Welcome to the Photocatalytic Materials and Interfaces Lab!
The Hu lab aspires to achieve a decarbonized economy at scale by utilizing natural resources such as sunlight, water, CO2 from the air, and carbonates from the ocean locally. We focus on photoelectrochemical interfaces and coating materials for durable device demonstrations in light-induced chemical conversions.
We mainly study light-driven catalytic reactions, namely photocatalysis, by answering the fundamental questions in chemical engineering and semiconductor physics. Photocatalysis refers to coevolving reductive and oxidative reactions located in nanoscale proximity.
Therefore, one can use heterogeneous photocatalysis to drive the otherwise difficult chemical synthesis at distributed locations. We perform photocatalytic H2 production, CO2 reduction, CH4 oxidation, and organic synthesis, but with greater chemical driving force and orthogonal adsorption control, which are otherwise not possible with heterogeneous thermal catalysis at elevated temperatures. We investigate fundamental electrocatalytic behavior at active sites as well.
Many room-temperature chemical reactions rely on this photochemical interface: converting sunlight, water, and air into energy-dense fuels, guiding additive materials growth or subtractive photo-corrosion, or even making the PEC interface self-repair, which is often found in nature. Therefore, we consider a light-driven PEC device mimicking a living system, especially with free and abundant sunlight in our macroscopic world, the energy inputs.
Our group is part of the Department of Chemical & Environmental Engineering at the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science. Our lab is located at the Energy Sciences Institute at Yale West Campus.
For Engineering, we enable the co-optimization of efficiency, selectivity, and stability in a designer chemical reactor. We also work with high-school science clubs together to build long-duration energy storage and water treatment PEC devices, for a clean and sustainable world!
Want to make a difference? Come and visit our lab at the Energy Sciences Institute! more…