• Jing Li
  • Distinguished 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 practically relevant. 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, capture and separation, 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.




Representative Publications (2008-2020)


Gas storage, capture 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]
  • Banerjee, ; Wang, H.; Gong, Q.H.; Jagiello, J.; Wu, H.H.; Woerner, W.R.; Plonka, A.M.; Emge, T.J.; Olson, D.H.; Parise, J.B.; Li, J. “Direct Structural Evidence of Commensurate-to-Incommensurate Transition of Hydrocarbon Adsorption in a Microporous Metal Organic Framework”, Chem. Sci., 2016, 7, 759-765, DOI: 10.1039/C5SC03685B. [Link]

  • Li, B.Y.; Dong, X.L.; Wang, H.; Ma, D.X.; Tan, K.; Jensen, S.; Deibert, B.J.; Butler, J.; Shi, Z.; Thonhauser, T.; Chabal, Y.J.; Han, Y.; Li, J. “Capture of Radioactive Organic Iodides from Nuclear Waste by Metal-Organic Framework Based Molecule Traps”, Commun., 2017, 8:485, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00526-3. [Link] (Reported and highlighted by a number of newspapers, media and news outlets; Selected by DOE Office of Science as a University Research highlight and also highlighted by Basic Energy Sciences (BES) on Dec. 12, 2017). [Link]

  • Wang, H.; Dong, X.L.; Lin, J.Z.; Teat, S.J.; Jensen, S.; Cure, J.; Alexandrov, E.V.; Xia, Q.B.; Wang, Q.N.; Olson, D.H.; Proserpio, D.M.; Chabal, Y.J.; Thonhauser, T.; Sun, J.L.; Han, Y.; Li, J. “Topologically Guided Tuning of Zr-MOF Pore Structures for Highly Selective Separation of C6 Alkane Isomers”, Nat. Commun., 2018, 9:1745. [Link] (Highlighted by Department of Energy, Office of Science.[Link]

  • Wang, H.; Dong, X.L.; Velasco, E.; Olson, D.H.; Han, Y.; Li, J. “One-of-A-Kind: The First Example of Adsorptive Separation of Three Alkane Isomers by A Microporous Metal-Organic Framework via Temperature- and Adsorbate-Dependent Molecular Sieving”, Energy & Environ. Sci., 2018, 11, 1226-1231, DOI: 10.1039/C8EE00459E. [Link]

  • Wang, H., Dong, X.L.; Colombo, V.; Wang, Q.N.; Liu, Y.Y.; Liu, W.; Wang, X.L.; Huang, X.Y.; Proserpio, D.M.; Sironi, S.; Han, Y.; Li, J. Tailor-Made Microporous Metal-Organic Frameworks for the Full Separation of Propane from Propylene through Selective Size Exclusion”, Adv. Mater., 2018, 30, 201805088, DOI: 10.1002/adma.201805088. [Link]
  • Wang, H.; Li, J. “Microporous Metal-Organic Frameworks for Adsorptive Separation of C5-C6 Alkane Isomers”, Acc. Chem. Res., 2019, 52, 1968-1978. [Link] (Supplementary Cover). [Link]

  • Yu, L.; Dong, X.L.; Gong, Q.H.; Acharya, S.R.; Lin, Y.H.; Wang, H.; Han, Y.; Thonhauser, T.; Li, J. “Splitting Mono- and Di-Branched Alkane Isomers by a Robust Aluminum-Based Metal-Organic Framework Material with Optimal Pore Dimensions”, Am. Chem. Soc., 2020, 142, 6925-6929, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.0c01769.

  • Wang, H.; Warren, M.; Jagiello, J.; Jensen, S.; Ghose, S.K.; Tan, K.; Yu, L.; Emge, T.J.; Thonhauser, T.; Li, J. “Crystallizing Atomic Xenon in a Flexible MOF to Probe and Understand its Temperature-Dependent Breathing Behavior and Unusual Gas Adsorption Phenomenon”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2020, 142, 20088-20097, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.0c09475.

