Office: Wright Rieman Labs 207
Mail: Chemistry & Chemical Biology, 610 Taylor Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854
Our research interests and activities are primarily in the areas of solid-state inorganic and inorganic-organic hybrid materials that possess interesting and useful properties. Our recent work focuses largely on the design, synthesis, characterization, modification and understanding the chemistry of new materials with improved and enhanced functionality that are potentially important for clean and renewable energy storage and conversion, including photovoltaics, solid-state lighting, thermoelectrics, gas storage and separation, catalysis and sensing.
Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Semiconductors: A New Class of Nanostructured Crystals with Interesting and Enhanced Properties
Hybrid materials that incorporate organic and inorganic components into a single crystal lattice often lead to modified and enhanced properties, as well as new phenomena and new functionality. Recently, we have developed an unprecedented class of hybrid nanostructured crystals (Fig. 1) that are comprised of sub-nanometer-sized semiconductor motifs (inorganic component) and mono- or di-amines (organic component). These materials show exceptionally strong structure-, rather than size-induced, quantum confinement effect (QCE), and such confinement can be systematically tuned by modifying the composition, crystal structure and dimensionality of the inorganic motifs.
The II-VI based hybrid structures process a number of enhanced properties and new features over their parent bulk semiconductors. These include very broad band-gap tunability and high absorption coefficients, all desirable for optoelectronic applications. They are highly flexible, and exhibit nearly zero and tunable thermal expansion behavior. They represent the first semiconductor bulk materials that are capable of generating direct white light and thus, are promising for use as a single-material white-light emitting source in light-emitting diodes (Fig. 2). The hybrid semiconductors also possess a very rich structural chemistry and exhibit interesting structure related thermal properties.
Microporous Metal Organic Frameworks: A New Type of Adsorbents for Gas Storage, Gas Separation, and Sensing
Microporous metal organic frameworks (MMOFs) are currently under intensive investigation because of their rich structural chemistry and very interesting properties. As a subclass of MOFs these materials contain micropores (pore diameter less than 20Å) and demonstrate porosity associated multi-fold functionality that show great promise for applications in gas storage and separation, catalysis, guest- and/or pore-induced magnetization and sensing. Compared to other porous materials such as zeolites and carbon nanotubes, MMOFs demonstrate numerous desirable and improved features. Their crystal structures (for example, dimensionality, framework connectivity, and topology), compositions (e.g. the type and form of metals and ligands) and pore properties (e.g., pore size and shape, pore volume and the chemical functionality of the pore walls) can be deliberately and systematically tailored to enhance targeted properties and to achieve improved performance. Fig. 3 shows a highly porous MMOF structure and its properties.
Metal Chalcogenides: Inorganic solids as Electronic, Optical and Zeotype Materials
Early investigations on binary metal chalcogenides had led to the discoveries of many important properties, including superconductivity, charge-density wave phenomena, ferromagnetism and anti-ferromagnetism, phase transitions, and anisotropic electrical and optical behavior. Important technological applications in heterogeneous catalysts, reversible battery electrodes, high temperature lubricants, optical storage materials, solar cells, solid state lasers, and thermoelectrics have been implemented as the result of such discoveries. The past several decades have witnessed tremendous efforts devoted to the exploitation of soft, low temperature synthetic methods for preparation of new multi-component chalcogenides. These efforts have led to the discovery of many new ternary and quaternary phases with remarkably rich structures and interesting properties. One of the strategies is to use organic templates both as charge-compensating and structure-directing agents. This approach has proven to be very effective in generating porous chalcogenides. Employing secondary building-block approach in our solution-based reactions, along with the use of large organic template species, we have succeeded in synthesizing a number of open framework structures of metal selenides and tellurides containing large pores (Fig. 4). Interesting and promising phases mimic the properties of zeotype materials are anticipated from this research.
Awards & Honors
- The Humboldt Research Award (Humboldt Prize, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation), 2013
- Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Research (Rutgers University), 2013
- Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2012
- The Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Award (US Department of Energy), 2012
- Cheung Kong Guest Chair Professor Award (Ministry of Education of China), 2007
- Outstanding Achievement Award (Chinese Association of Science and Technology, USA), 2002
- The Board of Trustees Fellowship for Scholarly Excellence (Rutgers University), 1996
- The Presidential Faculty Fellow Award (National Science Foundation), 1995-2000
- NSF CAREER Award (National Science Foundation), 1995
- Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (The Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation), 1994-1998
- Henry Rutgers Research Fellow, Rutgers University, 1991-1993
Representative Publications (2006-2012)
- Plonka, A.M.; Banerjee, D.; Woerner, W.R.; Zhang, Z.J.; Nijem, N.; Chabal, Y.J.; L, J.; Parise, J.B. “Unique Mechanism of CO2 Sorption in Highly Selective Hybrid Material”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012 , Accepted.
- Nijem, N.; Wu, H.H.; Canepa, P.; Marti, A.; Balkus Jr. , K.J.; Thonhauser, T.; Li, J.; Chabal, Y.J. “Tuning the Gate Opening Pressure of MOFs for the Selective Separation of Hydrocarbons”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134, 15201.
- Wu, H.H.; Gong, Q.H.; Olson, D.H.; Li, J. “Commensurate Adsorption of Hydrocarbons and Alcohols in Microporous Metal Organic Frameworks”, Chem. Rev., 2012, 112, 836.
