Zhihai Li

Zhihai Li

Assistant Professor of Chemistry


Room:CP 409N

Research Assistant Professor, Temple University (2014)
Postdoctoral Associate, Arizona State University (2010)
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Bern, Switzerland (2009)
RWTH Aachen University, Ph.D. (2007)

Research interests

Li Research Group

Nano-materials and devices (photovoltaic or solar cells), electrochemistry, electrochemical scanning probe microscopy (STM) and its applications in energy conversion, atomic force microscopy (AFM) lithography, molecular assembly and single-molecule electrical properties.

Preparation of semiconductor nanomaterials and applications in photovoltaic cells

Semiconductors have demonstrated great capacity for application in several fields, such as energy storage devices, solar light conversion, water-splitting and so on. The semiconductor to be utilized in these applications must hold appropriate physio-chemical properties including suitable band gap, proper mechanical and electrochemical resistance, and relatively stable excitation state among others. Promoting the desired properties could be achieved by structural doping of the materials with certain elements, substitution of rare and costly elements with less expensive ones, application of novel methods for limiting particle distribution and via fabrication of composite using carbon allotropes such as graphene. In this project, a variety of semiconductor nanomaterials will be prepared and these materials will be applied to photovoltaic cells for charge transport study.

synthesized NiWO4 photovoltaic cells 

AFM images of synthesized NiWO4 nano materials on mica surface.

Lab-prepared photovoltaic cells for energy-conversion study

EC-STM study of electro-catalytic oxidation of CO on noble metal electrodes in fuel cells

Direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) have many advantages over traditional batteries, such as portability and they are a clean (environment-friendly) energy resource, and are regarded as a possible future energy device. However, in the fuel cell reaction process, the reaction intermediate, carbon monoxide (CO), strongly binds to the catalyst surface (Pt) and blocks the active sites, so-called poisoning of the anodic catalyst. This poisoning of the catalyst by CO limits the performance of DMFC and challenges the development of platinum catalyst. We aim to explore the mechanism at the molecular or atomic level using electrochemistry and EC-STM techniques. The study may provide valuable information and experimental guidance to develop high-performance anode catalysts and facilitate the application of DMFC.

