Hicks Research Group

Welcome to the Hicks Group Website! We are primarily focused in the area of heterogeneous catalysis. We seek to understand how the properties and structures of catalysts affect activity and selectivity for specific reactions. We couple our experimental results with detailed characterization of the catalysts to develop relationships between the catalyst structure and the resulting catalytic activity. We also study catalyst stability at reaction conditions, as fundamental understanding of stability is required for advanced catalyst development and for process commercialization. Our research group can be categorized into three primary Research Directions.

Research Direction 1: Plasma-Stimulated Catalysis. We focus our efforts on determining how nonthermal plasma and catalysts can be integrated to activate otherwise stable molecules (e.g., N2, CH4, CO2) and facilitate their transformations to desired products.

Research Direction 2: Catalyst Discovery for Alkane/Alkene Transformations. The Hicks group seeks to discovery new, selective catalysts based on earth-abundant metals to more effectively use domestic shale gas resources. These catalysts allow natural gas resources to be converted to liquid fuels so that they can be transported more easily and utilized in existing devices such as vehicle engines. Our efforts here center on new alkane dehydrogenation and olefin oligomerization catalysts.

Research Direction 3: Lignocellulosic Biomass and CO2 Conversions. The Hicks group continues to discover new catalytic materials for biomass conversion and CO2 utilization. Of particular interest are selective catalysts with high deoxygenation selectivity (biomass conversions) or high methanol selectivity (CO2 conversion).

Latest News:

May 2021: Congratulations to Dr. Barboun for successfully defending his Ph.D.!

May 2021: Dr. Paolucci's recent paper on size and stability effects on Mo and W carbides is published in Chemistry of Materials. This is the start of a nice collaboration with the Hicks group.

April 2021: Congratulations to Patrick for his recent paper in ACS Energy Letters!

July 2020: Check out the 2020 Roadmap on Plasma Catalysis. Congrats to Drs. Hicks and Schneider for their contributions.

February 2020: Congratulations to Yoonrae for passing his Candidacy Exam.

November 2020: We welcome Hope and Russell to the group!

June 2020: Jeonghyun's and Jessica's paper is now published in I&EC Research. Congrats!

May 2020: Nazli's and Patrick's recent paper on in situ plasma-IR is published in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics. Congrats!

March 2020: Feiyang's recent paper on CO2 reduction with Ru-Mo phosphides is published in I&EC Research. Nice work!

March 2020: Congratulations to Patrick for winning the CBE Outstanding Paper award!

March 2020: Prateek's and Patrick's recent paper is now in ACS Catalysis. Congratulations!

November 2019: Patrick and Feiyang gave excellent talks at AIChE! Jessica and Galiya both presented their new results at the poster session.

October 2019: We welcome Gerardo and Deanna to the lab!

October 2019: Congratulations to Yolanda for successfully defending your PhD!

June 2019: Yolanda and Patrick gave their oral presentation & Jessica presented her poster at NAM26.

June 2019: Yolanda's paper is now published in Catal. Sci. Technol. Congrats!

April 2019: Check out Prateek's and Patrick's recent review on Plasma-Assisted Catalysis. Excellent collaborative work!

March 2019: Congratulations to Galiya for winning the Outstanding TA award! Nice work!


We are proud members of a recently funded NSF ERC: NSF Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources (CISTAR).