Vietnamese scientist publishes research in leading journal

VietNamNet Bridge - Dr. Tran Dinh Phong from Hanoi has published his research in the prestigious journal Nature Materials, with the findings of the structure and mechanism of action of a catalyst that can replace platinum,an expensive material.

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Dr. Tran Dinh Phong. Photo: USTH


Dr. Tran Dinh Phong from the Hanoi University of Science and Technology (USTH) and his colleagues have revealed structure and mechanistic function of amorphous molybdenum sulfide, an attractive alternative to platinum catalyst for the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction. The study was published in the world’s leading journal on material science - Natural Materials.

Solar water splitting represents a huge challenge and a great opportunity for harvesting abundant but intermittent solar energy into chemical energy stored within H2 molecules. To this end, several technical challenges remain, including identification of viable electrocatalyst for the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction (HER).

Amorphous molybdenum sulfide (a-MoSx) was identified as an attractive candidate to replace platinum. However, structure of this a-MoSx remained unclear which was a huge gap for understanding its mechanistic function and subsequen search for means to improve its catalytic performance.

This gap is now filled, thanks to recent work conducted by Dr. Phong’s research group at Department of Advanced Materials Science and Nanotechnology, University of Science and Technology of Hanoi (USTH) in collaboration with researchers in France, Japan and Singapore.

Employing an arsenal of chemical, electrochemical and spectroscopic analysis, type STEM, Resonance Raman and XPS, international research team led by Dr. Phong presented evidence that so-called amorphous molybdenum sulfide is actually a coordination polymer with [Mo3S13]2- discrete clusters as building block units. .

The identification of structure and mechanistic function of a-MoSx catalyst paves new ways for further improving its catalytic performance. This important finding also provides very useful instruction for designing novel viable catalysts based on sulfides of transition metals.

Currently, research group led by Dr. Phong at Department of Advanced Materials Science and Nanotechnology, USTH focuses on designing novel catalysts based on these findings as well as implementing these catalysts within photoelectrodes, photocatalysts or devices for solar H2 generation application. These research projects are funded by USTH, NAFOSTED, USTH FR consortium and the French Embassy in Hanoi.

Dr. Phong obtained his Bachelor of Science (2003) at Vietnam National University in Hanoi, and PhD degree (2007) at University of Paris Sud (Paris 11), Orsay, France.

He worked for three years (2008-2010) as postdoctoral research associate at CNRS and CEA France. From February 2011 to June 2015, he worked as senior research fellow at Solar Fuels Laboratory, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Since July 2015, he has worked at the Department of Advanced Materials Science and Nanotechnology, University of Science and Technology of Hanoi, as a lecturer and principal investigator.

His current research interests focus on designing advanced functional nanomaterials for energy conversion and environment applications.

He has published 37 papers in international peer-reviewed journals including papers in Science, Nature Materials, Natural Chemistry, and others. His current citation index is over 1700 and H index is 18.

USTH/VNN

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