Prof. Li Can, a physical chemist from the CAS Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in UK, the largest organization in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences.
This honor is bestowed on members of the society who have demonstrated "substantial career progression and who can offer evidence of seniority and maturity of experience in any field which involves of promotes the advancement or wider application of chemical science."
Prof. Li Can graduated from Zhangye Normal Institute, Shaanxi Normal University in 1983, majoring in chemistry. In 1989, he obtained his doctoral degree from a graduate program joint run by DICP and Tokyo Institute of Technology. Now he serves as the director of the State Key Laboratory of Catalysis, the vice president of the International Association of Catalysis Societies, and the editorial board member of four international journals including the and Applied Catalysis A.
Prof. Li's research interests include catalytic materials, catalytic reactions and the in-situ characterization of the catalysis by molecular spectroscopies. In his earlier work, he characterized the dioxygen intermediates formed on cerium oxide and some other rare earth oxide catalysts using infrared spectroscopy and isotope exchange technique. He also studied the methane adsorption and activation on various catalysts by infrared spectroscopy and a specially designed reactor in which catalysts can be directly characterized at high pressure and wide temperature range. It was observed that the Td symmetric structure of methane is distorted to C3v or Cs when it interacts with active sites of catalysts. It was proposed that the symmetric distortion is an important step for methane activation on catalysts surfaces. He developed the application of ultra-violet (UV) Raman spectroscopy in catalysis and the fluorescence interference to Raman spectra can be successfully avoided in the UV spectra. Taking the advantage of the UV resonance Raman spectroscopy, highly isolated transition metal sites and their coordination in microporous and mesoporous materials were well identified and characterized. UV Raman spectroscopy has been applied to the studies of highly dispersed metal oxides on supports, the phase transformation of catalytic materials and the deactivation mechanism of catalyst caused by coke deposition. Prof. Li immobilized the homogeneous chiral catalysts including Sharpless and Mn (salen) into mesoporous materials and found that the confinement effect of the pores and surfaces can significantly improve the enantioselectivity. The heterogeneous chiral catalysts show even higher enantioselectivity than their corresponding homogeneous catalysts.
By 2003, Prof. Li has published more than 200 scientific papers including 140 published in international journals. He was invited as the guest editors for several journals and one of the volumes in the Elsevier Science series. He has received a prize from the CAS Awards for Natural Sciences in 1993, a prize from the CAS Awards for Inventions in 1998, a prize from the National Awards for Inventions in 1999. He also received an International Catalysis Award from the International Association of Catalysis Societies in 2004. He was elected a CAS member in 2003.