Ward van der Stam

Tenure Track Assistant Professor
Employed since: June 2019
Phone: +31622736090
Email: w.vanderstam@uu.nl
Room: 4.86



Structure-function relationships of CO2 reduction electrocatalysts at work

The electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 into hydrocarbon fuels, like methane or ethylene, is regarded as a promising strategy to address one of the main current environmental issues: reducing the CO2 footprint of our society. However, improvements in activity, selectivity and stability of the developed electrocatalysts are crucial in order to implement electrocatalysis on a large scale. Colloidal synthesis of metal nanoparticles offers a versatile strategy to boost the activity (large surface area) and selectivity (selective facet exposure) of the CO2 reduction reaction, but is limited by nanoparticle destabilization under reaction conditions. Therefore, detailed characterization over multiple length- and timescales is required to elucidate the reaction mechanism of CO2 reduction electrocatalysts at work

Our research focuses on (1) the synthesis of colloidal metal electrocatalyst nanoparticles with well-defined sizes, shapes and compositions (e.g. nanorods or nanoplatelets), (2) in situ vibrational spectroscopy to study the adsorbed intermediates at the catalyst surface in space and time, and (3) in situ X-ray characterization (diffraction, spectroscopy, scattering) to elucidate the structure of the electrocatalyst under working conditions (Figure 1). Our main interest lies in unravelling structure-function relationships by performing in situ X-ray diffraction and scattering experiments, as well as in situspectroscopy measurements. Colloidal nanomaterials are ideally suited for structure-function relationships, since they can be prepared with atomic precision in solution. This not only allows us to deposit them on various electrodes, but also characterize the size, shape and faceting during the reaction and use these parameters to direct the formation of value-added chemicals, such as C>2 hydrocarbons. These in situ characterization techniques will give valuable fundamental, but also practical insights into the exact reaction mechanism of the CO2 reduction reaction and the (de)activation of the electrocatalyst nanoparticles, which will allow us to rationally design the ultimate electrocatalyst.

Figure 1. (left) Colloidal nanostructures ooffer a versatile strategy to steer the CO2 reduction reaction. (middle) in situ vibrational spectroscopy (Raman and Infrared) sheds light on adsorbed reaction intermediates at the catalyst surface. (right) in situ X-ray characterization is utilized to unravel the structure (size, shape, faceting, composition) of the colloidal electrocatalysts under working conditions and elucidate (de)stabilization parameters. The obtained information from these three pillars will be used to design the ultimate active, selective and stable nanoparticle electrocatalyst




Tenure Track Assistant Professor (June 2019 – Present), Utrecht University, The Netherlands


Postdoctoral Researcher (March 2019 – June 2019), Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Research topics: Electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 with colloidal metal nanoparticles, under the supervision of prof. dr. ir. Bert M. Weckhuysen


Postdoctoral Researcher (October 2016 – February 2019), Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Research topics: Electrochemical doping of semiconductor nanocrystals, (spectro)electrochemistry, ultrafast

spectroscopy, in-situ EXAFS, synthesis of colloidal perovskite nanoplatelets, streak camera measurements, charge transfer and excited state dynamics, transient absorption spectroscopy, under the supervision of dr. Arjan Houtepen and dr. Ferdinand Grozema


PhD student (October 2012 – September 2016), Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Thesis entitled: Tailoring on the nanoscale: control over size, shape, composition and self-assembly of copper chalcogenide nanocrystals

Research topics: Nanocrystal synthesis, cation exchange, self-assembled superstructures, optical spectroscopy, in-situ X-ray scattering, Electron Microscopy, under the supervision of dr. Celso de Mello Donegá and prof. dr. Andries Meijerink


MSc Chemistry & Physics (September 2010 – October 2012), Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Thesis entitled: Colloidal Nanostructures for Application in Quantum Dot Sensitized Solar Cells, under the supervision of dr. Celso de Mello Donegá


MSc Internship(March 2012 – September 2012), Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Genova, Italy

Internship report entitled: Control over different colloidal nanocrystal syntheses; size, shape and properties, under the supervision of prof. dr. Liberato Manna


