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Welcome to the Energy & Environmental Research Laboratory!

    The Energy & Environmental Research Lab is located in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, City University of Hong Kong. We are a materials chemistry lab with specific interests in electrochemical systems for energy and environmental applications, combining our expertise in materials chemistry, nanomaterials, and electrochemistry, we aim to address some fundamental and technologically-important questions in Energy and Environmental Applications.

    Our ultimate goals is to be able to design new materials with useful properties for next-generation energy and environmental applications [e.g., rechargeable batteries and electro-catalysis] as well as contributing to the fundamental progress of materials chemistry and physics, as shown in the figure below. The PI’s interdisciplinary research experiences in universities, national labs (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) and company [Applied Materials Inc. (in Silicon Valley)] have prepared our group for pursuing these goals. To achieve them, it is essential to analyze and understand the materials and processes at the atomic level. In-situ and ex-situ multimodal characterizations (TEM, STXM, TXM, XAS) are ideal tools in this quest, as they are able to determine the atomic structure, electronic properties, reaction energetics etc.

Selected Publications:

[1] Fabrication of Liquid Cell for In-Situ Transmission Electron Microscopy of Electrochemical Processes, R. Yang, L. Mei, Y. Fan, Q. Zhang, H. G. Liao, J. Yang, J. Li*, Z. Y. Zeng*, Nat. Protoc., 2022, DOI: 10.1038/s41596-022-00762-y. Link. PDF SI

[2] High-yield production of mono- or few-layer transition metal dichalcogenides nanosheets by electrochemical lithium ion intercalation-based exfoliation method​, R. Yang†, L. Mei†, Q. Zhang†, Y. Fan, H. S. Shin*, D. Voiry*, Z.Y. Zeng*Nat. Protoc., 2022, 17, 358-377. Link. PDF SI (ESI Highly Cited Papers: 30)

Media Reports: "CityU-Research Stories", "EurekAlert!(AAAS)", "CityU-MSE News", "CityU-CENG News"

                           "研之成理(Rationalscience)", "X-MOL平台", "香港城大研创", "电化学期刊"


[3] In-Situ TEM Visualization of LiF Nanosheets Formation on the Cathode-Electrolyte Interphase (CEI) in Liquid-Electrolyte Lithium-Ion Batteries, Q. Zhang†, J. Ma, L. Mei, J. Liu, Z. Li*, J. Li*, Z. Y. Zeng*, Matter, 2022, 5, 1235-1250. Link. PDF Movie S1. Movie S2.

  Media Reports: "研之成理 (Rationalscience)", "X-MOL平台", "Cell Press 细胞科学"

  Highlighted in "One Earth"

[4] Transition Metal Dichalcogenide-Based Functional Membrane: Synthesis, Modification and Water Purification Applications, H. Peng, R. Wang*, L. Mei, Q. Zhang, T. Ying, Z. Qian*, A. B. Farimani,  D. Voiry*, Z. Y. Zeng*Matter, 2022, DOI: 10.1016/j.matt.2022.09.019.

[5] Simultaneous electrochemical exfoliation and covalent functionalization of MoS2 membrane for ion sieving, L. Mei, Z. Cao, T. Ying, R. Yang, H. Peng, G. Wang, L. Zheng, Y. Chen, C. Y. Tang, D. Voiry, H. Wang*, A. B. Farimani*, Z. Y. Zeng*Adv. Mater. 2022, 34, 2201416. (Invited paper for "Rising Stars Series") Link

  Media Reports: "研之成理 (Rationalscience)", "X-MOL平台", "清华大学膜中心动态", "化学与材料科学"

                              "二维材料2DMaterial", "环材有料"

[6] MnO2-based materials for environmental applications, R. Yang, Y. Fan, R. Ye, Y. Tang, X. Cao*, Z. Yin*, Z. Y. Zeng*, Adv. Mater. 2021, 33, 2004862. Link(ESI Highly Cited Papers: 148) (Hot Paper)  

  Media Reports: "研之成理(Rationalscience)", "科研共进社"

[7] Investigation into the Phase-Activity Relationship of MnO2 Nanomaterials toward Ozone-Assisted Catalytic Oxidation of Toluene, R. Yang, Z. Guo, L. Cai, R. Zhu*, Y. Fan, Y. Zhang, P. Han, W. Zhang, X. Zhu, Q. Zhao, Z. Zhu*, C. K. Chan, Z. Y. Zeng*, Small, 2021, 17, 2103052. (Back Cover) Link.

[8] Boosting Electrocatalytic Reduction of CO2 to HCOOH on Ni Single Atom Anchored WTe2 Monolayer, Y. Zhang, R. Yang, H. Li*, and Z. Y. Zeng*, Small, 2022, DOI: 10.1002/smll.202203759.(Invited paper for "Rising Stars Series") Link.

  Media Reports: "科学材料站"

[9] A Safe Flexible Self-Powered Wristband System by Integrating Defective MnO2-x Nanosheet-Based Zinc-Ion Batteries with Perovskite Solar Cells J. Zhao, Z. Xu, Z. Zhou, S. Xi, Y. Xia, Q. Zhang, L. Huang, L. Mei, Y. Jiang, J. Gao*, Z. Y. Zeng*, C. Tan*, ACS Nano, 2021, 15, 10597-10608. Link(ESI Highly Cited Papers: 50)

[10] ZnIn2S4-based photocatalysts for energy and environmental applications, R. Yang, L. Mei, Y. Fan, Q. Zhang, R. Zhu*, R. Amal*, Z. Yin*, Z. Y. Zeng*Small Methods, 2021, 5, 2100887. Link.

