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  1. Capacitive deionization (CDI) is an energy saving and environmentally friendly technology for water desalination. However, classical CDI is challenged by a low salt removal capacity. To improve the desalination capacity, electrode materials utilizing the battery mechanism for salt ion removal have emerged as a new direction more recently. In this work, we report a study of amorphous iron phosphate (FePO 4 ) as a promising electrode material for pseudocapacitive sodium ion removal. Sodium ions can be effectively, reversibly intercalated and de-intercalated upon its electrochemical reduction and oxidation, with an excellent sodium ion capacity under half-cell testing conditions. By assembling a hybrid CDI (HCDI) system utilizing the FePO 4 electrode for pseudocapacitive sodium ion removal and active carbon electrode for capacitive chloride ion removal, the cell exhibited a high salt removal capacity and good reversibility and durability, which was attributed to the advantageous features of amorphous FePO 4 . The HCDI system achieved a high deionization capacity (82 mg g −1 ) in 10 mM NaCl, a fast deionization rate (0.046 mg g −1 s −1 ), and good stability and cyclability.
  2. Formaldehyde is an essential building block for hundreds of chemicals and a promising liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC), yet its indirect energy-intensive synthesis process prohibits it from playing a more significant role. Here we report a direct CO reduction to formaldehyde (CORTF) process that utilizes hydrogen underpotential deposition to overcome the thermodynamic barrier and the scaling relationship restriction. This is the first time that this reaction has been realized under ambient conditions. Using molybdenum phosphide as a catalyst, formaldehyde was produced with nearly a 100% faradaic efficiency in aqueous KOH solution, with its formation rate being one order of magnitude higher compared with the state-of-the-art thermal catalysis approach. Simultaneous tuning of the current density and reaction temperature led to a more selective and productive formaldehyde synthesis, indicating the electrochemical and thermal duality of this reaction. DFT calculations revealed that the desorption of the *H 2 CO intermediate likely served as the rate-limiting step, and the participation of H 2 O made the reaction thermodynamically favorable. Furthermore, a full-cell reaction set-up was demonstrated with CO hydrogenation to HCHO achieved without any energy input, which fully realized the spontaneous potential of the reaction. Our study shows the feasibility of combining thermal andmore »electrochemical approaches for realizing the thermodynamics and for scaling relationship-confined reactions, which could serve as a new strategy in future reaction design.« less
  3. Active sites play an essential role in heterogeneous catalysis and largely determine the reaction properties. Yet identification and study of the active sites remain challenging owing to their dynamic behaviors during catalysis process and issues with current characterization techniques. This article provides a short review of research progresses in active sites of metal and metal oxide catalysts, which covers the past achievements, current research status, and perspectives in this research field. In particular, the concepts and theories of active sites are introduced. Major experimental and computational approaches that are used in active site study are summarized, with their applications and limitations being discussed. An outlook of future research direction in both experimental and computational catalysis research is provided.
  4. Abstract

    Understanding the growth pathway of faceted alloy nanoparticles at the atomic level is crucial to morphology control and property tuning. Yet, it remains a challenge due to complexity of the growth process and technical limits of modern characterization tools. We report a combinational use of multiple cutting-edge in situ techniques to study the growth process of octahedral Pt3Ni nanoparticles, which reveal the particle growth and facet formation mechanisms. Our studies confirm the formation of octahedral Pt3Ni initiates from Pt nuclei generation, which is followed by continuous Pt reduction that simultaneously catalyzes Ni reduction, resulting in mixed alloy formation with moderate elemental segregation. Carbon monoxide molecules serve as a facet formation modulator and induce Ni segregation to the surface, which inhibits the (111) facet growth and causes the particle shape to evolve from a spherical cluster to an octahedron as the (001) facet continues to grow.

  5. The synthesis of hierarchical lamellar zeolites with a controlled meso-/microporous morphology and acidity is an expanding area of research interest for a wide range of applications. Here, we report a one-step synthesis of a hierarchical meso-/microporous lamellar MFI–Sn/Al zeolite ( i.e. , containing both Lewis acidic Sn- and Al-sites and a Brønsted acidic Al–O(H)–Si site) and its catalytic application for the conversion of glucose into 5-(ethoxymethyl)furfural (EMF). The MFI–Sn/Al zeolite was prepared with the assistance of a diquaternary ammonium ([C 22 H 45 –N + (CH 3 ) 2 –C 6 H 12 –N + (CH 3 ) 2 –C 6 H 13 ]Br 2− , C 22-6-6 ) template in a composition of 100SiO 2 /5C 22-6-6 /18.5Na 2 O/ x Al 2 O 3 / y SnO 2 /2957H 2 O ( x = 0.5, 1, and 2; y = 1 and 2, respectively). The MFI–Sn/Al zeolites innovatively feature dual meso-/microporosity and dual Lewis and Brønsted acidity, which enabled a three-step reaction cascade for EMF synthesis from glucose in ethanol solvent. The reaction proceeded via the isomerization of glucose to fructose over Lewis acidic Sn sites and the dehydration of fructose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and then the etherificationmore »of HMF and ethanol to EMF over the Brønsted acidic Al–O(H)–Si sites. The co-existence of multiple acidities in a single zeolite catalyst enabled one-pot cascade reactions for carbohydrate upgrading. The dual meso-/microporosity in the MFI–Sn/Al zeolites facilitated mass transport in processing of bulky biomass molecules. The balance of both types of acidity and meso-/microporosity realized an EMF yield as high as 44% from the glucose reactant.« less