|Photocatalysis||Electrocatalysis||Heterogeneous Catalysis||Laboratory Resources|
The Linic Lab is on the leading edge of research into the fundamentals and applications of new and improved heterogeneous photocatalysts. We were among the first groups to report visible light enhanced performance of metal nanoparticle catalysts (Ag, Au, and Cu) due to localized surface plasmon resonance. Our work now focuses on understanding the surface mechanisms that cause enhancement and in developing new catalysts that combine optimal plasmonic and catalytic properties within a single catalyst. We are also working on photoelectrochemical systems for applications in water splitting and fuel cells.
Electrochemical reactions enable the conversion between chemical energy stored in molecules and electrical energy. In these reactions, participating chemical species undergo one or more charge transfer reactions. Often, catalysts are required to accelarate these reactions thereby improving the activity and overall device performance. Our work focuses on understanding how selectively tuning the properties of a metal surface improves its catalytic activity. After identifting key design parameters, we can develop structure-property relationships that predict the activity of novel catalytic materials.
Heterogeneous catalytic reactions involve a series of complex chemical processes. As such, most commercial heterogeneous catalysts have been developed through empirical methods. Catalyst developed in this way are often complicated and not well understood. In our group, we develop theoretical models to better understand how the design of a catalytic surface can influence its reactivity. With these models, we have been able design catalyst systems which are inherently more active and selective. We continue to use a dual experimental and theoretical approach in our ongoing projects.