• Physical Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
I’m currently seeking undergraduate research students! Please contact me at houf@wou.edu if you are interested.

Research in my group is in the areas of materials and physical chemistry, with a special focus on inorganic-organic hybrid materials, such as metal-organic framework materials (MOFs). Hybrid materials are highly versatile; they can be constructed into a large variety of structures using different metal ions and organic compounds, and they demonstrate a variety of applications such as gas storage and separation, catalysis, and energy storage. Our currently ongoing research mainly focuses on the environmental impacts of hybrid materials, including: rational design of green syntheses of hybrid materials, and the photocatalytic activities of hybrid materials.

Most of the traditional synthetic methods of hybrid materials require a large amount of energy consumption and/or use of toxic starting materials or solvents. In my group, we design green synthetic methods for hybrid materials that can be performed under ambient conditions and use little to no organic solvents. Furthermore, we study the thermodynamics and kinetics of those synthetic procedures of hybrid materials to fundamentally understand the chemical reactions and phase transitions that occur during those syntheses, which will facilitate rational design and improvements of synthetic procedures of different hybrid materials to make them more efficient, economically viable, and environmentally friendly.

Hybrid materials have been found to show catalytic activities for many reactions. Another aspect of our research is to study the photocatalytic properties of hybrid materials for the degradation of organic pollutants, for which we synthesize different hybrid materials, measure their photocatalytic activities for the degradation of organic dyes, and explain the relationships between their chemical compositions, structures, and catalytic activities.