Research Fellows Directory
Dr Bo-Lun Wang
University College London
My Ph.D. research focused on functionalization and modification of carbon materials for catalytic application. The main achievements are summarised as follow:
(1) Based on kinetic study, the acid strength of carboxylated carbon was compared quantitatively by their fitted pKa value. The electron-withdrawing effect of nitro groups was postulated to explain the enhanced acid strength of carboxylic groups validated by in-situ DRIFT and TPD-MS experiments. The electronic inductive effect of hetero-atom groups to the adjacent carbon atom was also utilised to interpret the activity origin of metal-free carbocatalysts in oxygen reduction reaction.
(2) A new functionalization method is developed based on our patented equipment for autoclaved oxidation of carbon materials with HNO3 vapour, which could dramatically reduce the usage of nitric acid. The separation of carbon materials from acid solution suppressed detachable constituents such as carbon debris or supported metal particles leaching. Therefore this autoclaved oxidation was successfully employed for re-dispersing sintered Pd particles into sub-nanometre clusters.
(3) Decisive intermediates of CO2 electro-reduction over nitrogen doped sp2-nanocarbon catalysts was determined with differential electrochemical mass spectrometry and in-situ CO adsorption experiments. The existence of adsorbed CO was validated, which was believed to be the key factor for producing other carbonaceous products.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)