UCL Department of Chemical Engineering

Prof Ryan Wang

Prof Ryan Wang

Associate Professor

Dept of Chemical Engineering

Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL
1st Aug 2015

Research summary

My group studies and develops catalysts to reduce pollution and improve energy conversion efficiency. We specializein operando spectroscopy, studying the catalyst properties under the realistic reaction condition. This enables the direct observation of bond breaking and formation dynamics, in particular in oxidation reaction with molecular oxygen. We have published a few papers at top tier journals (Nat. Comm., Angew. Chem., J. Am. Chem. Soc.) to show our leading position in this field. Our uniqueness is pushing the envelop of the operando techniques in order to unveil the hiding dynamics and mechanism of oxidation reaction, namely “Faster, Higher, Strong”.

Faster: With faster X-ray pulses, we can detect bond breaking and formation dynamics on surface and in solution, without measuring the diffusion and adsorption of reaction molecules. This is only possible with free electronlasers (FEL). We are the first UK user to perform such X-ray FEL (XFEL) experimentin catalysis.

Higher: With the higher beam energy and intensity, it is then possible to record spectra with low emission probability. Those emission lines are highly related to the valence states, and are they for more sensitive to the bond breaking and formation.

Stronger: With a stronger and more focused beam, it is then possible to achieve high space resolution toward nm region, providing spatial resolved XAFS/XRF imaging on target locations. This is then correlated with electron imaging (EM) to provide statistical understanding of the catalyst performance. We have used this to image the materials degradation in catalysis.

Most of those studies are carried out at synchrotron and XFEL facilities around world, including the Diamond Light Source, BESSY II, Spring-8, PetraIII, TPS and PAL-XFEL. The improvement of X-ray techniques enables better understanding of bonding chemistry.

Teaching summary

2018 - present: Inorganic Chemistry for Engineers

2018 - present: Organic Chemistry for Engineers


Dr. Ryan Wang obtained his PhD in Chemistry from Peking University in 2012. He wasan Alexander von Humboldtresearcher in Max Planck Institute for coal research in Germany between2012 and 2015. He joined the Chemical Engineering Department of UCL as aLecturer in January 2016, and Associate Professor in 2021. His research has been summarized into 45 publications and 2 patent, (https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=FWANG76, 3039 citations, h-index 20). He is the awardee ofthe Young Scientist Prize of the International Association of Catalysis Societiesin 2016. He is the member of the Early Career Advisory Board of Journal ChemCatChem and the member of the EPSRC SAT team in capitcal equipments.