Understanding the Birth of the Catalyst during Pyrolysis Using Synchrotron X-rays

  • Date: Jul 5, 2022
  • Time: 04:30 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Prof. Dr. Iryna V. Zenyuk
  • Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Irvine
  • Location: Building M, Richard-Willstätter-Haus, Faradayweg 10, 14195 Berlin
  • Room: Seminar Room
  • Host: Interface Science Department
  • Contact: nikolaus@fhi-berlin.mpg.de
Understanding the Birth of the Catalyst during Pyrolysis Using Synchrotron X-rays
Transition metal-nitrogen-carbon materials (M-N-C catalysts) are promising electrocatalysts in electrochemical applications. High temperature treatment in inert environment (pyrolysis) is the most common method for the synthesis of M-N-C catalysts and critical to achieve high electrocatalyst activity and electronic conductivity.

To this day, despite many uses and successful implementations in materials manufacturing, pyrolysis has been an entirely empirical technology, with process control and optimization relying exclusively on “Edisonian” approach. Herein, we probed the morphological evolution and chemical transformation of a nitrogen-containing charge transfer organic salt, mixed with transition metal (iron) salt and amorphous silica powder (precursor) during the pyrolysis process via a combination of in situ synchrotron and laboratory-based diagnostic techniques.


Professor Zenyuk holds a B.S. (2008) in mechanical engineering from the New York University Tandon School of Engineering. She continued her studies at Carnegie Mellon University, where she earned M.S. (2011) and Ph.D. (2013) in mechanical engineering. Her graduate work focused on fundamental understanding of electric double layers in electrochemical energy-conversion systems. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Electrochemical Technologies Group, Zenyuk joined the faculty of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Tufts University in 2015. In July 2018 she joined Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at University of California, Irvine, where she is also an Associate Director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center.

At UC Irvine, Zenyuk’s group works on enabling energy solutions by researching low-temperature hydrogen fuel-cells, Li-metal batteries and electrolyzers. Zenyuk works on design strategy encompassing novel materials, diagnostic tools and device-level testing.

She is a recipient of the NSF CAREER award (2017), Interpore society Fraunhofer Award for Young Researchers (2017), Research Corporation for Science Advancement, Scialog Fellow in Advanced Energy Storage (2017-2019), Electrochemical Society (ECS) Toyota Young Investigator Award (2018), UCI Samueli School of Engineering Early Career Faculty Excellence in Research Award (2019) and ECS Energy Technology Division Srinivasan Young Investigator Award (2021), UCI Beal Applied Innovations Early Career Innovator of the Year (2021). Prof. Zenyuk published over 70 journal publications and delivered more than 80 invited presentations on topics of energy conversion and storage.

Learn more at her webpage.

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