HJ Jiang Group

Inspired by nature, driven by curiosity, and solves a problem
Our group explores plasma (air gap)-electrochemistry, magneto-electrochemistry, and zero-carbon polymers as three innovations for a lower carbon future.

Research Topics

The Chemical Origin of Life

  • What are the early steps in the chemical origin of life on Earth, prior to the existence of complex organic molecules and biology? Could Earth have relied on fallen meteorites carrying alien species, or could lightning storms have turned an inorganic Earth and its inert atmosphere into chemically reactive building blocks for early life to emerge, survive, and evolve? Our group tests the “zip zap Frankenstein” scenario, experimentally simulating lightning strikes under a prebiotic Earth-like environment on the bench top. We explore reaction pathways uniquely enabled by plasma- and radical- chemistry, as well as the role of reactive interfaces in electrochemical synthesis.

Electrifying the Chemical Industry for a Zero-Carbon Future

  • Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer produced by the Haber-Bosch process provides food security for half of the global population (4 billion people) today. However, this industrial process accounts for 1.4% of global CO₂emissions, 1-2% of the world’s total energy consumption, and nearly 40% of world’s hydrogen fuels every year. Using a combination of radical chemistry, plasma (air gap)-electrochemistry, magneto-electrochemistry, catalysis, and reactive interfaces, our group designs green and scalable methods to electrify the chemical industry.

Developing Ionic Transmission Technologies via Magneto-Electrochemistry

  • Lorentz force plays a crucial role in various applications ranging from electronic devices and motors, sensors, imaging to biomedical applications. The quantification of Lorentz forces in solution-based electrochemical systems enables precise control of ionic transport (e.g., in batteries) and ion signaling (e.g., in biology). We aim to utilize Lorentz effects to drive chemical separations, develop ionic motors, improve the performance (and yields) of electrochemical systems, fabricate chiral materials, and enable technologies based on ionic transmission, complementary to today’s electronic technologies.

Chemical and Materials Science Solutions to Climate Change

  • The climate challenge has two important components, one is the depleting ozone layer in the stratosphere and the other is the increasing amount of greenhouse gases in the troposphere. Based on our knowledge in plasmas (for selective radical electrochemistry) combined with magnetism (for ionic separations), we develop scalable methods of selective separation and extraction of reactive gaseous species, as well as developing strategies for active rescue of the stratospheric ozone.