Careers & Student Outcomes

Stevens Graduate Students Win Awards for Research in Catalysis

Research results obtained by graduate students Yiteng Zheng and Jason Robbins on catalytic materials and catalytic reactions were recognized by the North American Catalysis Society. Both students work in professor Simon Podkolzin’s research group at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. Each student separately received the Kokes Travel Award for attending and presenting their research results at the Society’s international conference in Denver, Colorado, in June 2017.

The conference – 25th North American Catalysis Society Meeting (NAM 25) – was attended by several thousand professionals from academia, government and industry from around the world. The student awards were made based on a rigorous professional review of their research results by multiple independent experts.

Yiteng Zheng presented his research on the structure and catalytic properties of molybdenum carbide and oxicarbide nanoparticles supported on zeolite materials. These catalytic nanoparticles are useful for developing a new process for natural gas conversion into liquid transportation fuels and feedstocks for the chemical industry.

Jason Robbins presented his research on interactions between oxygen and gold nanoparticles. The study, which combined kinetic and spectroscopic experimental measurements with quantum chemical calculations, identified a new oxygen-gold structure that serves as a catalytic reaction intermediate on gold nanoparticles. The observation and identification of this structure will be useful in the development of more efficient gold catalytic nanoparticles, improved techniques for bioimaging of living cells, better understanding of spin-flip scattering processes of itinerant electrons in solid-state physics, advancing optical detection methods at the single-molecule level at room temperature, development of improved lithium batteries and in other multiple and diverse areas of science and technology.

Ziyu Tang, another graduate student from Podkolzin’s group, presented his research on hydrogenation of aromatic hydrocarbons. Podkolzin’s group invented new catalysts with supported metal nanoparticles that are more efficient than current commercial catalysts for partial selective hydrogenation and for full hydrogenation into saturated cyclic hydrocarbons. Two patent applications for improved catalysts for hydrocarbon hydrogenation are currently pending. These inventions will be useful in the production of better quality diesel fuels and jet fuels and in the production of commodity and specialty chemicals.


Photo caption:Graduate students Jason Robbins (left) and Yiteng Zheng (right), who work in Prof. Simon Podkolzin’s research group at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, received Kokes Travel Awards from the North American Catalysis Society for presenting their research results at the Society’s international conference in Denver, Colorado, in June 2017.


Photo caption:Graduate students Jason Robbins (left), Yiteng Zheng (middle) and Ziyu Tang (right) presented their research results on catalytic materials and catalytic reactions at the 25th North American Catalysis Society Meeting (NAM 25) in Denver, Colorado, in June 2017.