Interdisciplinary Research Group (IRG) 1: Quantum Materials
New regimes of light-matter interactions are enabling exciting new science, including the discovery of “light-matter” states in quantum materials. The advent of advanced ultrafast time-domain spectroscopies based on femtosecond laser sources provides opportunities to study non-equilibrium dynamics of quantum materials in femtosecond and even attosecond time scales.
This IRG will focus on i) Relaxation dynamics in 2D materials, ii) Ultrafast spin manipulation in 2D magnetic materials, and iii) Optically induced quantum phase transition in topological quantum materials.
A time-resolved photoemission measurement system capable of measuring material dynamics in the time scale of a few hundred femto (10-15) seconds. Rev. Sci. Instrum., (2020), Chini, Neupane and co-workers.
Interdisciplinary Research Group (IRG) 2: Catalysis
Exploiting defects as “chemical reactors” is an exciting concept as the ability to synthesize, manipulate and functionalize defects reaches atomic-scale precision. Defects in materials provide unique atomic-scale motifs, breaking symmetry from the parent lattice structure. Foreign atoms and molecules chemisorb on defects with new conformations and lateral registry creating low energy pathways for heterogeneous catalytic reactions.
This IRG will focus on i) Generate model surfaces to study single site, base metal atom / metal oxide support catalysts, and ii) Study single-site, base metal atom / metal oxides for low temp CO/HC oxidation & CO2 reduction.
Example of a mixed metal oxide nanoparticle converting toxic nitrous oxide into nitrogen and water. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2018, Liu and co workers.
The objectives of education component of this Center will focus on i) enabling high quality research by minority students at both UG and graduate levels that results in peer-reviewed articles in top-quality journals; ii) developing inquiry-based training programs in an interdisciplinary and collaborative environment through co-mentoring and exchange visits that will enable cutting-edge scientific discoveries and develop critical problem solving skills; iii) enhancing materials education through collaborative curriculum development that exploits remote learning tools and open source online learning modules; iv) creating professional enrichment through annual symposium on emerging materials and workshops showcasing materials research and applications; and v) nurturing a peer-level mentoring program that builds an environment facilitating community learning.