  • Wang, H.; Liu, Y.L.; Li, J. “Designer Metal-Organic Frameworks for Size-Exclusion Based Hydrocarbon Separations: Progresses and Challenges”, Adv. Mater., 2020, 32, 2002603, DOI: 10.1002/adma.202002603. 

Luminescence-based sensing and detection of hazadous and toxic chemical species in vapor and solution phase

  • 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]

  • Hu, Z.C.; Lustig, W.P.; Zhang, J.M.; Zheng, C.; Wang, H.; Teat, S.J.; Gong, Q.H.; Rudd, N.D.; Li, J. “Effective Detection of Mycotoxins by a Highly Luminescent Metal-Organic Framework”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2015, 137, 16209-16215. [Link] (Highlighted by Advanced Light Source Science Briefs, Feb. 4, 2016) [Link]

  • Rudd, N.; Wang, H.; Fuentes-Fernandez, E.; Teat, S.; Chen, F.; Hall, G.; Chabal, Y.J.; Li, J. “A Highly Efficient Luminescent Metal-Organic Framework for the Simultaneous Detection and Removal of Heavy Metals from Water”, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2016, 8, 30294-30303. [Link] (Reported by Berkeley Lab News Center, Nov. 29, 2016 and highlighted by DOE Office of Science, also featured by a number of media including phys.org). [Link] [Link]

  • Lustig, W.P.; Mukherjee, S.; Rudd, N.D.; Desai, A.V.; Li, J.; Ghosh, S.K. “Metal-organic Frameworks: Functional Luminescent and Photonic Materials for Sensing Applications”, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2017, 46, 3242-3285. [Link]  Inside Back Cover. [Link]

  • Wang, H.; Lustig, W.P.; Li, J. “Sensing and Capture of Toxic and Hazardous Gases and Vapors by Metal-Organic Frameworks”, Chem. Soc. Rev. 2018, 47, 4729-4756. [Link

  • Li, H.Y.; Zhao, S.N.; Zang, S.Q.; Li, J. “Functional Metal-Organic Frameworks as Effective Sensors of Gases and Volatile Compounds”, Soc. Rev., 2020, 49, 6364-6401, DOI: 10.1039/c9cs00778d.

Rare-earth-element (REE) free phosphors for energy-efficient lighting

  • 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]

  • Lustig, W.P.; Li, J. “Luminescent Metal-Organic Frameworks and Coordination Polymers as Alternative Phosphors for Energy Efficient Lighting Devices”, Coord. Chem. Rev. 2018, 373, 116-147. [Link

  • Liu, X.Y.; Xing, K.; Li, Y.; Tsung, C.K.; Li, J. “Three Models to Encapsulate Multi-component Dyes into Nanocrystal Pores: A New Strategy for Generating High Quality White Light”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2019, 141, 14807-14813. [Link] (Selected as Outside Back Cover). [Link]

  • Lustig, W.P.; Teat, S.J.; Li, J. “Improving LMOF Luminescence Quantum Yield through Guest-Mediated Rigidification”, Mater. Chem. C., 2019, 7, 14739-14744. [Link]

  • Liu, X.Y.; Li, Y.; Tsung, C.K.; Li, J. “Encapsulation of Yellow Phosphors into Nanocrystalline Metal-Organic Frameworks for Blue-Excitable White Light Emission”, Chem. Comm., 2019, 55, 10669-10672. [Link] (Selected as Inside Front Cover). [Link]

  • Lustig, W.P.; Shen, Z.Q.; Teat, S.J.; Javed, N.; Velasco, E.; O’Carroll, D.M.; Li, J. “Rational Design of a High-Efficiency, Multivariate Metal-Organic Framework Phosphor for White LEDs”, Chem. Sci., 2020, 11, 1814-1824. [Link]

  • Liu, X.Y.; Lustig, W.P; Li, J. “Functionalizing Luminescent Metal-Organic Frameworks for Enhanced Photoluminescence”, ACS Energy Letters, 2020, 5, 2671-2680 (Perspective), DOI: 10.1021/acsenergylett.0c01148, Front Cover.


