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Faculty Research

Li, Jing

JingLiDistinguished Professor

Research Synopsis: Inorganic and solid-state chemistry, hybrid semiconductors and nanostructured materials, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs)

Phone: (848) 445-3758






Research Overview

Our research interests and activities are primarily in the development of solid-state inorganic and inorganic-organic hybrid materials that are both fundamentally important and relevant for practical applications. Our current work focuses mainly on the design, synthesis, characterization, functionalization, and optimization of three material families that possess interesting and unique properties potentially useful for clean and renewable energy applications, including but not limited to photovoltaics, solid-state lighting, thermoelectrics, gas storage and separation, greenhouse gas capture, catalysis, and chemical sensing. We employ both experimental and theoretical methods to investigate and understand the structure-property correlations in these systems, as well as the organic-inorganic interface interactions at the atomic and molecular level.


  • Catalysis
  • Gas storage and separation (e.g. CO2 capture and hydrocarbon separation)
  • Luminescence-based sensing and explosive detection
  • Rare-earth-element (REE) free phosphors for white LEDs


  • I-VII based hybrid materials
  • II-VI based hybrid materials
  • III-VI based hybrid materials
  • VI-VI based hybrid materials
  • Perovskite based hybrid materials


  • Metal chalcogenides
  • Metal halides

Representative Publications (2008-2015)



  • CatalysisZhao, Y.G.; Padmanabhan, M.; Gong, Q.H.; Tsumori, N.; Xu, Q.; Li, J. “CO Catalytic Oxidation by Metal Organic Framework Containing High Density of Reactive Copper Sites”, Chem. Comm., 2011, 47, 6377-6379. [Link]
  • 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, 87-90. [Link]
  • Zhang, J.M.; Biradar, A.V.; Emge, T.J.; Asefa, T.; Li, J. “A New Layered Metal-Organic Framework as a Promising Heterogeneous Catalyst for Olefin Epoxidation Reactions”, Chem. Comm., 2012, 48, 6541-6543. [Link]
  • Deibert, B.J.; Zhang, J.M.; Smith, P.F.; Chapman, K.W.; Rangan, S.; Banerjee, D.; Tan, K.; Wang, H.; Pasquale, N.; Chen, F.; Lee, K.B.; Dismukes, G.C.; Chabal, Y.J.; Li, J. “Highly Active ‘Polytype-Birnessite’ MnOx Water Oxidation Catalyst Formed In-situ from MnII4O4 MOF Precursor: Structural Investigation of an Amorphous Catalyst”, Chem. Euro. J., 2015, ASAP. [Link]

Gas storage and separation

  • Gas storage and separationLi, 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, 10368-10369. [Link]
  • 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.; N.; Chabal, Y.J.; Shi, Z.; Feng, S.H.; Li, J. “Enhanced Binding Affinity, Remarkable Selectivity, and High Capacity of CO2 by Dual Functionalization of a rht-Type Metal–Organic Framework”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012, 51, 1412-1415. [Link]
  • 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, 15201-15204. [Link]
  • 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, 836-868 (Invited Review). [Link]
  • Zhang, Z.J.; Zhao, Y.G.; Gong, Q.H.; Li, Z.; Li, J. “MOFs for CO2 Capture and Separation from Flue Gas Mixtures: The Effect of Multifunctional Sites on Their Adsorption Capacity and Selectivity”, Chem. Comm., 2013, 49, 653-661. [Link]
  • Plonka, A.M.; Banerjee, D.; Woerner, W.R.; Zhang, Z.J.; Nijem, N.; Chabal, Y.J.; Li, J.; Parise, J.B. “Mechanism of Carbon Dioxide Adsorption in a Highly Selective Coordination Network Supported by Direct Structural Evidence”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2013, 52, 1692-1695. [Link] (Selected as Inside Cover and as “Hot Paper” by Angew. Chem., December 2012). [Link]
  • Wang, H.; Yao, K.X.; Zhang, Z.J.; Jagiello, J.; Gong, Q.H.; Han, Y.; Li, J. “The First Example of Commensurate Adsorption of Atomic Gas in a MOF and Effective Separation of Xenon from Other Noble Gases”, Chem. Sci., 2014, 5, 620-624. [Link]

Luminescence based sensing and explosive detection

  • LuminescenceLan, 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, 2334-2338. [Link] (Selected as “Hot Paper” by Angew. Chem.; Featured in “Patent Picks”, C&EN News, 92(26), p.28, June 30, 2014 [Link])
  • 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, 4153-4155. [Link]
  • Hu, Z.C.; Tan, K.; Lustig, W.P.; Wang, H.; Zhao, Y.G.; Zheng, C.; Banerjee, D.; Gong, Q.H.; Emge, T.J.; Chabal, Y.J.; Li, J. “Effective Sensing of RDX via Instant and Selective Detection of Ketone Vapors”, Chem. Sci., 2014, 5, 4873-4877. [Link]
  • Hu, Z.C.; Deibert, B.J.; Li, J. “Luminescent Metal-Organic Frameworks for Chemical Sensing and Explosive Detection”, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2014, 43, 5815-5840 (Invited Review). [Link]

