Energy driven Nanomaterials and Nanoengineering Lab


Solar Energy

We are studying and designing nanostructured materials for solar energy driven applications such as solar cell, photoelectrochemical water splitting and biomass conversion to biofuels. Through designing nanostructured materials, we are interested in investigating the nanostructure’s effects on the optical and electrochemical properties of materials and try to solve the fundamental problems to improve the efficiency of the solar energy conversion systems. To design the nanostructured materials, we will use the following approaches: a) Electrospinning method b) Electrochemical deposition method c) Chemical vapor deposition method d) Bio-mimicking approach. For better designing and fabrication of functional nanomaterials and device, we are using simulation software’s such as FDTD.



We are interested in developing novel zwitteronic polymers containing both positively and negatively charged groups and their applications in enhanced oil recovery, microfluidic device and nanomedicines. Specifically, we focus on synthesis of novel zwitteronic polymers, their self-assembly behaviors and nanostructures fabrication. Through fundamental understanding of these zwitteronic polymers, we are able to apply these fundamentals to solve the problems in the different fields such as nanomedicine, fouling membranes, enhanced oil recovery fields. For synthesis of these polymers with controlled molecular weight, Controlled/living radical polymerization methods such as RAFT, and ATRP are applied. To study the physical chemistry of these polymers, we use techniques such as cryo-TEM, zeta-sizer, GPC, and dynamic light scattering (DLS), NMR, FTIR, etc.


Microfluidics is an interdisciplinary field in terms of engineering, nanotechnology, biotechnology, etc. with usage of low volumes of samples, fast analysis, and cost-efficiency. The field of microfluidics has become a platform for research on various areas such as Enhanced Oil Recovery, Nano-medicines, rheology of fluids etc. In our work, we are using microfluidics to understand the mechanism of Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) such as polymer flooding, ASP flooding and fluid behaviors at the nanoscale. To mimic the EOR process, special microchips with certain patterns are designed and the EOR performance is studied with related parameters such as fluid properties, flow rate, pressure, and temperature. The EOR process is simulated by an Eclipse software. The outcome of the experiment determines the EOR performance in terms of increasing and enhancing production of oil and simultaneously ensuring minimum oil saturation in the bed. We are also interested in exploiting microfluidic based technology for developing a solar fuel reactor and nanomedicine working with our other teams which are polymer and renewable energy.