Current Group


Education Background

Research Interests

Principal Investigator

Barry Chin Li Cheung
Ph.D. Harvard University

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.

Graduate Student

Tamra Fisher
B.S. Campbell University

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 plasma catalysis.

Graduate Student

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

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

Undergraduate Student

Leo Derr 
Missouri Western State University

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 between this ozone-mediated synthetic method and generalize it for other reducible metal oxide systems.

Undergraduate Student

Ema Shaker
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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.