Liheng Wu, Research Scientist
SABIC Technology Center
Atomically Controlled Synthesis of Nanocrystals for Enhanced Catalysis
Abstract: Developing efficient processes for the conversion of energy and the production of fine chemicals and fuels are among the primary goals in sustainability. Nanoscale engineering of materials with desired catalytic properties is crucial to technological advancements in these fields. This presentation will discuss my research efforts on the synthesis and characterization of catalysts from colloidal nanocrystals. I will first use the Fe-Pt bimetallic system as an example to illustrate how engineering the atomic structures of FePt substantially improves their catalytic activity and stability for the oxygen reduction reaction. Then, the synthetic advancements of colloidal nanocatalysts enabled by in situ X-ray scattering will be presented. In particular, I will discuss the effects of different ligands on the nucleation and growth kinetics of Pd nanoparticles, and illustrate how to manipulate the kinetics toward Pd catalysts with the size control at the sub-1 nm scale. The atypical interactions of nanoparticles into superlattices during colloidal synthesis will also be discussed. Using the bimetallic PtSn nanocrystal as an example, I will then present the atomic scale formation mechanism revealed by the in situ experiments. The mechanistic understanding accelerates the rational design of PtSn nanocatalysts with precisely engineered size, composition, and structure.
Bio: Liheng Wu received his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in 2009, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Brown University in 2015 under the supervision of Prof. Shouheng Sun. His thesis focused on the synthesis and self-assembly of monodisperse nanoparticles for magnetic and catalytic applications. He received the Sigma Xi Award for excellence in graduate research from Brown University in 2016. After graduation, he did his postdoctoral training at Stanford University co-advised by Prof. Matteo Cargnello and Dr. Christopher Tassone (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory). His postdoctoral research focused on using in situ X-ray techniques to study the formation mechanisms of colloidal nanocrystals and their dynamic structures during catalysis. In 2019, he joined the SABIC Technology Center as a Research Scientist, working on the development of novel catalysts and other functional materials.
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