Angela Lueking

Directory Info

Angela Lueking

Associate Professor of Energy and Mineral Engineering and Chemical Engineering

172A Materials Research Laboratory / 120 Hosler Building


Biographical Sketch: 

Angela Lueking is an Associate Professor in the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University's University Park campus, with a joint appointment in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Her research pursuits are selected based on the opportunity to creatively address sustainable energy solutions, while addressing underlying scientific phenomena. Angela obtained her Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the University of Michigan by developing materials that utilize hydrogen spillover as the mechanism for hydrogen uptake. Her formal academic training focuses on adsorption, surface science, catalysis, environmental separations, and gas storage. She has continued work in adsorption, catalysis, hydrogen storage, hydrogen spillover, and development of novel adsorbents at Penn State. Her research pursuits have evolved to include development and advanced characterization of new carbon materials, new synthesis routes to existing carbon materials, low temperature H2 evolution from processed coal, catalytic gasification, and fundamental studies/simulations of hydrogen spillover. Recent collaborative work includes density functional theory to design new materials, advanced in situ characterization, design of catalysts designed from metal organic frameworks, study of diffusion into gate-opening metal organic frameworks, application of novel carbon materials as chemical sensors and electrochemical capacitors, and theoretical considerations of adsorption. Notable research discoveries include spectroscopic evidence for a reversible carbon-hydrogen adsorption site, chemical dopants that decrease the diffusion barrier to populate  graphene with hydrogen, diamond formation from processed coal, fingerprints of unique carbon-hydrogen interactions, and unexpected low-temperature hydrogen evolution that led the group to explore new routes for distributed hydrogen production. Angela teaches courses in the interdisciplinary Energy Engineering, Fuel Science, and Environmental Systems Engineering disciplines at Penn State, as well as the Chemical Engineering department, including (most recently) general thermodynamics, mass transfer, and engineering design, as well as several general education courses and electives. Prior to her academic career, Angela worked in industry as an Environmental Engineer, where she led several environmental initiatives including chemical management, air-permitting, and environmental training.

Educational Background: 

Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering), University of Michigan, 2003

M.S.E. (Chemical Engineering), University of Michigan, 1998

M.S.E. (Environmental Engineering), University of Michigan, 1998

B.S. (Chemical Engineering), University of Nebraska, 1996

Research Interests: 
  • Material Development for Hydrogen storage
  • Adsorption in porous media
  • Carbon materials and catalysts
  • Theoretical and experimental studies of hydrogen spillover
Active Research Projects: 

"Hydrogen Trapping through Designer Hydrogen Spillover Molecules with Reversible Temperature and Pressure-Induced Switching" (PI: A. Lueking; co-PIs Prof. Jing Li of Rutgers, Prof. Milton Cole of PSU Physics); Department of Energy (Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy)

The overarching objective of the proposed work is to synthesize designer catalyzed nanoporous materials that have superior hydrogen uptake between 300K and 400K and moderate pressures. To this end, we will enable moderate temperature adsorption through optimization of the hydrogen spillover process utilizing metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), guided by systematic studies with tightly controlled surface chemistry, porosity, and structure. We are exploring the incorporation of active hydrogen dissociation centers directly into the MOF framework to provide atomic level dispersion while maintaining catalytic activity. Secondly, we are designing inherent temperature switches into the material to control desorption rate and surface-associated hydrogen. Thirdly, we are looking to capitalize and design for hysteretic adsorption utilizing known recoverable and reversible structural and chemical changes in MOFs to incorporate a pressure-induced switch that enables a significant systems pressure savings. Hydrogen trapping via these pressure and temperature switches will lead to a significant pressure savings relative to simple adsorption isotherms, thereby reducing overall system weight of hydrogen delivery.

