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Kulbir Kaur Ghuman

Looking for students or interns

Areas of expertise

Sutainable Fuels and Chemicals , Computational Materials Design , Fuel cells

Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre

1650 Lionel-Boulet Blvd.
Varennes, Quebec J3X 1P7

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Research interests

The mission of my research is to enable sustainable energy future by replacing rare and expensive materials used in sustainable technologies, with abundant and cheaper materials. Improving the performance of existing inexpensive and abundant materials is a challenge because of the poor understanding of their fundamental properties, driven by their complex structures. Often these materials are ‘disordered’, ie either they completely lack long-range order, resulting in materials having entirely new properties as compared to their crystalline counterparts, or they contain partial low symmetry environment due to point, linear, planar and / or extended defects (such as vacancies, dislocations, grain boundaries, interfaces, etc.). Disorder in materials is inevitable.

My research laboratory strives to understand, manipulate, and utilize it to design novel energy materials, for solving the most daunting problems, such as climate change, of today’s world.

Dr. Kulbir K. Ghuman joined INRS-EMT in Sept 2019. Before joining INRS (from 2017-2019), she worked as a WPI (World Premier International Research Center Initiative) Researcher at the International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research, Kyushu University, Japan and as a guest researcher at the Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland. She obtained her PhD in Computational Condensed Matter Physics in 2013 from Panjab University, India. From 2013 till 2016 she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Toronto. Her research mainly focusses on understanding the properties of advanced materials and chemical processes, and optimizing them for energy and environmental needs via modern computational techniques.

  • Designing efficient and affordable  catalysts for producing sustainable fuels and chemicals such as H 2  (from H 2 O ), hydrocarbons (from CO 2 ), and NH 3  (from Nand H2).
  • Optimizing the performance of fuel cell materials (solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) electrolytes and polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) electrodes) by understanding the interfaces and grain boundaries present in them.



