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Kuhn Group Research

We are active in three main areas with a couple graduate students working on each project at a given time.


1. X-to-liquid (XTL) technologies

Our efforts in this area include biomass (BTL), natural gas (GTL), and waste (WTL). The overarching goal is to aid in the adoption of these technologies by overcoming the major technical hurdles. We are also currently researching biomass to hydrogen.

The focal points of our efforts on this topic include:

* Achievement of proper hydrogen-to-carbon monoxide ratios for liquid fuel synthesis from various feedstocks

* Carbon dioxide (CO2) conversion by photo-thermal methods with improved rates and yields to useful feedstocks and fuels

* Identification of deactivation mechanisms and regeneration protocols for reforming and water-gas shift catalysis

* Intensification of conversion processes

* Design of catalysts with improved selectivity and stability

* Deoxygenation of model biomass-derived molecules


2. Environmental remediation

The projects under this topic include the photocatalytic decomposition of organics and oxygenates, CO2 conversion with visible light, and the removal of metal contaminated in wastewater.

The focal points of our efforts on this topic include:

* Design and application of environmental and CO2 conversion photocatalysts actived by visible light

* Synthesis and application of hybrid organic-inorganic materials for metal ion capture

* Examination of metal ion chelation uptake rates and selectivity for organic and organic-inorganic materials


3. Structured nanomaterials as model catalysts

The research under this area aim at designing catalysts and understanding the underlying catalytic phenomena with an emphasis on the catalytic properties that change with catalyst size, shape, and composition.

The focal points of our efforts on this topic include:

* Realization of morphologically controlled transition metal, metal oxide, oxynitride, and transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD) particles through control of growth mechanisms and parameters

* Correlation of morphology to physiochemical properties and functions including catalytic and optical properties

* Identifcation of catalytic mechanisms using these well-defined nanoparticles as model systems including comparison to simulations

* Identifying the role of capping ligands on the physiochemical properties and functions and assessing their removal