Selected Publications

  1. Hosseini, S.; Madden, C.; Hihath, J.; Guo, S.; Zang, L.; Li, Z. Single-Molecule Charge Transport and Electrochemical Gating in Redox-Active Perylene Diimide Junctions. J. Phys. Chem. C 2016, 120, 22646-22654.
  2. Afsari, S.; Li, Z.; Borguet, E. Amine Directed Hydrogen Bonded Two-Dimensional Supramolecular Structures. ChemPhysChem. 2016, 17, 3385-3389.
  3. Li, Z.; Smeu, M., Arnaud Rives, Maraval, V.; Chauvin, R.; Ratner, M. A.; Borguet, E. Towards graphyne molecular electronics. Nat. Commun. 2015, 6:6321, doi:10.1038/ncomms7321
  4. Li, Z.; Smeu, M.; Park, T-H, Rawson, J.; Xing, Y.; Therien, M.; Ratner, M. A.; Borguet, E. Hapticity-Dependent Charge Transport through Carbodithioate-Terminated [5, 15- Bis (phenylethynyl) porphinato] zinc (II) Complexes in Metal-Molecule-Metal. Nano Lett. 2014, 14, 5493-5499.
  5. Afsari, S.; Li, Z.; Borguet, E. Orientation-Controlled Single Molecule Junctions. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 9771-9774.
  6. Li, Z.; Li, H; Chen, S.; Froehlich, T.; Schoenenberger, C.; Calame, M.; Decurtins, S.; Liu, S. X.; Borguet, E. Regulating a Benzodifuran Single Molecule Redox Switch via Electrochemical Gating and Optimization of Molecule/Electrode coupling. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 8867-8870.
  7. Li, Z.; Smeu, M.; Afsari, S.; Xing, Y.; Ratner, M. A.; Borguet, E. Single Molecule Sensing of Environmental pH – An STM Break Junction and NEGF-DFT Approach. Angew. Chem., Int. Edit. 2014, 53, 1098-1102.
  8. Li, Z.; Smeu, M.; Ratner, M. A.; Borguet, E. Effect of Anchoring Groups on Single Molecule Charge Transport through Porphyrins. J. Phys. Chem. C 2013, 117, 14890-14898.
  9. Li, Z.; Borguet, E. Determining Charge Transfer Pathways through Single Porphyrin Molecules Using STM Break Junctions. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 63-66.
  10. Li, Z.; Park, T-H.; Rawson, J.; Therien, M. J.; Borguet, E. Quasi-Ohmic Single Molecule Charge Transport through Highly Conjugated meso-to-meso Ethyne-Bridged Porphyrin Wires. Nano Lett. 2012, 12, 2722-2727.
  11. Diez-Perez, I, Li, Z.; Guo, S.; Madden, C.; Huang, H.; Che, Y.; Yang, X.; Zang, L.; Tao, N.J. Ambipolar Transport in an Electrochemically Gated Single-Molecule Field-Effect Transistor. ACS Nano 2012, 6, 7044-7052.
  12. Diez-Perez, I.; Li, Z.; Li, J.; Zhang, C.; Yang, X.; Zang, L.; Dai, Y.; Feng, X.; Muellen, K.; Tao, N.J. Gate-controlled Electron Transport in Coronenes As A Bottom-up Approach Towards Graphene Transistors. Nat. Commun. 2010, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1029.
  13. Li, Z.; Liu, Y.; Mertens, S.; Pobelov, I.; Wandlowski, Th. From Redox Gating to Quantized Charging. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 8187-8193.
  14. Liu, B.; Ran, Y.; Li, Z.; Liu, S.-X.; Jia, C.; Decurtins, S.; Wandlowsk, Th. A Scanning Probe Microscopy Study of Annulated Redox-Active Molecules at a Liquid/Solid Interface: The Overruling of the Alkyl Chain Paradigm. Chem .- Eur. J. 2010, 16, 5008-5012.
  15. Li, Z.; Wandlowski, Th. Structure Formation and Annealing of Isophthalic Acid at the Electrochemical Au(111)/Electrolyte Interface. J. Phys. Chem. C 2009, 113, 7821-7825.
  16. Pobelov, I.; Li, Z.; Wandlowski, Th. Electrolyte Gating in Redox-active Tunneling Junctions - An Electrochemical STM Approach. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 16045-16054.
  17. Han, B.; Li, Z.; Li, C.; Pobelov, I.; Su, G. J.; Aguilar-Sanchez, R.; Wandlowski, Th. From Self-Assembly to Charge Transport with Single Molecules - An Electrochemical Approach. Top. Curr. Chem. 2009, 287, 181-255.
  18. Li, Z.; Pobelov, I.; Han, B.; Wandlowski, Th.; Błaszczyk, A.; Mayor, M. Conductance of Redox-active Single Molecular Junctions: An Electrochemical Approach. Nanotechnology 2007, 18, 044018(1-8).
  19. Su, G. J.; Aguilar-Sanchez, R.; Li, Z.; Pobelov, I.; Homberger, M.; Simon, U.; Wandlowski, Th. Scanning Tunneling Microscopy / Spectroscopy Studies of ω–(4’-methyl-biphenyl-4-yl) alkanethiols on Au(111). ChemPhysChem 2007, 8 (7), 1037-1048.
  20. Han, B.; Li, Z.; Wandlowski, Th. Błaszczyk, A.; Mayor, M. Potential-induced Redox Switching in Viologen Self-assembled Monolayers: An ATR-SEIRAS Approach. J. Phys. Chem. C 2007, 111(37), 13855-13863.
  21. Li, Z.; Han, B.; Mészáros, G.; Wandlowski, Th.; Błaszczyk, A.; Mayor, M. Two-dimensional Assembly and Local Redox-activity of Molecular Hybrid Structures in an Electrochemical Environment. Faraday Discuss. 2006, 131, 121-143.
  22. Li, Z.; Han, B.; Wan, L. J.; Wandlowski, Th. Supramolecular Nanostructures of 1,3,5-Benzene-tricarboxylic Acid at Electrified Au(111)/0.05 M H2SO4 Interfaces: An in situ Scanning Tunneling Microscopy Study. Langmuir 2005, 21 (15), 6915-6928.

Course Schedule
Course No. Section Times Days Location
General Chemistry 1 111 31 0800 - 1030 R CP, room 344
General Chemistry 1 111 31 1031 - 1050 R CP, room 343
General Chemistry 1 111 31 1200 - 1250 M W F CP, room 187
General Chemistry 1 111 33 0800 - 1030 R CP, room 344
General Chemistry 1 111 33 1031 - 1050 R CP, room 348
General Chemistry 1 111 33 1200 - 1250 M W F CP, room 187
General Chemistry 1 111 34 1100 - 1330 R CP, room 344
General Chemistry 1 111 34 1331 - 1350 R CP, room 348
General Chemistry 1 111 34 1200 - 1250 M W F CP, room 187
Doctoral Dissertatio 799 409 0000 - 0000