Nanoscale Chemistry

Our research commitments are to advance the fundamental understanding of the self-assembly processes in nature and to exploit these processes to design and synthesize hierarchical nanostructures with novel physical and chemical properties. Our highly interdisciplinary research is supported by the excellent facilities and collaborative environment of the University of Nebraska system.  Our research focuses on three important areas of nanoscale chemistry:

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DESIGN AND SYNTHESIS

The design and synthesis of novel nanomaterials by abstracting the efficient designs from nature

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NANOTECHNOLOGY STUDY

The study of biological macromolecules at the nanoscale using methods of nanotechnology

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NEW DEVICE DEVELOPMENT

The development of new analytical devices via biomimetical approach with nanomaterials

Group Members

Barry Chin Li Cheung
Tamra Fisher
Avinash Both
Leo Derr
Ema Shaker
Barry Chin Li Cheung

Barry Chin Li Cheung

Principal Investigator

Education
Ph.D. Harvard University

Research Interests
My research group focuses on the study of nanomaterials chemistry. We are studying the synthesis mechanisms of new materials and their physical and chemical properties with a specific context. The different types of materials we have studied include: Bio-inspired materials, defect engineered catalysts, thermal neutron converter coatings, thermal electric materials and low dimensional rare-earth nanostructures.

Tamra Fisher

Tamra Fisher

Graduate Student

Education
B.S. Campbell University

Research Interests
Cerium oxide’s unique catalytic activity to redox reactions stems from its large intrinsic oxygen storage and release capacity associated with oxygen vacancy defects (OVDs). Currently, I am working to determine the defects-activity relationship of ceria catalysts for the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) with hydrogen peroxide. I am also interested in investigating the effect of precious metal catalyst decoration on defect induced catalysis.

Avinash Both

Avinash Both

Graduate Student

Education
M.Sc. National Institute of Science Education and Research, India

Research Interests
The physical properties of materials change when confined in small dimensions. My research focuses on studying the formation and physical properties of solids in nanoscale cavities. Currently, I am studying the formation of carbon dioxide solid (or dry ice) and gas clathrate hydrate into pseudo one-dimensional structures. My goal is to investigate the potential of using confined cavities for the storage of green house gases and fuels.

Leo Derr

Leo Derr

Undergraduate Student

Education
Missouri Western State University

Research Interests
Ceria is an important catalytic material with numerous applications ranging from fuel cells, advanced oxidation processes, to treatments of exhaust gases from internal combustion engines. Recently, our group has demonstrated a rapid method to generate ceria nanoparticles by direct ozonation of cerium(III) nitrate in ethanol. However, the exact reaction mechanism is yet completely resolved. My research focuses on controlling the acidity of the reactions and studying its effect on the reaction yield. My goal is to unravel the principles of this ozone-mediated synthetic method and generalize it for other reducible metal oxide systems.

Ema Shaker

Ema Shaker

Undergraduate Student

Education
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Research Interests
Sunscreens are important chemicals to protect our skins from the UV damage due to sun exposure. My research focuses on evaluating the efficacy of inorganic components in sunscreens using an in vitro method. I am developing new multi-component inorganic oxides which are bio-compatible and UV-resistant for broad spectrum sunscreen applications.