- Zou, C.; Zhang, Z.J.; Xu, X.; Gong, Q.H.; Li, J.; Wu, C.D. “A Multifunctional Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Structure Based on MnIII-Porphrin and Polyoxometalate as Highly Effective Dye Scavenger and Heterogeneous Catalyst”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134, 87.
- Li, B.Y.; Zhang, Z.J.; Li, Y.; Yao, K.X.; Zhu, Y.H.; Deng, Z.Y.; Yang, F.; Zhou, X.J.; Li, G.H.; Wu, H.H.; Nijem, N.; Chabal, Y.J.; Shi, Z.; Feng, S.H.; Li, J. “Dual Functionalization Leads to Significantly Enhanced Binding Affinity, remarkable Selectivity and Highly Capacity of CO2 in A New rht-Type Metal-Organic Framework Based on Hexacarboxylate Ligand with N-rich Imino Triazine Backbone”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012, 51, 1412.
- Nijem, N; Thissen, P.; Yao, Y.P.; Longo, R.C.; Roodenko, K.; Wu, H. H.; Zhao, Y. G.; Cho, K.J.; Li, J.; Langreth, D.; Chabal, Y. J. “Understanding the Preferential Adsorption of CO2 over N2 in a Flexible Metal-Organic Framework”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2011, 133, 12849.
- Roushan, M.; Zhang, X.; Li, J. “Solution-Processable White Light Emitting Hybrid Semiconductor Bulk Materials with High PL Quantum Efficiency”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2011, 51, 436.
- Pramanik, S.; Zheng, C.; Zhang, X.; Emge, T. J.; Li, J. “New Microporous Metal Organic Framework Demonstrating Unique Selectivity for Detection of High Explosives and Aromatic Compounds”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2011, 133, 4153.
- Lee, J.Y.; Pan, L.; Huang, X.Y.; Emge, T.J.; Li, J. “A Systematic Approach to Build Highly Porous, Non-interpenetrating Metal Organic Frameworks with Large Capacity in Adsorbing H2 and CH4”, Adv. Func. Mater., 2011, 21, 993.
- Nijem, N.; Veyan, J. F.; Kong, L. Z.; Pramanik, S.; Zhao, Y. G.; Li, J.; Langreth, D.; Chabal, Y. J. “Hydrogen Pairing and Interactions in Unsaturated MOF-74 Systems”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2010, 132, 14834.
- Zhang, J. M.; Wu, H. H.; Emge, T. J.; Li, J. “A Flexible MMOF Exhibiting High Selectivity for CO2 over N2, CH4 and Other Small Gases”, Chem. Comm., 2010, 46, 9152.
- Huang, X. Y.; Roushan, M.; Emge, T. J.; Bi, W. H.; Thiagarajan, S.; Cheng, J. H.; Yang, R. G.; Li, J. “Flexible Hybrid Semiconductors Having Low Thermal Conductivity: The Role of Organic Diamines”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2009, 48, 7871.
- Li, K. H.; Olson, D. H.; Seidel, J.; Emge, T. J.; Gong, H. W.; Zeng, H. P.; Li, J. “Zeolitic Imadazolate frameworks Capable of Kinetic Separation of Propane and Propene”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2009, 131, 10368.
- Lan, A. J.; Li, K. H.; Wu, H. H.; Olson, D. H.; Emge, T. J.; Ki, W.; Hong, M. C.; Li, J. “A Luminescent Microporous Metal Organic Framework for the Fast and Reversible Detection of High Explosives”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2009, 48, 7165.
- Ki, W.; Li, J. “A Semiconductor Bulk Material That Emits Direct White Light”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2008, 130, 8114.
- Li, K. H.; Lee, J. Y.; Olson, D. H.; Bi, W. H.; Eibling, M. J.; Emge, T. J.; Li, J. Unique Gas and Hydrocarbon Adsorption in A Highly Porous Metal-Organic Framework Made of Extended Aliphatic Ligands”, Chem. Comm., 2008, 6123.
- Li, K.-H.; Olson, D.H.; Lee, J.-Y.; Bi, W.-H.; Wu, K.; Li, J.; Yuen, T.; Xu. Q. “Metal Formates ([M3(HCOO)6]•DMF; M = Mn, Co, Ni): Multifunctional Microporous MOFs”, Adv. Func. Mater., 2008, 18, 2205.
- Li, J.; Bi, W.-H.; Ki, W.; Huang, X.-Y.; Reddy, S. “Nanostructured Crystals: Unique Hybrid Semiconductors Exhibiting Nearly Zero and Tunable Uniaxial Thermal Expansion Behavior”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2007, 129, 14140.
- Lee, J. Y.; Olson, D. H.; Pan, L.; Emge, T. J.; Li, J. “[M(bdc)(ted)0.5]•2DMF•0.2H2O (M = Zn, Cu): Microporous Metal Organic Frameworks with High Gas Sorption and Separation Capacity”, Adv. Func. Mater., 2007, 17, 1255.
- Huang, X. -Y.; Li, J. “From Single to Multiple Atomic Layers: A Unique Approach to the Systematic Tuning of Structures and Properties of Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Nanostructured Semiconductors”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2007, 129, 3157.
- Pan, L.; Parker, B.; Huang, X. Y.; Olson, D. H.; Lee, J. -Y.; Li, J. “A Guest-Free MMOF with Unique Gas Separation and Storage Capability”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2006, 128, 4180.
- Pan, L.; Olson, D. H.; Ciemnolonski, L. R.; Heddy, R.; Li, J. “Separation of Hydrocarbons with a Microporous Metal-Organic Framework”, Angew. Chem., Int. Ed., 2006, 45, 616.