I-VII based crystalline 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]

  • Fang, Y.; Liu, W.; Teat, S.J.; Day, G.; Shen, Z.Q.; An, L.T.; Yu, D.C.; Wang, L.; O’Carroll, D.M.; Li, J. “A Systematic Approach to Achieving High Performance Hybrid Lighting Phosphors with Excellent Thermal- and Photostability”, Func. Mater., 2017, 27, 1603444. [Link]

  • Liu, W.; Zhu, K.; Teat, S.J.; Dey, G.; Shen, Z.Q.; Wang, L.; O’Carroll, D.M.; Li, J. “All-in-one: Achieving Robust, Strongly Luminescent and Highly Dispersible Hybrid Materials by Combining Ionic and Coordinate Bonds in Molecular Crystals”, Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139, 9281-9290, DOI:10.1021/jacs.7b04550. [Link] (Featured at ALS Science Brief, August 1, 2017, and reported in September ALS News, August 31, 2017. [Link]

  • Liu, W.; Zhu, K.; Teat, S.J.; Deibert, B.J.; Yuan, W.B.; Li, J. “A Mechanochemical Route toward the Rational, Systematic, and Cost-effective Green Synthesis of Strongly Luminescent Copper Iodide Based Hybrid Phosphors”, Mater. Chem. C., 2017, 5, 5962-5969. [Link]

  • Liu, W.; Fang, Y.; Li, J. “Copper Iodide Based Hybrid Phosphors for Energy-Efficient General Lighting Technologies”, Adv. Func. Mater. 2018, 28, 1705593 (Feature). [link]

  • Fang, Y.; Sojdak, C.A.; Dey, G.; Teat, S.J.; Li, M.X.; Cotlet, M.; Zhu, K.; Liu, W.; Wang, L.; O’Carroll, D.; Li, J. “Highly Efficient and Stable Blue-Excitable Yellow Phosphors Built on Multiple-Stranded One-Dimensional Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Chains”, Chem. Sci., 2019, 10, 5363-5372, DOI: 10.1039/C9SC00970A. [Link]

  • Liu, W.; Banerjee, D.; Li, J. “Strongly Luminescent Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Semiconductors with Tunable White Light Emissions by Doping”, J. Mater. Chem. C., 2019, 7, 1484-1490. [Link] (Selected as Front Cover [Link]. Selected as 2019 Journal of Materials Chemistry C HOT Paper). [Link]

  • Hei, X.Z.; Liu, W.; Zhu, K.; Teat, S.J.; Jensen, S.; Li, M.X.; O’Carroll, D.M.; Wei, K.; Tan, K.; Cotlet, M.; Thonhauser, T.; Li, J. “Blending Ionic and Coordinate Bonds in Hybrid Semiconductor Materials: A General Approach toward Robust and Solution-Processable Covant/Coordinate Network Structures”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2020, 142, 4242-4253. [Link] (Featured in ACS Spotlights on Recent JACS Publications). [Link] (Selected as Inside Front Cover). [Link]

II-VI based crystalline 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]

  • Ki, W.; Li, J.; Eda, G.; Chhuwalla, M. “Direct White Light Emission from Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Semiconductor Bulk Materials”, Mater. Chem., 2010, 20, 10676-10679. [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]

  • Li, J.; Zhang, R.B. “A New Class of Nanostructured Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Semiconductors Based on II-VI Binary Compounds”, in Progress in Inorganic Chemistry, Vol. 57, p.445-504, Ed. K.D. Karlin, Wiley, 2012. [Link]

  • Li, J.; Zhang, R.B. “Nanostructured Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Semiconductor Materials”, in Comprehensive Inorganic Chemistry II, Editors-in-Chief: Jan Reedijk and Kenneth Poeppelmeier, Elsevier, 2013, Chap 2.14, 375-415, ISBN: 978-0-08-096529-1 [Link]

III-VI and VI-VI based crystalline 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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