This talk will present two examples of our efforts in engineering nanomaterials to improve the performance of energy conversion. The first example is to discuss several flame synthesis methods to synthesize, decorate or dope 1-D metal oxide nanomaterials and these materials exhibit much enhanced photoelectrochemical water splitting performance. The second example is on the activation and optimization MoS2 basal planes for hydrogen evolution reaction through formation of strained sulfur vacancies. MoS2 has emerged as a promising material for catalyzing hydrogen production through electrochemical and photo-electrochemical water splitting processes. It is well known that only the edge-sites of MoS2 are catalytically active for the hydrogen evolution reaction and the vast basal plane sites of MoS2 are catalytically inert. We report the first successful activation and optimization of the basal plane of monolayer 2H-MoS2 for HER by creating and straining sulfur vacancies (S-vacancies) on top of the basal plane.
Xiaolin Zheng is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. She received her Ph.D. in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University (2006), B.S. in Thermal Engineering from Tsinghua University (2000). Prior to joining Stanford in 2007, she did her postdoctoral work in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. Her research interests include flame synthesis of nanomaterials and their applications in solar energy conversion, and developing manufacturing methods for flexible electronic devices. She is a member of MRS, ACS and the Combustion Institute. Her research has been honored with awards including the Nano Letters Young Investigator Lectureship (2015), MIT Technology Review (2013), one of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers by the Foreign Policy Magazine (2013), 3M Nontenured Faculty Award from 3M (2013), Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from the White House (2009), Young Investigator Awards from the ONR (2008) and DARPA (2008), Terman Fellowship from Stanford (2007), and Bernard Lewis Fellowship from the Combustion Institute (2004).