​[11] Highly efficient photocatalytic hydrogen evolution and simultaneous formaldehyde degradation over Z-scheme ZnIn2S4-NiO/BiVO4 hierarchical heterojunction under visible light irradiation, R. Yang, Q. Chen, Y. Ma, R. Zhu*, Y. Fan, J. Huang, H. Niu, Y. Dong, D. Li, Y. Zhang, L. Mei, B. Chen*, Z. Y. Zeng*Chem. Eng. J., 2021, 423, 130164. Link.

[12] InVO4-based photocatalysts for energy and environmental applications, R. Yang, Y. Zhang, Y. Fan, R. Wang, R. Zhu, Y. Tang*, Z. Yin*, Z. Y. Zeng*Chem. Eng. J., 2022428, 131145. Link.

[13] Size-Selective Synthesis of Platinum Nanoparticles on Transition-Metal Dichalcogenides for Hydrogen Evolution Reaction, Liang Mei, Xiaoping Gao, Zhan Gao, Qingyong Zhang, Xinge Yu, Andrey L. Rogach, Z. Y. Zeng*Chem. Commun. 2021, 57, 2879-2882. (Invited paper for “Emerging Investigators” collection) Link.

[14] Intercalation and Exfoliation Chemistry of Transition Metal Dichalcogenides, Qingyong Zhang,† Liang Mei,† Xiehong Cao, Yuxin Tang, Z. Y. Zeng*, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2020, 8, 15417-15444. (Invited paper for “Emerging Investigators” collection) Link.

[15] Electrode Roughness Dependent Electrodeposition of Sodium at the Nanoscale, Zhiyuan Zeng, Pallab Barai, Seung-Yong Lee, Juan Yang, Xiaowei Zhang, Wenjing Zheng, Yi-Sheng Liu, Karen C. Bustillo, Peter Ercius, Jinghua Guo, Yi Cui, Venkat Srinivasan, Haimei Zheng, Nano Energy, 2020, 72, 104721. Link.

[16] Formation of two-dimensional transition metal oxide nanosheets with nanoparticles as intermediates, J. Yang,  Zhiyuan Zeng, J. Kang, S. Betzler, C. Czarnik, X.  Zhang, C. Ophus, C. Yu, K.  Bustillo, M. Pan, J. Qiu, L.-W. Wang, H. Zheng, Nat. Mater. 2019, 18, 970-976. Link.

[17] Visualization of Electrode-Electrolyte Interfaces in LiPF6/EC/DEC Electrolyte for Lithium Ion Batteries via In-Situ TEM, Zhiyuan Zeng, Wen-I Liang, Hong-Gang Liao, Huolin L Xin, Yin-Hao Chu, Haimei Zheng, Nano Lett. 2014, 14, 1745-1750. Link(Cited Times: 310)
  Media Report: LBNL MSD News
 Cited (Highlighted) in "Nat. Protoc. 2022" "Nat. Rev. Chem. 2019" "Science 2017" "Science 2017" "Nat. Nanotechnol. 2017" "Chem. Rev. 2017" "Chem. Rev. 2017" "Science 2015" "8 Nat. Commun. papers


[18] Growth of noble metal nanoparticles on single-layer TiS2 and TaS2 nanosheets for hydrogen evolution reactionZhiyuan Zeng, Chaoliang Tan, Xiao Huang, Shuyu Bao, Hua Zhang, Energ. Environ. Sci., 2014, 7, 797-803. Link. (ESI Highly Cited Papers: 318)


[19] Single-Layer MoS2-Based Nanoprobes for Homogeneous Detection of Biomolecules, Changfeng Zhu, Zhiyuan Zeng, Hai Li, Fan Li, Chunhai Fan, Hua Zhang, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2013, 135(16), 5998-6001. Link. (ESI Highly Cited Papers: 962)

[20] Metal Dichalcogenide Nanosheets: Preparation, Properties and Applications, Xiao Huang, Zhiyuan Zeng, Hua Zhang, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2013, 42, 1934-1946. Link. (ESI Highly Cited Papers: 1868)

[21] Solution-phase epitaxial growth of noble metal nanostructures on dispersible single-layer MoS2 nanosheets, Xiao Huang†, Zhiyuan Zeng†, Shuyu Bao, Mengfei Wang, Xiaoying Qi, Zhanxi Fan, Hua Zhang, Nat. Commun., 2013, 4, 1444. (†equal contribution) Link. (ESI Highly Cited Papers: 762)

[22] An Effective Method for the Fabrication of Few-Layer-Thick Inorganic NanosheetsZhiyuan Zeng, Ting Sun, Jixin Zhu, Xiao Huang, Zongyou Yin, Gang Lu, Zhanxi Fan, Qingyu Yan, Huey Hoon Hng, Hua Zhang, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.2012, 51, 9052-9056. Link. (ESI Highly Cited Papers: 547)

[23] Single-Layer Semiconducting Nanosheets: High-Yield Preparation and Device Fabrication, Zhiyuan Zeng, Zongyou Yin, Xiao Huang, Hai Li, Qiyuan He, Gang Lu, Freddy Boey, Hua Zhang, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2011, 50, 11093-11097. Link. (ESI Highly Cited Papers: 1722)  (Hot Paper) 
  Media Reports: "Materials Views", "Materials Views China"
 Cited (Highlighted) in
"Nat. Protoc. 2022" "Nat. Mater. 2021" "Nat. Mater. 2021" "Nat. Rev. Chem. 2020" "Nature 2018" "Nat. Chem. 2018" "Nat. Chem. 2017" "Science 2013" "Nat. Mater. 2013" "Nat.Chem. 2013" "Nat. Nanotechnol. 2012" "11 Nat. Commun. papers"