Gonghu Li

Assistant Professor

Physical Chemistry
Materials Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH 03824-3598 U.S.A.

Li Group Web Page

Education and Achievements

  • B.S., 1997, Hubei Normal University, China
  • M.S., 2000, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • Ph.D., 2005, University of Iowa
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, 2005-2007, Northwestern University
  • Postdoctoral Associate, 2007-2009, Yale University
  • Assistant Professor, 2009-current, University of New Hampshire

Research Interests

Functional Composite Materials for Energy and Environmental Applications

  • Surface Chemistry and Catalysis/Photocatalysis
  • Solar Energy Conversion
  • Nanoscience and Materials Chemistry
  • Chemistry and Sustainablility

Current Research Interests

An urgent challenge faced by the world is to find viable solutions to meet our energy needs while maintaining the quality of our environment. The discovery of new materials with improved properties will play a pivotal role in achieving a sustainable future. At UNH, we are interested in utilizing the principles of catalysis and nanoscience to develop functional nanocomposite materials for energy and environmental applications.

Surface molecular catalysis deals with the post-synthetic derivatization of solid materials with well-defined molecular catalysts. Such "supramolecular chemistry" represents a unique approach that brings together the robustness of solid surfaces and the molecular understanding of catalysis. Crystalline aluminosilicates such as zeolites are excellent supports for molecular catalysts. Our current research involves the synthesis of nanozeolites with particle sizes less than 100 nm, followed by surface functionalization of nanozeolites with molecular catalysts. The functionalized materials will be characterized with a variety of techniques including X -ray diffraction, microscopy (SEM and TEM), UV-visible, FT-IR, and EPR spectroscopy.

One potential application of our functional nanocomposite materials is in the field of artificial photosynthesis (Scheme 1). Solar energy remains the largest unexploited renewable energy resource. In our research, transition metal (Ru, Re, Ni, Co, etc.) complexes will be synthesized and supported on nanozeolites. The surface molecular catalysts will be applied to solar fuel production by reducing CO2 into CH4 and CH3OH as energy-rich fuels. Other applications of our functional materials include dye-sensitized solar cells and photochromism.

Scheme 1: Schematic representation of an artificial photosynthesis cell (C: light−harvesting chromophore; Ox: water−oxidation catalyst; Red: CO2−reduction catalyst).



Jin, T.; Liu, C.; Li, G. “Photocatalytic CO2 Reduction Using a Molecular Cobalt Complex Deposited on TiO2 Nanoparticles,” Chem. Commun. 2014   DOI:10.1039/C4CC00503A

Dubois, K.D.; Liu, C.; Li, G. “Involvement of Surface Adsorbed Water in Photochromism of Spiropyran Molecules Deposited on NaY Zeolite,” Chem. Phys. Lett. 2014, 598, 53-57

Durrell, A.C.; Li, G.; Koepf, M.; Negre, C.F.; Allen, L.J.; McNamara, W.R.; Song, H.; Batista, V.S.; Crabtree, R.H.; Brudvig, G.W. “Photoelectrochemical Oxidation of a Turn-On Fluorescent Probe Mediated by a Surface MnII Catalyst Covalently Attached to TiO2 Nanoparticles,” J. Catal. 2014, 310, 37-44 

Louis, M.; Li, G. “Nanostructured Photocatalysts for Solar Water Splitting,” in Nanoscience. Ed. Paul O’brien, The Royal Society of Chemistry.  2014, 2, 81-97  

Dubois, K.D.; Li, G. “Innovative Photocatalysts for Solar Fuel Generation by CO2 Reduction,” in New and Future Developments in Catalysis: Solar Photocatalysis. Ed. Steven L. Suib, Elsevier: Amsterdam.  2013, 219-241


Liu, C.; Dubois, K.D.; Louis, M.E.; Vorushilov, A.; Li, G. “Photocatalytic CO2 Reduction and Surface Immobilization of a Tricarbonyl Re(I) Complex Modified with Amide Groups,” ACS Catal. 2013, 3, 655-662


He, H.; Liu, C.; Dubois, K.D.; Jin, T.; Louis, M.E.; Li, G. “Enhanced Charge Separation in Nanostructured TiO2 Materials for Photocatalytic and Photovoltaic Applications,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2012, 51, 11841-11849


Dubois, K.D.; He, H.; Liu, C.; Vorushilov, A.; Li, G. “Covalent Attachment of a Molecular CO2-Reduction Photocatalyst to Mesoporous Silica,” J. Mol. Catal. A 2012, 363-364, 208-213


Dubois, K.D.; Petushkov, A.; Cardona, E.G.; Larsen, S.C.; Li, G. “Adsorption and Photochemical Properties of a Molecular CO2 Reduction Catalyst in Hierarchical Mesoporous ZSM-5: An In Situ FTIR Study,” J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2012, 3, 486-492


Agarwal, J.; Johnson, R.P.; Li, G. “Reduction of CO2 on a Tricarbonyl Rhenium(I) Complex: Modeling a Catalytic Cycle,” J. Phys. Chem. A 2011, 115, 2877-2881


Updated: 4/25/14