Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Engineering - (Ph.D.)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Wen Zhang

Second Advisor

Joshua Young

Third Advisor

Taha F. Marhaba

Fourth Advisor

S. Basuray

Fifth Advisor

Jaehong Kim

Sixth Advisor

Lucia Rodriguez-Freire


Facet engineering of nanomaterials, especially metals and metal oxides has become an important strategy for tuning catalytic properties and functions from heterogeneous catalysis to electrochemical catalysis, photocatalysis, biomedicine, fuel cells, and gas sensors. The catalytic properties are highly related to the surface electronic structures, surface electron transport characteristics, and active center structures of catalysts, which can be tailored by surface facet control. The aim of this doctoral dissertation research is to study the facet-dependent properties of metal or metal oxide nanoparticles using multiple advanced characterization techniques. Specifically, the novel atomic force microscope-scanning electrochemical microscope (AFM-SECM) and density functional theory (DFT) calculations were both applied to both experimentally and theoretically investigate facet dependent electrochemical properties, molecular adsorption, and dissolution properties of cuprous oxide and silver nanoparticles.

To promote the facet engineered nanomaterials for environmental engineering apparitions, our research has evaluated the performances of electrochemically reactive membranes that were prepared with novel 2D nanomaterials with surface functioal modifications to enable electrochemical advanced oxidation processes (EAOPs) in membrane filtration process. Our results demonstrated many advantages such as tunable reactivity, tailored surface reactions, antifouling features, and feasibility of large-scale continuous operations. Specifically, this dissertation will introduce our electrochemical membrane synthesis, reactivity, aging, byproducts formation and electrochemical adsorption and desorption, oxidation of pollutants such as two typical per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA).



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.