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.


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
Ben Yin was selected to receive a Graduate Student Travel Grant from the Rice Engineering Alumni (REA). Congratulations! December 14, 2017
We are very proud to announce that Chelsea has recieved the 2017 Kobayashi Graduate Fellowship from the ChBE Department to recognize her outstanding thesis research proposal. Congratulations Chelsea! December 12, 2017
Li successfully defended her PhD thesis research on "Understanding Pyrolysis Chemistry to Improve Biomass to Chemicals Transformations”. Congratulations, Dr. Chen! November 29, 2017
We are very excited to welcome the two newest members of our group: Tanya Rogers and Hunter Jacobs! November 23, 2017
Chelsea and Fernando are headed to Minneapolis, MN with Dr. Wong for this year's AIChE Conference. October 29, 2017
Hao's time as a visiting scholar is coming to a close. We already miss him, but wish him all the best back home at Tsinghua University. September 28, 2017
Rio Tsukimura has reached her last week in Houston for the visiting scholars program; We wish her all the best, and hope to see her in the science world in the near future! September 22, 2017
Rio and Sujin share their work on utilizing bimetallic alloy nanoparticle catalysts for the nitrate reduction reaction at the 2017 Nakatani REIS Fellowship Poster Presentation. September 18, 2017
We welcome Chris Coonrod and Samantha Samaniego Andrade (Fulbright Fellow) into the group as new members! August 21, 2017
Ben presents his and Chris' work with Fluorescent Gold for Cr(VI) detection at the Texas Soft Matter Meeting at the UH Campus August 18, 2017
Ben Yin received the Rice University School of Engineering Award for best poster (out of ~40 graduate posters) at the 2017 Smalley-Curl Institute Colloquium, on the topic of "Selective Sensing and Simultaneous Removal Chromium(VI) in Water Using Fluorescent Nanogold” August 11, 2017
Congratulations to Fernando for presenting at Rice's SCI Summer Research Colloquium! August 11, 2017
We're excited to welcome Dr. Pinn-Tsong Chiang as our newest Post-Doc! August 2017
Devanshi has joined the group as an undergraduate researcher. Welcome Devanshi! May 2017
Dr. Hao Xu is joining our group as a visiting scholar. May 2017
Chelsea Clark successfully passed her proposal. Congratulations Chelsea! June 15, 2017
Fernando has joined the group as an undergraduate researcher. Welcome Fernando! May 2017
Ben Yin was recognized with a Best Poster Award for his poster presentation on “Selective oxidation of ring-locked glucose using Pd-on-Au catalyst" at the 2017 Spring Symposium of the Southwest Catalysis Society. April 28, 2017
Jake Lobb defended his MS thesis on the topic of 'Adsorptive Removal of Sulfur Containing Compounds from Fuels using Metal Loaded Zeolite.' Congratulations! March 31, 2017
Congratulations to Ben for winning 1st place at the 2017 Chevron Lecture on Energy, Graduate Student Poster Competition! March 2017
Congratulations to Ben Yin for being selected as a 2017 RemTEC Student Competition Winner at the RemTEC Summit! March 2017
Li has been selected to attend the 2017 IGNITE Entrepreneurship Trek to Silicon Valley program, as a RCEL representative. Congrats! February 2017
Sujin Guo was selected to receive a 2017 IBB Travel Award. Good job! February 2017
Congratulations to Camilah Powell for being named a finalist for the Department's 2016 Kobayashi Award for best PhD thesis proposal and receiving an Honorable Mention! February 2017

Go to the News Archive for more