Professor of Chemical Engineering
Davidson School of Chemical Engineering
Forney Hall of Chemical Engineering
480 Stadium Mall Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2100
The properties of interfaces determine many of the macroscopic characteristics of a broad range of important engineering materials, from heterogeneous catalysts to batteries, and in recent years, first principles calculations have emerged as powerful tools for elucidating these properties at the atomic scale. These ab initio calculations are capable of determining structural and energetic properties of interfaces that are difficult, if not impossible, to access experimentally, and in some cases, the calculations have been used to identify new materials with superior properties.
In the Greeley group, we combine first principles calculations of interfaces with classical thermodynamic and kinetic theories to predict macroscopic catalytic and materials properties. We apply these general techniques to several specific classes of interfaces, with an ultimate goal of understanding and designing materials from first principles. Specific areas of interest include:
1) Heterogeneous catalysis. One of our primary focus areas is the complex chemistry of biomass conversion to hydrogen and to liquid fuels on metal surfaces; in particular, we seek to develop accelerated strategies for modeling these reaction networks with first principles calculations. An additional interest is in determining how the interactions between nanoparticle catalysts and oxide supports can, in some cases, lead to novel reactivity patterns that are not observable on either the nanoparticle or the support in isolation.
2) Electrocatalysis. We apply surface science-based techniques, which have been extensively studied at gas-solid interfaces, to probe the fundamental mechanistic details electrocatalytic processes that occur in fuel cells and electrolyzers. We also focus on developing models of the stability of metal/liquid interfaces in electrocatalytic environments; our goal, in this work, is to determine the durability of fuel cells during extended periods of operation.
3) Energy storage in batteries. Although battery technology has been deployed commercially for many years, the fundamental science and engineering of electrode/electrolyte interfaces in batteries is still poorly understood. Our work in this area focuses on the study of lithiation of next-generation anode materials for lithium ion batteries, with an ultimate goal of both predicting higher capacity battery materials and understanding the processes that degrade these materials over long cycle periods.
We are a part of the Purdue Catalysis Center, which fosters interaction among faculty and students in catalysis research groups by collaborating on research projects, sharing resources and facilities, and holding weekly joint group meetings.
Visiting Scholars and Postdoctoral Associates
- Zhenhua Zeng
- Brandon Bukowski
- Tej Choksi
- Hee-Joon Chun
- Joseph Kubal
- Yu-Hsuan Lee
- Paulami Majumdar
- Robert Warburton
Awards and Honors
"Atomistic and First Principles Computational Studies of Li-O2 batteries," K. C. Lah, M. Chan, L. Curtiss, and J. Greeley, Springer Series, in press (2014)
"Effects on van der Waals Density Functional Corrections on Trends in Furfural Adsorption and Hydrogenation on Close-packed Transition Metal Surfaces," B. Liu, L. Cheng, L. Curtiss, and J. Greeley, Surface Science, 622, 51-59 (2014)
"Reaction Mechanism for Direct Propylene Epoxidation by Alumina-Supported Silver Aggregates," L. Cheng, F. Mehmood, J. Greeley, et al., ACS Catalysis, 4, 32-39 (2014)
"Stabilization by Atomic Layer Deposition of Copper Catalysts for Liquid Phase Reactions," B. O’Neill, D. Jackson, A. Crisci, et al., Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 125, 14053-14057 (2013)
"Concentration-dependent Ordering of Lithiated Amorphous TiO2," H. Yildrim, J. Greeley, and S. Sankaranarayanan, Journal of Physical Chemistry, 117, 3834-3845 (2013)
"Chiral Pinwheel Heterojunctions Self-Assembled from C60 and Pentacene," J. Smerdon, R. Rankin, J. Greeley, et al., ACS Nano, 7, 3086-3094 (2013)
"Size-dependent Subnanometer Pd Cluster (Pd4, Pd6, and Pd17) Water Oxidation Electrocatalysis," G. Kwon, G. Ferguson, C. Heard, et al., ACS Nano, 7, 5808-5817 (2013)