Helena Hagelin-Weaver - Energy, Environment, and Sustainability

We develop fundamental knowledge and technologies to meet an increased demand for energy with minimal environmental impact. Examples of current focus areas include development of active and selective catalysts, advancing new strategies in membrane-based separations, and introduction of next-generation semiconductors for energy research.


Photo of Helena Hagelin-Weaver

Helena Hagelin-Weaver

Associate Professor, and Dr. and Mrs. Frederick C. Edie Term Professor
Work Office: CHE 323 Lab: CHE 470 and 475 1006 Center Drive Gainesville FL 32611 Work Phone: (352) 392-6585 Website: Hagelin-Weaver Lab


WE WORK ON HETEROGENEOUS CATALYST DEVELOPMENT in my laboratory and our ultimate goal is to obtain a fundamental understanding of these catalysts at the atomic level. Our approach is to synthesize well-defined heterogeneous catalysts using nanoparticle oxides with various shapes and sizes as supports and carefully control the deposition of active metal onto these supports using atomic layer deposition (ALD), or other more conventional catalyst synthesis methods, such as precipitation-deposition or incipient wetness impregnation. Since different shapes of nanoparticle oxides expose different surface facets, the use of these materials allows us to investigate how the active metal-support interactions vary with surface facets, and how this ultimately affects the catalytic activities and selectivities.

OUR RESEARCH INVOLVES CAREFUL CHARACTERIZATION OF the synthesized heterogeneous catalysts using a number of analytical techniques to determine important catalyst properties. We routinely perform surface area measurements, chemisorption of selected molecules to probe specific sites, temperature programmed reduction and oxidation (TPR and TPO) experiments to determine reduction-oxidation (redox) properties, X-ray diffraction (XRD) measurements to determine crystal structures and crystallite sizes, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) to determine electronic structure and surface chemical composition, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to determine particle sizes and shapes, and use the information to determine structure-activity relationships.


Our projects include catalyst development for selective oxidation and hydrogenation reactions. Examples include low temperature activation of methane and conversion to higher value chemicals, selective hydrogenations for parahydrogen-induced polarization nuclear magnetic resonance applications, and algae to liquid fuels conversion.


Ph.D., 1999, Royal Institute of Stockholm, Sweden

Awards & Distinctions

  • Dr. and Mrs. Frederick C. Edie Term Professorship in Chemical Engineering, 2021-2024

SELECTED Publications

  • Luke M. Neal, Michael L. Everett, Gar B. Hoflund, Helena E. Hagelin-Weaver, “Characterization of Palladium Oxide Catalysts Supported on Nanoparticle Metal Oxides for the Oxidative Coupling of 4-Methylpyridine,” J. Mol. Catal. A 335 (2011) 210-221.
  • Samuel D. Jones, Luke M. Neal, Michael L. Everett, Gar B. Hoflund, Helena E. Hagelin-Weaver, “Characterization of ZrO2-promoted Cu/ZnO/nano-Al2O3 methanol steam reforming catalysts,” Appl. Surf. Sci. 256 (2010) 7345-7353.
  • Luke M. Neal, Samuel D. Jones, Michael L. Everett, Gar B. Hoflund, Helena E. Hagelin-Weaver, “Characterization of alumina-supported palladium oxide catalysts used in the oxidative coupling of 4-methylpyridine,” J. Mol. Catal. A 325 (2010) 25-35.
  • Samuel D. Jones, Helena E. Hagelin-Weaver, “Steam reforming of methanol over CeO2- and ZrO2-promoted Cu-ZnO catalysts supported on nanoparticle Al2O3,” Appl. Catal. B 90 (2009) 195-204.
  • Luke M. Neal, Daniel Hernandez, Helena E. Hagelin-Weaver, “Effects of nanoparticle and porous metal oxide supports on the activity of palladium catalysts in the oxidative coupling of 4-methylpyridine,” J. Mol. Catal. A 307 (2009) 29-36.