Research Overview


The research in the Liu Lab focus on the field of catalysis, with specific interests in organic synthesis and energy conversion. We will develop interdisciplinary approaches to address unsolved problems in organic synthesis and sustainable chemistry. 


Metal-Catalyzed Fluoroalkylation

The incorporation of synthesis of fluorine and fluorine containing groups at Csp3 positions is highly useful of the development of modern drugs and agrochemicals. As many as 35 %of agrochemicalsand 20 %of pharmaceuticals on the market contain at least one fluorine atom. Our group has pioneered the direct Csp3-H trifluoromethylation via a radical intermediate. This will allow medicinalchemists to efficiently generate the trifluoromethylated analogs of the drug leads andoffer rapid evaluation of structure activity relationship

Electro-organic Chemistry

The use of electrochemistry in organic chemistry has provided new avenues for synthetic transformation outside the ability of the traditional methods. Compared to traditional synthetic methods, electrochemical methods generally have higher overall energy efficiency. Electrochemistry offers the ability for milder conditions as well as the generation of less toxic waste. Our group is interested in developing novel catalysts and methods for electro-organic synthesis.

Catalysis for Renewable Energy

Electrocatalytic conversion of earth-abundant materials into value-added chemicals has emerged as a promising solution for incremental energy demand. Our group is applying the fundamental concept in homogenous catalysts to heterogenous catalysis, which allow the development of hybrid catalysts for electrochemical energy catalysis.