“Hydrogen Caged in Carbon—Exploration of Novel Carbon-Hydrogen Interactions” (PI: A. Lueking; co-PIs Prof. John Badding (Chemistry), Vincent Crespi (Physics); Department of Energy (Basic Energy Sciences)

The main objective of the proposed work is to explore hydrogen trapping via repulsive interactions in carbon cages. These efforts are inspired by experimental observations which suggest unique carbon-hydrogen interaction for a mechanochemically produced carbon/hydrogen hybrid material, which include hydrogen evolution at ambient temperature with Raman spectra matching molecular hydrogen and the formation of sp3-rehybridized, crystalline carbon after H2 evolution. We are using the unique chemical reaction conditions provided by mechanochemistry, both dynamic shearing/compression via mechanical milling and static high-pressure chemistry, to form hydrogen caged in carbon. We are probing the penetration of hydrogen into carbon materials under extreme conditions of pressure wherein hydrogen solubility is expected to increase and carbon is expected to restructure to minimize volume via a mixed sp2/sp3 hydrogenated state. The work directly addresses Department of Energy goals to explore novel materials and mechanisms for hydrogen storage. Current candidates for solid-state materials are approaching theoretical limits without approaching the storage targets at practical operating conditions: New materials and ideas are needed to meet DOE hydrogen storage goals. Hydrogen trapped in a carbon cage, captured through repulsive interactions, is a novel concept in hydrogen storage. Trapping hydrogen via repulsive interactions borrows an idea from macroscale hydrogen storage (i.e. compressed gas storage tanks) and reapplies these concepts on the nanoscale in specially designed molecular containers. The work will also search for experimental evidence of several structures/transformations that have been theoretically predicted, but as of yet, not experimentally verified or observed. These include the rehybridization of sp2 structures to sp3 upon the application of pressure and hydrogen, and the formation of carbon clathrates, a close cousin of silica clathrates.

“Optimization of Hydrogen Storage via Spillover through a Combined Experimental and Modelling Approach”

Professor Lueking was selected for a highly competitive Marie Curie Fellowship to partner with researchers at the University of Crete to design new materials for hydrogen storage via the spillover approach. The objective of this work is to synthesize catalyzed nanoporous materials that have superior hydrogen uptake between 300K and 400K and moderate pressures (20-100 bar) via the hydrogen spillover mechanism. Hydrogen spillover involves addition of a catalyst to a high-surface area microporous support, such that the catalyst acts as a source for atomic hydrogen, the atomic hydrogen diffuses from the catalyst to the support, and ideally, the support provides a high number of tailored surface binding sites to maximize the number of atomic hydrogens interacting with the surface. The proposed work will provide a means to explore an extended collaboration to combine in situ spectroscopic techniques and theoretical multi-scale modelling calculations. Both carbon-based and microporous metal-organic framework (MMOF) materials with added hydrogen dissociated catalysts will be drawn from past and on-going projects, in order to identify specific binding sites that lead to appreciable uptake. First, preliminary spectroscopic data will be used to validate and extend existing theoretical models. In situ characterization of materials with systematic variations in structure and/or synthesis will be used to identify properties that lead to high uptake, including effect of structure, geometry, surface chemistry, and catalyst-support interface. Resulting spectroscopic data will be analyzed with theoretical models to conclusively identify the nature of the binding site. Validated models will be used to direct future synthesis of novel materials. The overall goal will be to identify tailored surface sites that reversibly bind atomic hydrogen between 300 K and 400K.

