Photo of Wenjie Tian

Nanotechnology & materials

Wenjie Tian

Low-cost functional nanomaterials, sustainable semi-artificial technologies and green catalytic techniques.

Year Honored

The University of Adelaide

Asia Pacific

Hails From
Asia Pacific

Wenjie Tian focuses on the research of various nanomaterials with atomic-scale structural designs for environmental remediation and energy conversion applications, including water remediation, oxygen reduction reaction, carbon dioxide capture, supercapacitors, and photocatalysis.

Tian first proposed a new prototype of a sustainable semi-artificial system by anchoring photosystem II (PSII) purified from spinach leaves on polyethylenimine-coated macroporous carbon electrode with a high load. The maximum turnover number of 10,200 ± 1,380 mol O2 per mol PSII dimer is obtained in this system, reaching high current-to-O2 conversion efficiency. Most importantly, this research has resulted in several key findings. The functions of PSII to release O2 under light and dark are revealed. Under periodic solar irradiation, this PSII electrode allows for long-term mediated photocurrent output. Notably, the proof-of-concept addresses the knowledge gap in the long-term photoelectrochemistry study of PSII in vivo.

Tian ingeniously designed mild and scalable synthetic methods and structural engineering strategies for high-performance carbon-based catalyst preparation using low-cost and renewable biomass precursors. She demonstrated for the first time that sodium bicarbonate could be utilized as a mild and environmentally friendly activating and pore-forming reagent to convert biomasses (e.g., flour, yeast extract, glucose, flat mushroom stipe, fallen leaves, and flowers) into functional nanoporous carbons for versatile applications in environmental and energy-related areas.

Apart from material design, Tian also grasped a solid knowledge of applying the as-synthesised materials in green catalytic advanced oxidation for pollutant degradation in environmental areas. She, for the first time, revealed the degradation kinetic features of multiple organic pollutants compared to their respective single pollutant systems. For example, she found better kinetics and efficiencies of degradation in binary phenolic pollutants than single phenolic pollutant systems, while the binary antibiotic pollutants show similar degradation kinetics to single antibiotics.