Navigate Catalysis and Nanomaterials Laboratory

The Catalysis and Nanomaterials Laboratory, directed by Professor Michael S. Wong, is located in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, in the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University, Houston, TX. Our research program broadly addresses engineering problems using the tools of materials chemistry. We work in the thematic area of nanotechnology and currently in the application areas of energy (chemicals production from oil/gas and biomass), downhole oil detection and enhanced recovery, photovoltaics, rechargeable batteries, and the environment (water cleanup, green chemistry). We develop and apply materials synthesis techniques to understand better how structure affects the catalytic properties of a nanomaterial.

Our Research.


Structure-property analysis of bimetallic catalysts

Nanoparticle synthesis and catalysis

Heterogeneous catalysis for water cleanup

Biomass upgrading chemistry

Hydrocarbon upgrading chemistry

Nanoparticle assembly

Enhanced oil recovery and downhole detection using nanomaterials

Advanced materials processing of microcapsules, quantum dots, and supported metal oxides.

Recent News.


Congratulations to Ben and Tanya for being elected to the inaugural class of NSF NEWT Fellows! June 18, 2019
Congratulations to our newest alumni, Samantha Samaniego, who successfully defended her MS thesis research on Gas Chromatography Study of Sulfur Removal from Jet Fuel using Nanoporous Materials! June 12, 2019
We are very excited to welcome two new visiting scholars, Kaitlin and Michelle, for the summer. They are local K-12 science teachers joining us through the NEWT RET program. June 10, 2019
We are pleased to welcome Ms. Xinying Luan (first-year ChBE graduate student) as a visitor to our lab for the summer. May 30, 2019
Ben's work on PdAu-catalyzed oxidation through in situ generated H2O2 in simulated produced water was just published online in Catalysis Today. May 12, 2019
Ben and Chris' work on Microencapsulated Photoluminescent Gold for ppb-level Chromium(VI) Sensing was just accepted to ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. May 2, 2019
Kim's recent work has been featured as the cover article for the special issues of Accounts of Chemical Research "Water for Two Worlds: Urban and Rural Communities". April 16, 2019
Published! An international assessment of nanotechnology opportunities for groundwater and soil decontamination (in Environ. Sci.: Nano). April 11, 2019
Chelsea has received the 2019 Richard J. Kokes Travel Award to fund her trip to the 26th North American Catalysis Society (NACS) meeting in Chicago, IL later this year. Congratulations Chelsea! April 5, 2019
Chelsea paper Highly Defective UiO-66 Materials for the Adsorptive Removal of PFOS has just been published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering. Way to go Chelsea! March 5, 2019
Congratulations Kim for the first publication of 2019! February 22, 2019
We wish the best of luck to our departing visiting scholar, Dr. Dennis Lee, as he returns back home to the Advanced Photonics Research Institute (APRI) at Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), Korea December 18, 2018
Congratulations Camilah for being awarded the Fall 2018 Outstanding Teaching Award by the ChBE Senior class! Way to go Camilah! December 11, 2018
Dr. Pinn-Tsong Chiang's time as a Post-Doc in the group has come to an end - we're all sad to see you go, but wish you the best in your new position. Thank you for all your hard work and help Pinn-Tsong! December 6, 2018
We are all very excited to welcome our two newest members to the group: Mr. Bo Wang and Mr. Austin Fehr (Co-advised with Dr. Aditya Mohite). November 21, 2018
We are very excited to welcome the newest member of our group, Ms. Lijie Duan, who is visiting our lab from Tsinghua University. October 24, 2018
Congratulations to Dr. Wong for receiving the ACS-GHS Joe W. Hightower Award! October 16, 2018
We wish a warm welcome to the newest undergraduate member of our group, Mr. Davis Elder August 20, 2018
Ben has been selected to receive the AIChE Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division Travel Award for the upcoming annual meeting in Pittsburgh. Way to go Ben! August 17, 2018
Congratulations Ben! He is the official winner of the Graduate Poster Session at the 2018 Rice SCI Colloquium for his work on "Hydrogen Peroxide Production from Hydroxylamine using Palladium-Decorated Gold Nanoparticles." August 10, 2018
Our visiting scholar, Mr. William Zenor, of San Jacinto College finished off his summer of hard work with a great presentation at the 2018 Rice SCI Colloquium. August 10, 2018
Dr. Wong was elected Fellow of the American Chemical Society. July 14, 2018
We are all very excited to welcome back Dr. Welman Elias to the group as our newest post-doc. June 13, 2018
We all welcome Mr. William Zenor, a sophomore majoring in Chemical Engineering at San Jacinto College, joining us for the summer through the NEWT Research Experience for Community College Students (REU) program. June 4, 2018
Yan and Ciceron's work on heavy oil viscocity reduction has been published by the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Great work! April 26, 2018
Sujin and Ben were recognized with a Best Poster Award for their poster presentation at the 2018 Spring Symposium of the Southwest Catalysis Society! April 20, 2018
Camilah has been selected as a NASA OSSI intern for Summer 2018. Congratulations Camilah! April 13, 2018
Kim and Sujin's article,"Removing Nitrates and Nitrites through New Catalysis Chemistry", has been published in WC&P International magazine. March 15, 2018
Ben received the “Best Presentation” Award and Priscilla received the "Best Participation" Award at the 2018 Smalley-Curl Institute (SCI) Transdisciplinary Symposium. Congratulations! February 9, 2018
Tanya has been selected for the NASA Pathways Program. She will conduct her research at Rice and NASA, with Johnson Space Center researchers. Congrats! February 2, 2018
Ben has been selected to attend the 2018 IGNITE Entrepreneurship Trek to Silicon Valley program, as a RCEL representative. Congrats!” February 1, 2018
The group’s first paper of 2018, led by Sujin and Kim ("Insights into Nitrate Reduction over Indium-Decorated Palladium Nanoparticle Catalysts”), has gotten outstanding attention. Super job! January 2018
We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Dennis Lee as visiting scientist in our research group for the next 12 months. Dennis runs a research program at the Advanced Photonics Research Institute (APRI) at Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), Korea. January 11, 2018

Go to the News Archive for more