Catalysts for Electrochemical CO2 Reduction (CO2R)

Electrochemical CO2 conversion to value-added chemicals with renewable electricity is a promising strategy for sustainable industrial development. The success of this approach requires in-depth understanding of electrocatalysis, developments of efficient electrocatalysts, ion-exchange membranes, electrolytes, electrolyzers, etc. We develop electrocatalysts for CO2 reduction that can produce target products selectively and reproducibly in a stable manner.

Design, Synthesis, and Characterization of Ionomers

An ionomer is a polymer where a small proportion of the constitutional units have ionic (or ionizable) groups. Ionomers can be used to constitute (a) ion-exchange membranes and (b) binders added to a catalyst layer in a zero-gap reactor for electrochemical CO2 reduction or fuel-cell systems. Representative examples include a Sustainion® membrane and ionomers developed by Dioxide Materials. It is important for ionomers to conduct specific ions selectively at high rates for these applications. The transport of ions is enabled by water-filled hydrated ionic domains present in the polymer matrix. We design and synthesize anion-exchange ionomers for anion-exchange membranes (AEMs) and catalyst binders that will show desired properties.

Self-assembly of Block Copolymers

A diblock copolymer is a copolymer which consists of two individual polymer chains covalently bound at some point. They can phase separate in thin films to form interesting and useful morphologies such as lamellae, gyroid, cylinders, and spheres. This process is called self-assembly. We explore different applications as next-generation nanolithography, membranes, etc. using diblock copolymers.