The work is incredibly timely, as the hydrogen spillover mechanism has become highly controversial in the past two years, due largely to discrepancies between laboratories, and even variations of the magnitude of uptake observed for materials prepared with near-identical techniques within the same laboratory. Amidst this controversy, a combined approach of in situ spectroscopic techniques and theoretical multi-scale modelling calculations will resolve the hydrogen spillover mechanism and illuminate the nature of the exact surface sites and structure responsible for the high uptake in select materials. The proposed work extends previous work of Professor Angela Lueking, who as a graduate student, was first author on the first papers identifying hydrogen spillover as a means to achieve appreciable uptake at room temperature. Subsequently, Lueking has studied hydrogen uptake and adsorption in other materials, and furthered her experience in material characterization. She has recently returned to the field of hydrogen spillover, employing in situ spectroscopic techniques, as outlined below. Lueking will pair with George Froudakis of the University of Crete, whose theoretical calculations (with George Psofogiannakis, a current Marie Curie fellow) provided the first multi-scale modelling of the hydrogen spillover mechanism. The proposed work will provide a means to explore an extended collaboration to combine their respective work in experiment and theory. The combined approach is expected to not only resolve what has become a highly controversial issue in the literature, but ultimately, identification of the key sites responsible for high uptake in select materials is expected to lead to a significant increase in capacity and reproducibility in hydrogen spillover materials that are optimized for near-ambient temperature adsorption.

Selected Publications: 
  1. Sircar, S., Wang, C.Y., Lueking, A.D., " Design of High Pressure Differential Volumetric Adsorption Measurements with Increased Accuracy", Adsorption, Submitted, 2013.
  2. Lueking, A.D., Psofogiannakis, G., Froudakis, G. "Atomic Hydrogen Diffusion on Doped and Chemically Modified Graphene" J. Phys. Chem. C., 117 (12), pp 6312–6319, 2013.
  3. Liu, X.M.; Tang, Y.; Xu, E.S.; Fitzgibbons, T.; Gutierrez, H.; Tseng, H.H.; Yu, M.S.; Tsao, C.S.; Badding, J.V. Crespi, V.; Lueking, A.D. "In situ Micro Raman Evidence for Reversible Room-Temperature Hydrogenation in Pt-doped Activated Carbon" Nano Letters, 13, 137-141, 2013.
  4. Cole, M.W.; Gatica, S.M.; Kim, H.Y.; Lueking, A.D.; Sircar, S. Gas Adsorption in Novel Environments, Including Effects of Pore Relaxation.  J. Low Temp. Phys. 166 (5-6), 231-241, 2012.
  5. Liu, X. M.; Rather, S.; Li, Q.; Lueking, A.D., Zhao, Y.; Li, J. Hydrogenation of CuBTC framework with the introduction of a PtC hydrogen spillover catalyst.  J Phys. Chem. C,  116 (5), 3477–3485, 2012.
  6. Sircar, S.; Wu, H.; Li, J; Lueking, A.D., " Effect of Time, Temperature, and Kinetics on Hysteretic Adsorption-Desorption of H2, Ar, and N2 in the Metal-Organic Framework Zn2(bpdc)2(bpee)", Langmuir 27 (23), 14169–14179, 2011.
  7. Tsao, C.S; Liu, Y.; Chuang, H.Y.; Tseng, H.H., Chen,T.Y.; Chen, C.H., Yu, M.S.; Li, Q.; Lueking, A.D.; Chen, S.H.. Hydrogen Spillover effect of Pt-doped Activated Carbon Studied by Inelastic Neutron Scattering. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2, 2322–2325, 2011.
  8. Li, Q.; Lueking, A.D. Effect of Surface Oxyen Groups and Water on Hydrogen Spillover in Pt-Doped Activated Carbon. J. Phys. Chem. C. 115, 4273-4282, 2011.
  9. Noa, K. E.; Lueking, A. D.; Cole, M. W., Imbibition transition: gas intercalation between graphene and silica. J Low Temp Phys 163, 26-33, 2011.
  10. Sakti, A.; Wonderling, N.; Fonseca, D.A.; Lueking, A.D. “Enhanced oxidative reactivity for anthracite coal via a reactive ball milling pretreatment step,” Energy & Fuels, 23, 4318-4324, 2009.
Recent Activities: 


  • Alternate Councilor, Fuel Chemistry Division, American Chemical Society, 2010-present
  • Treasurer, Fuel Chemistry  Division, American Chemical Society, 2007-2010
  • Graduate Council, EMS representative (elected), 2008-2010


  • Marie Curie International Incoming Fellow, 2012-2013
  • EMS Energy Institute Research Award, 2008