Photo of Lili HAN

Nanotechnology & materials

Lili HAN

Establishing the largest library of single-atom catalysts for the first time.

Year Honored

Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter, The Chinese Academy of Sciences

Catalyst structure is the key factor that affects the performance of catalysts. Therefore, 3D visualization of catalyst microstructure, accurate modulation of its atomic structure, and revelation of its underlying universal structure-performance relationship are important foundations for designing high-performance catalysts. Given this, Lili Han focuses on the study of catalyst structure in catalytic conversions of clean energies.

By combining the 3D reconstruction technology and in-situ transmission electron microscopy characterization, Han has clarified the oxidation mechanism of Ni2Co bimetallic catalyst, thus overcoming difficulties in clearly understanding the bimetallic oxidation process at the nanoscale.

Based on the research results of 3D reconstruction characterization, Han established a "solid-phase surface and interface controllable anchoring" synthetic strategy and developed a series of catalysts that achieve outstanding catalytic performance. The catalyst with subnanometer atom ring regulated active sites solves the *OH over-adsorption problem in electrocatalytic CO2 reduction reaction. She constructed single-atom metal active sites which demonstrated excellent catalytic performance in the electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 and N2. This also solves the difficulties for N2 adsorption and *NN protonation, as well as the severe competitive hydrogen evolution reaction in electrocatalytic N2 for ammonia synthesis.

Han designed and constructed a series of comparable single-atom active sites, and the comprehensive library of single-atom catalysts has been successfully built for the first time. Through big data analysis, the unified principles on the properties of single-atom catalysts are uncovered, which provides important basic guidelines for the design of single-atom catalysts.

Han’s work can provide guidance for the design of high-performance nanocatalysts, thus reducing the trial-and-error cost and cycle of catalyst research and accelerating their industrial applications.