A Novel ZnO Catalyst
Lifang Chen, Juncheng Hu, and Ryan M. Richards
Summary: A method to produce unique ZnO structures that are rich in defect sites
Description: ZnO is a widely used in catalysts, electrical devices, optoelelctronics, and
pharmeceuticals. The functional properties of ZnO dependent upon their composition, shape
and size, and defect structure and efforts have focused on preparing ZnO catalysts with
controlled shapes and morphologies. This invention is of a synthetic method to produce flower-
like and hole-rich single crystal ZnO. The presence of holes indicate defects in the crystalline
structure and may contribute to catalytic activity. The size and shape of the ZnO structures can
be controlled by varying the synthetic conditions. The unique surface chemistry of a ZnO
crystalline nanostructure is used to catalyze a variety of chemical reactions. One such reaction
is the hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to methanol. Alcohols interacts both molecularly and
dissociatively with the single-crystalline ZnO surfaces at room temperature and can be partially
oxidized by increasing the temperature.
Main Advantages of this Invention:
 Inexpensive to produce
 Simple to produce in large quantities
 Mild reaction conditions during
hydrogenation or oxidation reactions
Potential Areas of Application:
 Conversion of CO2 to Methanol
 Other hydrogenation reactions
 Oxidization reactions
ID number: 9003
Scanning electron microscope image of ZnO structure
Intel ectual Property Status: US provisional
prior to calcination
patent (application #12/685,465)
Publication: L. Chen et al. CrystEngComm, 2013, 15, 3780-3784. (Available upon request.)
Opportunity: We are seeking an exclusive or non-exclusive licensee for marketing,
manufacturing, and sale of this technology.
For more information contact:
William Vaughan, Director of Technology Transfer
Colorado School of Mines, 1500 Illinois Street, Guggenheim Hall Suite 314, Golden, CO 80401
Phone: 303-384-2555; e-mail: wvaughan@mines.edu