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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 11, 2023
  2. Atomically dispersed and nitrogen-coordinated single Ni sites ( i.e. , NiN x moieties) embedded in partially graphitized carbon have emerged as effective catalysts for CO 2 electroreduction to CO. However, much mystery remains behind the extrinsic and intrinsic factors that govern the overall catalytic CO 2 electrolysis performance. Here, we designed a high-performance single Ni site catalyst through elucidating the structural evolution of NiN x sites during thermal activation and other critical external factors ( e.g. , carbon particle sizes and Ni content) by using Ni–N–C model catalysts derived from nitrogen-doped carbon carbonized from a zeolitic imidazolate framework (ZIF)-8. Themore »N coordination, metal–N bond length, and thermal wrinkling of carbon planes in Ni–N–C catalysts significantly depend on thermal temperatures. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations reveal that the shortening Ni–N bonds in compressively strained NiN 4 sites could intrinsically enhance the CO 2 RR activity and selectivity of the Ni–N–C catalyst. Notably, the NiN 3 active sites with optimal local structures formed at higher temperatures ( e.g. , 1200 °C) are intrinsically more active and CO selective than NiN 4 , providing a new opportunity to design a highly active catalyst via populating NiN 3 sites with increased density. We also studied how morphological factors such as the carbon host particle size and Ni loading alter the final catalyst structure and performance. The implementation of this catalyst in an industrial flow-cell electrolyzer demonstrated an impressive performance for CO generation, achieving a current density of CO up to 726 mA cm −2 with faradaic efficiency of CO above 90%, representing one of the best catalysts for CO 2 reduction to CO.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 18, 2023
  3. Despite the well-known tendency for many alloys to undergo ordering transformations, the microscopic mechanism of ordering and its dependence on alloy composition remains largely unknown. Using the example of Pt 85 Fe 15 and Pt 65 Fe 35 alloy nanoparticles (NPs), herein we demonstrate the composition-dependent ordering processes on the single-particle level, where the nanoscale size effect allows for close interplay between surface and bulk in controlling the phase evolution. Using in situ electron microscopy observations, we show that the ordering transformation in Pt 85 Fe 15 NPs during vacuum annealing occurs via the surface nucleation and growth of L1more »2 -ordered Pt 3 Fe domains that propagate into the bulk, followed by the self-sacrifice transformation of the surface region of the L1 2 Pt 3 Fe into a Pt skin. By contrast, the ordering in Pt 65 Fe 35 NPs proceeds via an interface mechanism by which the rapid formation of an L1 0 PtFe skin occurs on the NPs and the transformation boundary moves inward along with outward Pt diffusion. Although both the “nucleation and growth” and the “interface” mechanisms result in a core–shell configuration with a thin Pt-rich skin, Pt 85 Fe 15 NPs have an L1 2 Pt 3 Fe core, whereas Pt 65 Fe 35 NPs are composed of an L1 0 PtFe core. Using atomistic modeling, we identify the composition-dependent vacancy-assisted counterdiffusion of Pt and Fe atoms between the surface and core regions in controlling the ordering transformation pathway. This vacancy-assisted diffusion is further demonstrated by oxygen annealing, for which the selective oxidation of Fe results in a large number of Fe vacancies and thereby greatly accelerates the transformation kinetics.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 5, 2023
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  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 29, 2022
  6. Lithium metal–selenium (Li–Se) batteries offer high volumetric energy but are limited in their cycling life and fast charge characteristics. Here a facile approach is demonstrated to synthesize hierarchically porous hollow carbon spheres that host Se (Se@HHCS) and allow for state-of-the-art electrochemical performance in a standard carbonate electrolyte (1 M LiPF 6 in 1 : 1 EC : DEC). The Se@HHCS electrodes display among the most favorable fast charge and cycling behavior reported. For example, they deliver specific capacities of 442 and 357 mA h g −1 after 1500 and 2000 cycles at 5C and 10C, respectively. At 2C, Se@HHCS delivers 558 mA h gmore »−1 after 500 cycles, with cycling coulombic efficiency of 99.9%. Post-mortem microstructural analysis indicates that the structures remain intact during extended cycling. Per GITT analysis, Se@HHCS possesses significantly higher diffusion coefficients in both lithiation and delithiation processes as compared to the baseline. The superior performance of Se@HHCS is directly linked to its macroscopic and nanoscale pore structure: the hollow carbon sphere morphology as well as the remnant open nanoporosity accommodates the 69% volume expansion of the Li to Li 2 Se transformation, with the nanopores also providing a complementary fast ion diffusion path.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 31, 2022
  7. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2022