Our current research focuses on molecular design, synthesis and characterization of novel advanced materials, and synthesis and self-assembly of well-defined molecular structures on a nanometer length scale. Such materials include nature inspired light-harvesting materials, fast switching optoelectronic response materials, light-driven chiral molecular switches or motors, 1D and 3D photonic crystals, water-soluble and organo-soluble functionalized isotropic and anisotropic hybrid gold nanoparticles, muti-functional metal nanocomposites, functional organogels, shape-persistent molecules, liquid crystal monomers and their networks, functional carbon nanotubes and graphenes, elastomers, functional supramolecular polymers,and biologically active synthetic and natural compounds, all of which offer tremendous new possibility in applications such as renewable solar energy, photodisplay, dynamic photonics, intelligent energy saving devices, AFM molecular tips, sensors, drug delivery, and medical applications as well as fundamental science. Presently, Ph.D. graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are actively involved in Li's research.

  • Light-Driven Chiral Molecular Switches or Motors
  • Self-Organized 1D and 3D Photonic Crystals
  • Isotropic and Anisotropic Gold Nanoparticles and Their Nanocomposites
  • Supramolecular Polymers Formed by Reversible Non-Covalent Interactions
  • Electrically Fast Responsive Liquid Crystals
  • Nature Inspired Discotic Liquid Crystals for Self-Organizing Photovoltaics
  • Self-Organized Liquid Crystals for Energy-Saving Devices
  • Novel Near-to-Mid IR Sensors
  • 3D Carbon Nanostructures