Zhu LuoFollow

Date of Completion


Embargo Period



herterogenous catalysis, metal oxide, energy, enviromental

Major Advisor

Steven L. Suib

Associate Advisor

S. Pamir Alpay

Associate Advisor

Mu-Ping Nieh

Associate Advisor

Alfredo Angeles-Boza

Associate Advisor

Stephen O. Hay

Field of Study

Materials Science


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The main goal of this dissertation study is to develop high activity heterogeneous catalysts (metal oxide materials) for environmental and sustainable energy applications. Controlled synthesis of crystalline structures, physical,and chemical properties of the catalysts result in improved catalytic activity. Four different topics including photocatalytic remediation, hydrogen evolution, electrochemical supercapacitors, and organic synthesis applications are discussed in this thesis.

The first part presents a unique inverse micelle preparation method to synthesize mesoporous mixed phase (anatase/rutile) titanium dioxide materials. This study was conducted with the purpose of developing an inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and visible light active photocatalyst. The prepared vanadium doped mesoporous TiO2 materials show enhanced photocatalytic activity for decomposing organic pollutants compared to commercial TiO2 (Degussa P25).

The second part exhibits the preparation of copper modified titanium dioxides materials for terminal alkyne homocoupling reactions. The mesoporous TiO2 was used as a support. The focus of this study is to investigate how the different preparation methods (doping, solvent free, and impregnation) and the various forms of copper affect the homocoupling yields. The Cu doped TiO2 material shows the best homocoupling activity with high yield more than 99%.

In the third part of this thesis, mesoporous MoO3-x materials was prepared via a novel method. The prepared MoO3-x material has a crystalline, mesoporous, and oxygen-deficient structure. The unique physical and chemical properties of MoO3-x make it a potential replacement for Pt materials in hydrogen evolution reactions. The MoO3-x material can be used in both alkaline and acidic media without the assistance of any noble metal catalysts. Further optimization of this study may lead to the low-cost metal oxide catalysts in practical electrochemical applications.