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Juyoung Leem

TomKat Center Postdoctoral Fellows in Sustainable Energy

Year Awarded: 2019

Research Lab: Xiaolin Zheng

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Dallas

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Juyoung Leem received her B.S. and M.S. from KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology), Republic of Korea, and Ph.D. from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), all in mechanical engineering. During doctoral training under the guidance of Professor SungWoo Nam, Juyoung has studied mechanical self-assembly of two-dimensional (2D) materials for advanced functionalities including nanoplasmonic and nanoelectronic applications. Juyoung received a Graduate Fellowship from the Korean Government Scholarship Program (2013-2015; for Ph.D. program) and Teaching Fellowship in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering in UIUC (2018).

Plasmonically-enhanced hydrogen evolution at 2D materials

Photocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), which produces energy-dense hydrogen fuel from water using solar energy, suggests a way of sustainable energy production. Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) is a promising photocatalytic material due to its high in-plane carrier mobility, catalytic activity, and visible range bandgap energy. Particularly, monolayer MoS2 exhibits higher photocatalytic activity compared to its bulk counterparts, and its high photocatalytic activity originates from high-energy edge sites. In addition, plasmonic nanostructures are often integrated into photocatalytic material systems to enhance HER efficiency by injecting plasmonic hot-electrons or enhancing optical absorption. The goal of the proposed work is 1) to achieve a material system of atomically thin MoS2 with nanopores and gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) and 2) to demonstrate enhanced HER efficiency by utilizing the unique material properties of MoS2 in combination with plasmonic effects from Au NPs. Throughout this proposed work, a novel way to achieve an atomically thin material system optimized for higher HER efficiency will be demonstrated, and the potential of plasmonically-enhanced, 2D material-based HER will be investigated.