KNI Special Seminar: Dr. Lucy Li, KNI Prize Postdoctoral Fellow - Nov 9

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Dr. Lucy Li will present her latest research on "Light-Driven Catalysis: Untangling Thermal and Non-thermal Effects".

KNI Seminar with Dr. Lucy Li

October 19, 2021

Join us for a special webinar with KNI Prize Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Lucy Li, on Tuesday, November 9th at 4 pm PT. Dr. Li will present her latest findings on "Light-Driven Catalysis: Untangling Thermal and Non-thermal Effects".

This webinar will be held via Zoom. Register here.


Traditionally, industrial thermocatalytic processes require high temperatures, high pressures, and several recycling steps that consume up to 2% of the world’s energy supply annually. Light-driven processes present a sustainable alternative to the synthesis of fuels, chemicals, and materials. The multifaceted role of light in these catalytic reactions has led to demonstrations of accelerated activities, reduced activation energies, and the ability to select for desired products. A key challenge lies in discerning photothermal and nonthermal contributions toward overall reactivity. Here, we demonstrate how these intertwined effects can be untangled through direct and indirect illumination of catalysts in conjunction with precise temperature measurements. The catalytic properties of rhodium (Rh) and ruthenium (Ru), nickel (Ni) catalysts are investigated in three model reactions: carbon dioxide hydrogenation, ammonia synthesis, and ethylene oligomerization, respectively. Furthermore, we discuss the design of a planar solar thermocatalytic reactor that incorporates a selective absorber and allows for both flexibility and scalability of the desired reaction.


Xueqian (Lucy) Li received her B.S. in Chemistry with highest honors from New York University and completed her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Duke University under the supervision of Professor Jie Liu. As a DoD NDSEG Fellow, she focused on plasmon-enhanced carbon dioxide hydrogenation and nitrogen fixation on rhodium and ruthenium-based catalysts for her graduate research. She is currently a Kavli Nanoscience Institute Prize Postdoctoral Scholar in Applied Physics and Materials Science working in the laboratory of Professor Harry A. Atwater. At Caltech, her research involves the design and development of tailored catalysts and solar thermochemical reactors for selective CO2 reduction.