‘*’: corresponding authors

‘‡’: first co-authors

  1. Kulbir K. Ghuman *, Kota Tozaki, Masaaki Sadakiyo, Sho Kitano, Takashi Oyabeb and Miho Yamauchi *, Tailoring widely used ammonia synthesis catalysts for H and N poisoning resistance , Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics , 21, 5117-5122 (2019).
  2. Paul G. O’Brien ‡, Kulbir K. Ghuman ‡, Abdinoor A. Jelle, Amit Sandhel, Thomas E. Wood, Joel YY Loh, Nazir P. Kherani, Doug Perovic, Chandra Veer Singh, Charles A. Mims, and Geoffrey A. Ozin *, Enhanced photothermal reduction of gaseous CO 2  over silicon photonic crystal supported ruthenium , Energy and Environmental Science , 11, 3443-3451 (2018).
  3. Kulbir K. Ghuman * and Tsuyohiko Fujigaya *, Electronic characteristics of polybenzimidazole-functionalized carbon nanotubes , The Journal of Physical Chemistry C , 122, 15979-15985 (2018).
  4. Kulbir K. Ghuman * Mechanistic insights into water adsorption and dissociation on amorphous TiO 2 – based catalysts , Science and Technology of Advanced Materials , 19, 44-52 (2018).
  5. Yuchan Dong ‡, Kulbir K. Ghuman ‡, Radian Popescu, Paul N. Duchesne, Wenjie Zhou, Joel YY Loh, Abdinoor A. Jelle, Jia Jia, Di Wang, Xiaoke Mu, Christian Kübel, Lu Wang, Le He, Mireille Ghoussoub , Qiang Wang, Thomas E. Wood, Laura M. Reyes, Peng Zhang, Nazir P. Kherani, Chandra Veer Singh, Geoffrey A. Ozin *, Tailoring surface frustrated Lewis pairs of In 2 O 3-x  OH) y  for gas – Phase heterogeneous photocatalytic reduction of CO 2  by isomorphous substitution of In 3+  with Bi 3+ , Advanced Science , 5, 1700732 (2018). Article chosen for journal cover image, Advanced Science, Vol 5, Issue 6, June 19, 2018.
  6. Abdinoor A. Jelle, Kulbir K. Ghuman, Paul G. O’Brien, Mohamad Hmadeh, Amit Sandhel, Doug D. Perovic, Chandra V. Singh, Charles A. Mims, Geoffrey A. Ozin *, Highly efficient ambient temperature CO2  photomethanation catalyzed by nanostructured RuO2  on a silicon photonic crystal support , Advanced Energy Materials , 8, 1702277 (2017). Article chosen for journal cover image, Advanced Energy Materials, Vol 8, Issue 9, March 26, 2018.
  7. Jia Jia, Hong Wang, Zhuole Lu, Hong Wang, Zhuole Lu, Paul G. O’Brien, Mireille Ghoussoub, Paul Duchesne, Ziqi Zheng, Peicheng Li, Qiao Qiao, Lu Wang, Alan Gu, Abdinoor A. Jelle, Yuchan Dong , Qiang Wang, Kulbir K. Ghuman, Thomas Wood, Chenxi Qian, Yue Shao, Chenyue Qiu, Miaomiao Ye, Yimei Zhu, Zheng-Hong Lu, Peng Zhang, Amr S. Helmy, Chandra Veer Singh, Nazir P. Kherani, Doug D. Perovic, Geoffrey A. Ozin *, Photothermal catalyst engineering: hydrogenation of gaseous CO2  with high activity and tailored selectivity , Advanced Science , 4, 1700252 (2017). Article chosen for journal cover image, Advanced Science, Vol 4, Issue 10, October 17, 2017.
  8. Kulbir K. Ghuman, Laura B. Hoch, Paul Szymanski, Joel YY Loh, Nazir P. Kherani, Mostafa A. El-Sayed, Geoffrey A. Ozin *, and Chandra Veer Singh *, Photoexcited surface frustrated Lewis pairs for heterogeneous photocatalytic CO2  reduction , Journal of the American Chemical Society , 138, 1206-1214 (2016). Featured in ACS Chemical & Engineering News, “For Lewis acids and bases, a little frustration goes a long way” by Stephen K. Ritter, Volume 94, Issue 17, pp. 26-27, Issue Date: April 25, 2016.
  9. Wei Sun, Chenxi Qian, Le He *, Kulbir K. Ghuman, Annabelle PY Wong, Jia Jia, Paul G. O’Brian, Laura M. Reyes, Thomas E. Wood, Chandra Veer Singh, Charles A. Mims, and Geoffrey A. Ozin *, Heterogeneous reduction of CO 2  by hydride-terminated silicon nanocrystals , Nature Communications 7, 12553 (2016). Featured in ScienceDaily, University of Toronto, “Scientists solve puzzle of converting gaseous carbon dioxide to fuel: Saving the planet from climate change with a grain of sand”, ScienceDaily, 25 August 2016.
  10. Kulbir K. Ghuman, Laura B. Hoch, Thomas E. Wood, Charles Mims, Chandra Veer Singh *, and Geoffrey A. Ozin *, Surface analogs of molecular frustrated Lewis pairs in heterogeneous CO2  hydrogenation catalysis , ACS Catalysis , 6, 5764 -5770 (2016).
  11. Kulbir K. Ghuman, and Chandra Veer Singh *, Self-trapped charge carriers in defected amorphous TiO2 , The Journal of Physical Chemistry C , 120, 27910-27916 (2016).
  12. Mireille Ghoussoub, Shwetank Yadav, Kulbir K. Ghuman, Geoffrey A. Ozin, and Chandra Veer Singh *, Metadynamics-biased ab initio molecular dynamics study of heterogeneous CO2  reduction via surface frustrated Lewis pairs , ACS Catalysis , 6, 7109-7117 ( 2016).
  13. Laura B. Hoch, Paul Szymanski, Kulbir K. Ghuman, Le He, Kristine Liao, Qiao Qiao, Yimei Zhu, Mostafa A. El-Sayed, Chandra Veer Singh *, and Geoffrey A. Ozin *, Carrier dynamics and the role of surface defects: designing a photocatalyst for gas-phase CO 2  reduction , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , 113, E8011-E8020 (2016).
  14. Kulbir K. Ghuman ‡, Thomas E. Wood ‡, Laura B. Hoch, Charles A. Mims *, Geoffrey A. Ozin *, and Chandra Veer Singh *, Illuminating CO 2  reduction: investigating the role of surface hydroxides and oxygen vacancies on nanocrystalline In 2 O 3-x (OH) y , Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics , 17, 14623-14635 (2015).
  15. Kulbir K. Ghuman, Shwetank Yadav, and Chandra Veer Singh *, Adsorption and dissociation of H 2 O on monolayered MoS 2  edges: energetics and mechanism from ab initio simulations , The Journal of Physical Chemistry C , 119, 6518-6529 (2015) .