KY Space Grant REU-22-016: Investigating carbon-dot-assisted metal chelation and pyrolysis for catalyst formation towards CO2 reduction

Grants and Contracts Details


Carbon-dot-assisted metal chelation and pyrolysis for catalyst formation towards electrochemical CO2 reduction This project supported by the NASA KY research experience for undergraduates (REU) program will investigate the chelation of metal atoms with carbon dots (CDs) and the pyrolysis of these precursors in the synthesis of electrocatalysts towards electrochemical CO2 reduction. It is expected that CDs will enable the incorporation of metal atoms with high content in conductive carbon support. To ensure the successful catalyst formation, the undergraduate student researcher will investigate different and unique types of CDs, for example, (i) CD-1 derived from thermal carbonization of citric acid, (ii) CD-2 derived from the assembly of nitropyrene. CDs will be mixed with target metal salt (e.g., CuCl2). In this step, copper ion will be bound to oxygen groups (M-O) of CDs. After freeze-drying, samples will be transferred to a tube furnace and will be pyrolyzed with a nitrogen precursor (urea) under the flow of argon gas at the temperature of 400-600 °C. During this process, nitrogen (N) atoms from decomposition of urea will chelate copper atoms, then form robust Cu-N4 catalytic sites while CDs are carbonized.
Effective start/end date8/15/228/14/24


  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration


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