Yingjie Zhang Awarded ACS PRF Doctoral New Investigator Grant


Yingjie Zhang, assistant professor of Materials Science and Engineering, has been granted a doctoral new investigator award from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund. The award supports a project titled "In-Situ Imaging and Spectroscopy of Asphaltene Adsorption at Oil-Solid Interfaces." 

"Asphaltene is a key molecular component in the petroleum industry that affects the generation, transportation and refining processes of crude oil," said Yingjie Zhang. "Controlling asphaltene adsorption and aggregation at oil/solid interfaces is critical for preventing various undesirable problems during petroleum production, such as corrosion, pipeline plugging, and inefficient refinement. However, until now the molecular level adsorption process of asphaltene is largely unknown, which is a fundamental bottleneck in petroleum engineering."

"Our goal is to achieve molecular-level understanding of the asphaltene adsorption process at oil-solid interfaces," Zhang says. "We will perform in-situ, atomic-resolution atomic force microscopy (AFM) and AFM-infrared spectroscopy to examine the structure, interaction potential, and chemical composition of asphaltene at oil-solid interfaces. The goal is to identify the atomically active sites, interaction mechanism, and selectivity for asphaltene adsorption on solid surfaces. These fundamental understandings are important for solving the asphaltene adsorption and aggregation problems in petroleum industry."

The Zhang group specializes in in-situ imaging of surfaces and interfaces, electrochemical energy conversion, electronic materials, and sensors. Open positions are available for a postdoc and a PhD student. For more information about the research activities in the Zhang lab, please visit: