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, biocomposites, defect engineered catalysts, thermal neutron converter coatings, and low dimensional rare-earth nanostructures.

Graduate Student

Deepa Choudhry
M.Sc. Amity University; B.Sc. Delhi University

Plasma catalysis is the combination of a catalyst with a plasma to catalyze the conversion of various gas chemicals. Nanostructured cerium oxide (CeOx: x = 1.5 to 2) has catalytic properties to promote redox reactions originating from its intrinsic oxygen capacity and release capacity that is associated with the formation of oxygen vacancy defects. My current research focuses on studying the roles of doped ceria for the CO2 hydrogenation to methanol via plasma catalyzed reactions. I am also interested in studying various doped ceria synthesis method to make the process more efficient.

Graduate Student

Matthew Winburn
B.S. Minot State University

My research focuses on the generation and use of plasma-activated water. Plasma activated water is made when a plasma activated gas (such as air) is forced into water, producing different reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. This “activated” liquid can be used in a variety of applications. Current, I am focusing on using it to remediate organic environmental pollutants.

Graduate Student

Erika De Leon 
Texas State University

Cerium oxide is known for its catalytic activity stemming from its oxygen vacancy defects. Currently I am working on increasing the oxygen vacancy defects in ceria nanoparticles by doping the nanoparticles with 3d-transition metals. My goal is to then determine the antioxidant properties of these doped ceria nanoparticles and compare them to their pure metal oxide counterparts.

Undergraduate Student

Trevor Laugen
St. Olaf College

Cerium oxide (or ceria) is a useful and versatile catalyst. My primary research goal is to study zinc doped ceria as an antioxidant for biological systems. We are using microwave synthesis to create these doped nanoparticles. This is a more efficient method than conventional ones such as co-precipitation. The antioxidant activities of these synthesized materials with different dopant concentrations are then assessed using biomolecular assays to elucidate their mechanisms.