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OU Professor Recipient of DOE Early Career Research Program Funding

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August 1, 2019

OU Professor Recipient of DOE Early Career Research Program Funding

NORMAN—A University of Oklahoma assistant professor, Bin Wang, is the recipient of a five-year, $750,869 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science as part of the DOE Early Career Research Program. DOE selected Wang, an early career researcher in the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering, Gallogly College of Engineering, for the award on computational modeling of complex chemical systems to understand the basic science behind and enable chemical and energy transformation with high efficiency and selectivity.

In the chemical industry, controlling selectivity of a chemical conversion process is important because the presence of multiple products may complicate the separation process leading to intensive energy cost. Dissipation of energy drives chemical transformation in a catalysis process, such as refinery and ammonia synthesis. In most cases, however, it is challenging to control the flow of thermal energy into a specific location, such as a particular chemical bond for its reaction.

Wang’s research will deliver essential details that will allow for design of an all-optical process of chemical transformation at low temperatures with high chemical selectivity. His research will provide fundamental understanding of the light-driven reaction at the molecular level. Using modern computational theory, he proposes to control precisely both energies and locations of the positive and negative charges by positioning them in microporous materials and liquid solvents. These varied environments may help localize the positive and negative charges that accelerate bond dissociation and formation.

Introduction of the light-sensitive solid materials into catalysis provides a powerful strategy for reaching high selectivity. In this process, positive and negative charges stimulate the dynamics of the chemical bonds in the reactants. In addition, the light-driven reaction can be operated at lower temperature compared to thermal reactions. For more information about Wang’s DOE Early Career Research Program award, contact To learn more about the program, visit the DOE Office of Science site: