Our research focuses on (1) ‘how precisely to characterize the surfaces of ionic solids and their reactions with various gases,’ and (2) ‘how to improve catalytic reactivity levels at the ionic solid surfaces.’ In this regard, to understand the interface reaction mechanisms and identify the key descriptors governing the overall reaction rate, we have been actively developing model oxide structures with well-defined interface geometries and analyzing true surface properties and reaction characteristics using a variety of electronic, chemical, and electrochemical techniques. Furthermore, we have established several methods by which to engineer the surface properties of oxides, such as nanoparticle catalyst coatings, surface etching, and light/electric field irradiation, all of which are aimed at maximizing the reaction kinetics.
Electrolysis converts electrical energy into chemical energy, which can be used as fuel in energy devices. Electrolysis of H2O, CO2 and N2 is a promising technology to produce high-value chemicals such as H2, CO, CH4, C2H4 and NH3 from intermittent electricity from renewable sources (e.g., solar, wind, and geothermal energy). Efficient electrolysis could lead to a carbon neutral or even a carbon-negative society.
Giving lower-value chemicals higher value is considered the most important cornerstone of a carbon-neutral scenario. Here, the catalyst envisions an effective route for its conversion with enhanced reaction kinetics. We endow the high-performance catalysts by observing the evolution of the material, configuring the reaction sites, and unveiling hindered mechanisms. Designing robust catalysts and suggesting design principles will be a game-changer.
Fuel cells are eco-friendly energy conversion devices that convert chemical energy into electrical energy with high efficiency but without pollutants. They differ from conventional batteries in that they produce electricity continuously for as long as fuel and oxygen are supplied. We are conducting in-depth studies to develop highly robust and reactive electrodes for next-generation fuel cells.