Graduate Scholarships and Post-doctoral Fellowships Available

The materials chemistry research group encourages top-rank post doctoral fellows, both national and international, to apply for the elite Banting and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships to support their work in our group.

The applications can be found on the Banting and Vanier websites.

We also encourage Marie-Curie and Alexander von Humbolt fellows as well as other top rank international graduate and post-graduate scholars holding research fellowships to apply for positions in our group.

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Congratulations Hong Wang, Lu Wang and coworkers on you Angewante Chemie paper entitled Ambient Electro-Synthesis of Ammonia – Electrode Porosity and Composition Engineering

Congratulations Hong Wang, Lu Wang, and coworkers on you Angewandte Chemie paper entitled “Ambient Electro-Synthesis of Ammonia – Electrode Porosity and Composition Engineering” in which they report for the first time that hierarchically structured nitrogen-doped nanoporous carbon membranes (NCMs) can electrochemically convert N2 into NH3 at room temperature and atmospheric pressure in an acidic aqueous solution. The Faradaic efficiency and rate of NH3 production using the metal-free NCM electrode in 0.1 M HCl solution are as high as 5.2% and 0.08 g m-2 h-1, respectively. Upon functionalization of the NCM electrode with Au nanoparticles (Au NPs), the efficiency and rate achieve a remarkable 22% and 0.36 g m-2 h-1, respectively. These performance metrics are unprecedented for the electrocatalytic production of NH3 from N2 under ambient conditions.

The full article can be read on the Angewandte Chemie website.

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Plasmon Power – Ambient Synthesis of Ammonia

The synthesis of ammonia by photoelectrochemical N2 reduction, unlike the century old high temperature high pressure Haber-Bosch ammonia process, is not very energy‐intensive and can operate at low or even ambient temperature and pressure. In a Chinese-Canadian collaboration, spearheaded Professor Jinlong Gong and Professor Geoffrey Ozin, the promotional role of surface O vacancies in outer layers of amorphous TiO2 thin films enable the adsorption and activation of N2 to facilitate N2 reduction to NH3 is described for the first time. The paper entitled “Promoted Fixation of Molecular Nitrogen with Surface Oxygen Vacancies on Plasmon‐Enhanced TiO2 Photoelectrodes”.

The full article can be read on the Angewandte Chemie website.

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Congratulations Lu Wang, Meikun Xia, Hong Wang, Kefang Huang, and Chenxi Qian on your Perspective “Greening Ammonia: Toward the Solar Ammonia Refinery”

The full article can be read on Joule’s website.

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Made in Canada – Canadian nano-technology invented in Professor Geoffrey Ozin’s nanochemistry laboratory and commercialized by Opalux, stops counterfeiters in their tracks

Whether preventing passport fraud or currency counterfeiting, smart nano-materials invented at the University of Toronto and commercialized by Toronto-based Opalux, have locked in a new level of security.

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New Materials Discovery: Machine-Enhanced Human Creativity

In this article, published in Chem, a sister journal to Cell, Geoffrey Ozin and Todd Siler, a long time practicing chemist and artist, ask whether machine learning will ever be creative enough to match the innate ingenuity of humans at discovering and synthesizing an entirely new class of materials.

The full article can be read here.

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Congratulations Young Li

Congratulations Young Li on your paper in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces (DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b04982) in which a novel palladium-tungsten oxide hetero-nanostructure Pd@HyWO3-x is shown to function as a high performance photocatalyst for enabling the gas-phase reduction of CO2 to CO at an impressive rate of 3.0 mmol gcat-1 h-1. A photochemical pathway operates via bandgap excitation of HyWO3-x along with photothermal contributions arising from non-radiative electron relaxation in Pd nanocrystals and the plasmon band of HyWO3-x. Kinetic analysis revealed a decrease in the activation energy for CO formation in the dark compared to the light with kinetics being more CO2 dependent in the dark to more H2 dependent in the light. Operando diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy measurements provided valuable insight into the surface chemistry responsible for the conversion of CO2 to CO formation. The Pd@HyWO3-x system provides a blueprint for rationally designing and optimizing catalysts that enable gas-phase photothermal reduction of CO2.

The full article can be read on the ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces website.

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Congratulations Lu Wang, Meikun Xia, Hong Wang, Kefeng Huang, and Chenxi Qian on your Perspective “Greening Ammonia toward the Solar Ammonia Refinery”

The century-old Haber-Bosch process for the production of ammonia from N2 and H2 is an energy demanding and greenhouse gas intensive, high temperature and high pressure, fossil powered process. A contemporary challenge is to replace this unsustainable process by a sustainable one that produces ammonia from N2 and H2O, powered by solar electricity, solar heat or solar photons.

In this Perspective, we present an overview of current research activity and technology development in this area together with a high level energy analysis shown in the graphic of the different ways being explored to achieve the lofty goal of a ‘solar ammonia refinery’.

The full article can be read on the Joule website.

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U of T Solar Fuels Group Awarded Major Funding for Greenhouse Gas Project

Professor Geoff Ozin and the Solar Fuels Team at the University of Toronto have been awarded close to $1 million from the Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF) to translate their greenhouse gas research to scale.

Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research, Innovation and Science made the announcement at the Ontario Centres of Excellence Discovery conference on May 1. The project proposes a technology capable of recycling CO2, either from the atmosphere or from concentrated industrial sources, into value-added chemicals and fuels. Ontario’s Low Carbon Innovation Fund will help researchers, entrepreneurs and companies create and bring to market innovative low-carbon technologies. Moridi says that LCIF initiatives such as this, “will help us fight climate change while preparing industries to thrive in a competitive, low-carbon economy.” Ozin is excited to begin work on the Greenhouse Gases to Fuels project, commenting “working with the Low Carbon Innovation Fund, we intend to demonstrate that our G2F technology is an effective approach to making Ontario both environmentally sustainable and economically successful.”

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University of Toronto Solar Fuels Group among top Six finalists announced for Ontario’s Solutions 2030 Challenge

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) has announced the first cohort of finalists for Ontario’s Solutions 2030 Challenge – a three-phase competition over three years designed to accelerate the development of technologies with strong potential to help Ontario meet its 2030 emissions targets as part of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan. The initiative is part of the province’s broader TargetGHG program, which is administered by OCE on behalf of the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.

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Congratulations to Dr. Paul Duchesne for the Award of a Prestigious NSERC Post-Doctoral Fellowship

The NSERC PDF Program provides financial support to a core of the most promising Canadian researchers in natural sciences and engineering at a pivotal time in their careers. This support allows fellows to seek out the best research programs in their chosen fields, both within Canada and abroad. These fellowships are intended to secure a supply of highly qualified Canadians with leading-edge scientific and research skills for Canadian industry, government, and universities.

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