Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology


Hyunjoo Lee (이현주)


Tel : +82-42-350-3922
Fax : +82-42-350-3910
E-mail :
Homepage :
- 2000. 9 - 2005. 5 Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, Minor in Chemistry California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA
- 1998. 3 - 2000. 2 M.S. in Environmental Chemical Engineering Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
- 1994. 3 - 1998. 2 B.S. in Chemical Engineering Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea

Employment and Professional Experience
- 2014.3 - Present, Associate Professor, Dept of Chem & Biomol Eng, KAIST
- 2007.9 - 2014.2 Assistant, Associate Professor, Dept of Chem & Biomol Eng, Yonsei University
- 2005.7 - 2007.7 Post-Doctoral Fellow, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley

Awards and Honors
- Excellent Researcher Award: awarded to excellent researchers of Yonsei University (2013)
- Distinguished Lectureship Award: awarded to distinguished yong asian researchers by the Chemical Society of Japan (2010) (for the work on nanocrystals and their applications)
- Excellent Lecturer Award: awarded to excellent lectures of Yonsei Univeristy (2008)

Research interests
- Shape and composition-controlled nanocrystals: platinum-based metals (various shapes of Pt nanocrystals, Pt@Pd, Au@Pt, Pt@Co, etc) and metal oxides (zeolites, CeO2, MnO2, etc).
- Catalyst development for sustainable energy generation: fuel cell catalyst, biomass conversion, photo-catalyst

Selected Publications
1. J. W. Han, C. Kim, J. S. Park, H. Lee*, "Highly Coke-Resistant Ni Nanoparticle Catalysts with Minimized Sintering for Dry Reforming of Methane", ChemSusChem, 7(2), 451-456 (2014)
2. S. K. Kim, C. Kim, J. H. Lee, J. Kim, H. Lee*, S. H. Moon*, "Performance of Shape-Controlled Pd Nanoparticles in the Selective Hydrogenation of Acetylene", J. Catal., 306, 146-154 (2013)
3. S. Yang, H. Lee*, "Atomically Dispersed Platinum on Gold Nano-octahedra with High Catalytic Activity for Formic Acid Oxidation", ACS Catalysis 3, 437-443 (2013)
4. C. Kim, S. S. Kim, S. Yang, J. W. Han, H. Lee*, "In-situ Shaping of Pt Nanoparticles Directly Overgrown on Carbon Supports", - Chem. Commun. 48, 6396-6398 (2012)
5. J. Oh, S. Dash, H. Lee*, "Selective Conversion of Glycerol to 1,3-Propanediol Using Pt-Sulfated Zirconia", Green Chemistry, 13(8), 2004-2007 (2011)

Nano Catalytic Materials Laboratory
Nanocatalyst design, Pt minimization, Plasmonic catalyst, Methane and CO2 conversion, Biomass conversion

My main research interests have focused on investigating novel concepts of catalytic materials for applications in renewable and environmentally friendly energy fields. First, we would like to understand the heterogeneous catalysts fundamentally by using shape or composition-controlled nanoparticles as model systems. The catalysts with different shapes have distinct surface property enabling modulation in catalytic activity and selectivity. For example, we found that Pt nanodendrites with stronger comprehensive strain between surface Pt atoms have enhanced mass activity for oxygen reduction reaction. Pt nanoparticles with (100) or (111) facets showed different selectivity for various hydrogenations. Pd nanoparticles with (100) facets showed enhanced selectivity to ethylene for acetylene hydrogenation due to weaker adsorption of reactants. Additionally, when Pt nanocubes were decorated with Pd, or when Pt atoms are atomically dispersed on Au nanooctahedra, they showed minimized coking and exceptionally high activity for formic acid oxidation. These nanostructured catalysts would be helped by single crystalline surface or density functional theory (DFT) studies to enhance the fundamental understanding of surface reactions. Second, we have been trying to use these nanostructured catalysts for the applications in fuel cells, biomass conversion, methane conversion, etc. Considering a high price of precious metal catalysts, we are currently actively developing low cost alternative catalysts mainly using Ni or Cu materials. Highly carbon-tolerant Ni catalysts have been developed for dry reforming of methane. Acid catalysts based on carbon or solid superacid materials have been also developed to convert cellulose to sorbitol or glycerol to 1,3-propanediol. Our research about the design and applications of nanostructured catalysts would contribute to reset the chemical industry into more sustainable direction.


§  Fundamental understanding of heterogeneous catalysts for surface reactions

- Design various shapes and compositions for metal and metal oxide materials

- Investigate the interaction between catalytically active phase and support materials to maximize activity and durability

Example 1: Pt cubes were directly overgrown on carbon support by initiating nucleation on the carbon and controlling overgrowth step by using anchoring agents. These Pt cubes showed enhanced activity for oxygen reduction reaction in sulfuric acid media due to (100) facets (paper #43)


§  Catalyst development for sustainable energy generation

- Pt minimization (mainly for fuel cell reactions)  

- Biomass conversion (producing valuable chemicals from biomass-derived sources)  

- Methane conversion (focusing on durability issues)  

- Photo-catalysts (developing novel concepts of plasmonic catalysts)

Example 2: Atomically dispersed Pt on shaped Au nanocrystals presented two orders of magnitude higher activity for formic acid oxidation (paper #52)