BSc Chemistry (September 2007 – September 2010), Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Thesis entitled: Quantum Dot Sensitized Solar Cells, under the supervision of dr. Esther Groeneveld and dr. Celso de Mello Donegá


Born in Nieuwegein, The Netherlands 1989



20 May 2022

Ina & Ward received an NWO XS grant for curiosity-driven research

Ina Vollmer and Ward van der Stam (both ICC) have received an NWO XS grant of 50.000 euro for curiosity-driven research into new ways to recycle plastic and CO2. Ina […]

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22 October 2021

Ward van der Stam wins Best Lecture Award at the online NanoGe Fall Meeting 2021

During the online NanoGe Fall Meeting Ward van der Stam presented the combined work of PhD student Jim de Ruiter and postdoctoral fellow Hongyu An in the lecture entitled ‘Probing the dynamics of CO2 electroreduction with time-resolved Raman […]

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06 June 2019

Ward van der Stam appointed as Tenure Tracker at ICC

In March 2019, Ward initially started as a postdoc in the Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis (ICC) group, but recently, his position was changed into Tenure Track Assistant Professor. He will […]

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Ding, P.; An, H.; Zellner, P.; Guan, T.; Gao, J.; Müller-Buschbaum, P.; Weckhuysen, B. M.; van der Stam, W.; Sharp, I. D.

Elucidating the Roles of Nafion/Solvent Formulations in Copper-Catalyzed CO2 Electrolysis Journal Article

In: ACS Catalysis, pp. 5336-5347, 2023, (cited By 0).

Links | BibTeX

Yang, S.; Liu, Z.; An, H.; Arnouts, S.; Ruiter, J. De; Rollier, F.; Bals, S.; Altantzis, T.; Figueiredo, M. C.; Filot, I. A. W.; Hensen, E. J. M.; Weckhuysen, B. M.; Stam, W. Van Der

Near-Unity Electrochemical CO2to CO Conversion over Sn-Doped Copper Oxide Nanoparticles Journal Article

In: ACS Catalysis, vol. 12, no. 24, pp. 15146-15156, 2022, (cited By 2).

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Yang, S.; An, H.; Anastasiadou, D.; Xu, W.; Wu, L.; Wang, H.; de Ruiter, J.; Arnouts, S.; Figueiredo, M. C.; Bals, S.; Altantzis, T.; van der Stam, W.; Weckhuysen, B. M.

Waste-Derived Copper-Lead Electrocatalysts for CO2 Reduction Journal Article

In: ChemCatChem, vol. 14, no. 18, 2022, (cited By 2).

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Ruiter, J. De; An, H.; Wu, L.; Gijsberg, Z.; Yang, S.; Hartman, T.; Weckhuysen, B. M.; Stam, W. Van Der

Probing the Dynamics of Low-Overpotential CO2-to-CO Activation on Copper Electrodes with Time-Resolved Raman Spectroscopy Journal Article

In: Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 144, no. 33, pp. 15047-15058, 2022, (cited By 8).

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Stam, W. Van Der

The Necessity for Multiscale In Situ Characterization of Tailored Electrocatalyst Nanoparticle Stability † Journal Article

In: Chemistry of Materials, 2022, (cited By 0).

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An, H.; Wu, L.; Mandemaker, L. D. B.; Yang, S.; de Ruiter, J.; Wijten, J. H. J.; Janssens, J. C. L.; Hartman, T.; van der Stam, W.; Weckhuysen, B. M.

Sub-Second Time-Resolved Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Reveals Dynamic CO Intermediates during Electrochemical CO2 Reduction on Copper Journal Article

In: Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, vol. 60, no. 30, pp. 16576-16584, 2021, (cited By 12).

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Wu, L.; Kolmeijer, K. E.; Zhang, Y.; An, H.; Arnouts, S.; Bals, S.; Altantzis, T.; Hofmann, J. P.; Figueiredo, M. Costa; Hensen, E. J. M.; Weckhuysen, B. M.; Stam, W. Van Der

Stabilization effects in binary colloidal Cu and Ag nanoparticle electrodes under electrochemical CO2reduction conditions Journal Article

In: Nanoscale, vol. 13, no. 9, pp. 4835-4844, 2021, (cited By 5).

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Other publications

See earlier publications on Scopus.