New Imaging Method Aids In Water Decontamination

A breakthrough imaging technique developed by Cornell researchers shows promise in decontaminating water by yielding surprising and important information about catalyst particles that can’t be obtained any other way.

Peng Chen, the Peter J.W. Debye Professor of Chemistry, has developed a method that can image nonfluorescent catalytic reactions – reactions that don’t emit light – on nanoscale particles. An existing method can image reactions that produce light, but that applies only to a small fraction of reactions, making the new technique potentially significant in fields ranging from materials engineering to nanotechnology and energy sciences.

The researchers then demonstrated the technique in observing photoelectrocatalysis – chemical reactions involving interactions with light – a key process in environmental remediation.