Cargnellogroup @ Stanford

We design, synthesize, characterize and test materials for heterogeneous catalysis and photocatalysis. Our focus is on reactions revolving around energy and environmental themes, with emphasis on the chemistry of small building blocks that are at the heart of past, present and future history: hydrogen, carbon dioxide, methane, water, nitrogen.

The starting point for our studies are well-defined nanocrystals and nanostructures, and we tune and tailor their architecture at the atomic level to understand how a specific structure influences the final properties of the system. We prepare and study our materials by using state-of-the-art synthetic and characterization techniques that include colloidal and supramolecular chemistry, advanced microscopy, x-ray-based spectroscopies and functional testing in our ~1600 sq ft brand new lab in the Shriram center and, more in general, using the great facilities located at Stanford and in the nearby SLAC national laboratory.

Our goal is to help the planet transition to a cleaner and sustainable future, where resources are available to a larger part of the population and the economic growth is accompanied by an improvement in the living conditions and in the quality of the environment. We are motivated by big challenges that mankind has to face, and we want to contribute in our own way: using small, tiny particles, or nanocrystals, to speed-up chemical reactions that can provide sustainable fuels and chemicals and reduce pollution.

Each of us in the group has her/his own independent project, yet connected to the bigger picture, like a piece of the puzzle. We believe that only team work, motivation and dedication can indeed advance science and provide us with solutions. If you share our values, join us in this exciting journey!


12 August 2019:
Emmett's work, together with fantastic collaborators in the SUNCAT Center and SSRL (SLAC), shows us how deactivation of supported catalysts can happen by decomposition into single atoms in Nature Catalysis! Link Stanford story

5 August 2019:
The fantastic work by Andrew and collaborators on making polymer/nanocrystal composites that exhibit transition state and product diffusion control reminiscent of enzymes is finally out in Nature Catalysis! Lots of exciting opportunities ahead of us! Link to paper and Stanford's press release

30 July 2019:
Aayush's work on describing new strategies for selective ammonia electrosynthesis, with contribution from Jay, has been accepted for publication in ACS Catalysis! Link

29 July 2019:
In a fantastic collaboration with Diana Berman from U. North Texas and Elena Schevchenko from Argonne National Lab, Emmett contributed to describe materials made by ALD infiltration of polymer precursors to prepare active catalysts and reported in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces! Link

22 May 2019:
Jay's contribution, in collaboration with a fantastic team from Denmark, Stanford and Imperial College, to a rigorous protocol to detect ammonia from electrochemical synthesis is now out in Nature! Link

News Archive


We are in urgent need of sustainable energy generation processes, energy vectors, and solutions to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Active, stable and selective

We are studying synthetic ways to make catalysts not only more active, but also more selective and more stable by exploiting confinement effects in which nanocrystals and active phases are embedded inside 3-dimensional cavities.

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Precise and well-defined

We study nanostructures that have precise sizes and/or structures and use them to answer fundamental questions regarding reaction mechanisms. This fundamental knowledge allows us (and others) to prepare even better catalysts.

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Environmentally friendly

We envision materials that can use light as an energy input to convert compounds and pollutants into valuable chemicals, such that chemical processes could be run sustainably at room temperature and pressure.

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Meet the Team

  Meet the team


CHEMENG 31N: When Chemistry Meets Engineering, Fall 2018
Chemistry and engineering are subjects that are ubiquitous around us. But what happens when the two meet? Students will explore this question by diving into experimental problems that scientists and engineers have to face on a daily basis. Many processes that are taken for granted have been developed by understanding science at a very fundamental level and then applying it to large and important industrial processes. In this seminar, students will explore some of the basic concepts that are important to address chemical engineering problems through experimental work. Students will build materials for energy and environmental applications, understand how to separate mixtures into pure compounds, produce fuels, and will learn to look at the chemical properties of molecules that are part of daily life... with a different eye.

CHEMENG 345: Fundamentals and Applications of Spectroscopy, Winter 2019
Development of theoretical approaches to spectroscopy, including spectroscopic transitions, transition probabilities, and selection rules. Application to photon and electron spectroscopies of the gas and solid phases. Topics: rotational spectroscopy; infrared and Raman vibrational spectroscopies; fluorescence spectroscopy; Auger, x-ray and ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopies.

CHEMENG 130: Separation Processes, Spring 2019
Analysis and design of equilibrium and non-equilibrium separation processes. Possible examples: distillation, liquid-liquid extraction, flash distillation, electrophoresis, centrifugation, membrane separations, chromatography, and reaction-assisted separation processes.









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The Cargnellogroup moved into its new lab in January 2016 and started to cook some great science. Stay hungry!