Dr. Hui Yan joined the Chemistry Department at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as an Assistant Professor in August 2015, after post-doctoral experiences at Brookhaven National Laboratory and the University of South Carolina. She received her PhD in Environmental Chemistry (Department of Environmental Health Sciences) in 2011 from the University at Albany, State University of New York. Dr. Yan's research merges the general areas of surface science and environmental analytical chemistry, and focuses on the fundamental understanding of adsorbate-surface/adsorbate-adsorbate interactions at surfaces, relevant to heterogeneous catalysis and environmental surface reactions, on the atomic and molecular levels.
Determination of chemical composition along with imaging at the atomic level provides critical information towards fundamental understanding of the surface of catalysts, hence, yields the capability to design new catalysts by tailoring their ultimate functionalities. Synchrotron X-ray assisted scanning tunneling microscopy (SX-STM) is a promising new technique to achieve real space chemically specific atomic mapping. To reduce the background photoelectron current and to improve ultimate resolution of SX-STM, we have developed and fabricated multiwalled carbon nanotubes(MWCNT) based “smart tips” using plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition and focused ion beam milling. The newly developed CNT based smart tips, characterized step by step by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) during the fabrication process, demonstrate good performance and provide opportunity for realizing atomic chemical mapping for catalysts.