Chemical reactions that would otherwise be impractical or impossible may be facilitated by the use of catalysts. Catalysts are intermediary chemicals or materials which provide energetically favorable pathways for a chemical reaction. In the Thompson Group, we are interested in the development and understanding of heterogeneous catalysts, particularly catalysts based on transition metal carbides and nitrides, for a variety of environmental applications.
In addition to traditional catalysis, the Thompson Group also studies the role of catalysts in electrochemical processes. This additional dynamic allows an otherwise impractical reaction to be driven by an electic potential, or alternately, allows a reaction to generate an electric potential and thus do useful work. Examples of this might be the splitting of water to form hydrogen, or the storage and release of energy in a rechargable battery. Electrocatalysis projects in the Thompson Group are focused on novel means of producing, using, and storing energy.
Siu On Tung