Rare-earth-element (REE) free phosphors for white LEDs

  • REESun, C.Y.; Wang, X.L.; Zhang, X.; Qin, C.; Li, P.; Su, Z.M.; Zhu, D.X.; Shan, G.G.; Shao, K.Z.; Wu, H.; Li, J. “Efficient and Tunable White-Light Emission of Metal-Organic Frameworks by Iridium-Complex Encapsulation”, Nat. Comm., 2013, 4, 2717. [Link]
  • Gong, Q.H.; Hu, Z.C.; Deibert, B.J.; Emge, T.J.; Teat, S.J.; Banerjee, D.; Mussman, B.; Rudd, N.D.; Li, J. “Solution Processable Rare-Earth-Free Yellow Phosphor with Exceptionally High Quantum Efficiency”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2014, 136, 16724-16727. [Link]
  • Hu, Z.C.; Huang, G.X.; Lustig, W.P.; Wang, F.M.; Wang, H.; Teat, S.J.; Banerjee, D.; Zhang, D.Q.; Li, J. “Achieving Exceptionally High Luminous Efficacy by Immobilizing an AIE Molecular Chromophore into A Metal-Organic Framework”, Chem. Comm., 2015, 51, 3045-3048. [Link] (Selected as Front Cover). [Link]


I-VII based hybrid materials

  • I VIIZhang, X.; Liu, W.; Wei, G.Z.; Banajee, D.; Hu, Z.C.; Li, J. “A Systematic Approach in Designing Rare-Earth-Free Hybrid Semiconductor Phosphors for General Lighting Applications”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2014, 136, 14230-14236. [Link] (Selected by ACS News Weekly PressPac, October 15, 2014) [Link]
  • Liu, W.; Yang, F.; Wei, G.Z.; Teat, S.J.; Xiong, K.C.; Hu, Z.C.; Lustig, W.P.; Li, J. “A family of highly efficient CuI-based lighting phosphors prepared by a systematic, bottom-up synthetic approach”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2015, 137, 9400-9408. [Link]

II-VI based hybrid materials

  • II VIKi, W.; Li, J. “A Semiconductor Bulk Material That Emits Direct White Light”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2008, 130, 8114-8115. [Link] (Featured in C & EN News, June 16, 2008, 84(24), p48; Highlighted in Nature, July 17, 2008, 454, p256).
  • 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, 7871-7874. [Link]
  • Roushan, M.; Zhang, X.; Li, J. “Solution-Processable White Light Emitting Hybrid Semiconductor Bulk Materials with High PL Quantum Efficiency”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012, 51, 436-439. [Link]
  • Fang, X.M.; Roushan, M.; Zhang, R.B.; Peng, J.; Zeng, H.P.; Li, J. “Tuning and Enhancing White Light Emission of II-VI Based Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Semiconductors as Single-Phased Phosphors”, Chem. Mater., 2012, 24, 1710-1717. [Link]

III-VI and VI-VI based hybrid materials

  • III VIZhang, R.B.; Emge, T.J.; Li, J. “The First Single-Sized (~ 1 nm) and Periodically Ordered Array of In2Te3 Semiconductor Quantum Dots Self-Assembled in Solution”, J. Mater. Chem, A, 2013, 1, 199-202. [Link]
  • Zhang, X.; Hejazi, M.; Thiagarajan, S.J.; Woerner, W.R.; Banerjee, D.; Emge, T.J.; Xu, W.Q.; Teat, S.J.; Safari, A.; Yang, R.G.; Parise, J.B.; Li, J. “From 1D Chain to 3D Network: A New Family of Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Semiconductors MO3(L)x (M = Mo, W; L = Organic Linker) Built on Perovskite-Like Structure Modules”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2013, 135, 17401-17407. [Link]



  • other solid stateWu, M.; Emge, T. J.; Huang, X. -Y.; Li, J.; Zhang, Y. “Designing and Tuning Properties of a Three-Dimensional Porous Quaternary Chalcogenide Built on a Bimetallic Tetrahedral Cluster [M4Sn3S13]5- (M = Zn/Sn)”, J. Solid St. Chem., 2008, 181, 415-422 (Selected as Front Cover). [Link]
  • Wu, M.; Rhee, J.; Yao, H. B.; Emge, T. J.; Cheng, J. -H.; Thiagarajan, S.; Croft, M.; Yang, R. G.; Li, J. “A Low band Gap iron Sulfide Hybrid Semiconductor with Unique 2D [Fe16S20]8- Layer and Reduced Thermal Conductivity”, Chem. Comm., 2010, 46, 1649-1651. [Link]
  • Yao, H.B.; Zhang, X.; Wang, X.L.; Yu, S.H.; Li, J. “From (Cd2Se2)(pa) (pa = Propylamine) Hybrid Precursor to CdSe Nanostructures: Structural Evolution and Optical Properties”, Dalton. Trans., 2011, 40, 3191-3197. [Link]
  • Chen, Y.-C.; Yao, H.B.; Thiagarajan, S.; Wu, M.; Emge, T.J.; Yang, R.G.; Yu, S.H.; Li, J. “Layered Hybrid Selenoantimonates with Reduced Thermal Conductivity”, Z. Anorg. Allg. Chem., 2012, 638, 2604-2609; DOI: 10.1002/zaac.201200286 [Link]

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