Air pollution is one of the major challenges faced by developing countries. Photocatalysis is the most promising technology and has great potential for practical solution to remove pollutants, as it is environmentally friendly with little secondary pollution and can be driven directly by sunlight irradiation.
Our group focuses on the mechanism of photocatalytic conversion pathway of typical pollutants (NO, VOCs, etc.) and control of intermediate toxic byproducts. Then, the discovery of novel and efficient photocatalysts including insulator-based (defect-BaCO3, SrCO3-BiOI heterojunction, etc.), Bi-based (Bi element, facet-dependent BiOX (X = Br, Cl), Bi2O2CO3, etc.), g-C3N4-based (intercalated g-C3N4, g-C3N4 heterojunction, etc.) and so on to tackle the environmental challenges. Furthermore, density functional theory (DFT) and in situ DRIFTS are widely applied in our group and are densely combined to explore the photocatalytic oxidation mechanism at molecular level.
Electrocatalytic hydrogenation and hydrogenolysis (ECH)
Electrocatalytic hydrogenation and hydrogenolysis (ECH) has been recognized as one highly promising technology for environmental remediation. Especially for water purification, ECH has been demonstrated with high efficiency in disposing the persistent contaminants, such as oxyanions (e.g. nitrate, bromate, and perchlorate), nitrobenzene, aceto/benzophenone, and halogenated hydrocarbons (e.g. chlorinated phenols, trichloroethylene). During ECH, protons in aqueous solution are reduced to adsorbed hydrogen (H*ad) on electrode surface. H*ad then serves as a strong reductive agent to detoxify the pollutants via either a hydrogenation (addition to the π bond) or a hydrogenolysis (cleavage of the σ bond) manner.
Our group devotes majority of our efforts to understand the underlying ECH mechanism and then seek the effective strategy to maximize ECH performance. Specifically, we endeavor much to reveal the reaction pathway and the rate-limiting step of ECH, the identification and concentration regulation of the active H*ad, the mediation of the tug-of-war between ECH and HER reaction etc. We also pay much attention to the design and synthesis of efficient and durable ECH catalysts (mainly Pd-based nanocomposite). Ex/in-situ compositional/structural characterization on catalyst as well as the density functional theory (DFT) simulation is the usually combined to help establish the relationship between the Pd electronic structure and its performance.