs) with mono-dispersed single atoms supported on solid substrates represent an exciting class of catalysts that combine the merits of both homogeneous catalysts and heterogeneous catalysts, such as highly uniform active sites, tunable coordination environment, maximized atom utilization efficiency, high durability, excellent recyclability, and easy immobilization and integration with electrodes. We are interested in developing new synthetic methodologies to access a wide range of SACs with mass-production capability, establishing the synthesis-structure property relationships aiming at guiding the rational design of SACs, tailoring the electronic and geometric structures of the atomic metal sites, understanding the reaction mechanisms and structure evolution under catalytic operation by ex situ/in situ characterization and theoretical calculation, and exploring their properties in traditional heterogeneous catalysis, electrocatalysis, organic synthesis and transformation, photocatalysis, environmental treatments, etc.
Electrochemical energy storage and conversion. The energy crisis and environmental issues call for clean energy technologies to at least partially release our current reliance on fossil fuels. The conversion of solar energy into electricity stored either in energy storage devices or in the form of chemical bonds by energy conversion devices is an ideal and ultimate solution to a sustainable future. Here, we are interested in fabricating new electrodes using nanoscale materials for energy storage technologies such as Li-S batteries, metal air batteries, metal batteries with special focus on modifying the electrode-electrolyte interface properties and the involved redox chemistry aiming at improving the cyclic stability, energy and power density. Also, we develop highly efficient nanoscale and atomic-scale catalysts for electrochemical energy conversion processes, such as hydrogen/oxygen evolution reaction (HER/OER), oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), CO2 reduction, fuel oxidation, etc.
Thin film-based electrodes. Compared to powder-based electrodes, self-standing thin-film based electrodes with porosity are advantageous as they avoid the addition of conductive and polymeric additives so that electron and ion transport could be enhanced to a large extent. This is particularly important under conditions where high mass loading/large electrode thickness or large current input/output are required toallow high energy/power density in mass or volumetric basis. In this part, we are interested in fabricating thin film electrodes of nanocarbon materials, metals and their composites by ways of self-assembly, electrochemical anodization, deposition, coating and templating. These as-fabricated films will be employed in water electrolyzers, metal-air batteries, Li-S batteries, etc.