The research in the Cheung group is aimed at advancing the understanding of nanochemistry at both atomic and electronic structure levels and its applications for creating materials of novel physical and chemical properties. By exploiting the unique quantum states of atoms on surfaces and nanotopology, nanoscaled materials composed of significant surface atoms can be engineered to exhibit distinguished properties than their bulk counterparts. Currently, our group focuses on discovering the structure-catalytic activity relationships in lanthanide oxide and chalcogenide nanomaterials and unraveling the underlying scientific principles. Our research effort also includes developing synthetic strategies with modern techniques such as microwave chemistry to create these materials.
In the Cheung group, students gain experience in synthesizing low-dimensional materials such as nanoparticles, nanocubes, nanooctahedra and nanowires using gas phase and liquid phase methods. They also learn diverse materials characterization skills such as atomic force microscopy, X-ray powder diffraction, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Depending on students’ interests, their research areas may range from catalytic chemistry, solar materials chemistry to electronic materials chemistry.