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Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

“Nano Letters” publishes research by Drs. Yang and Zuo and colleagues

Professor Hong Yang, the Richard C. Alkire Professor of Chemical Engineering, Professor Jian-Min Zuo of Materials Science and Engineering, and their research groups have recently published a paper in Nano Letters on a new growth model uncovered by the novel liquid flow phase in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) technique.

“Such research has implications on the design of catalysts for various applications, such as fuel cells and batteries. It is the first of such study from this team at the University of Illinois and one of several exciting projects we are working on in related areas,” Professor Yang said. According to Professor Zuo, the discovery was made possible by performing the experiment under a powerful electron microscope and keeping the electron beam interference as low as possible using a low intensity beam and a sensitive electron detector.

In the article “Growth of Au on Pt Icosahedral Nanoparticles Revealed by Low-Dose In Situ TEM,” the authors explain how they used in situ TEM for quantitative study of nucleation and growth kinetics and how this tool can provide valuable new insight into the design and precise control of heterogeneous nanostructures. The accurate control of surface structure and composition down to atomic level is what will be needed for advanced catalysts that have exceptionally high activity and selectivity. The follow-up work being carried out looks at using the new techniques in the study of chemical etching, corrosion, and electrochemical reactions—all important processes in fuel cell and battery applications.

In addition to Professor Yang, the article’s authors include Dr. Jianbo Wu with the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Engineering and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Professor Jian-Min Zuo and Mr. Wenpei Gao, with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, all at the University of Illinois; Drs. Jianguo Wen and Dean Miller with the Electron Microscopy Center in the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory; and Dr. Ping Lu with the Sandia National Laboratories.

The National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy and University of Illinois supported this research.