Department of Chemistry

Lai-Sheng Wang

Jesse H. and Louisa D. Sharpe Metcalf Professor of Chemistry, Chair, Department of Chemistry
GeoChem 249B
Research Interests Experimental physical chemistry, Nanoclusters and nanomaterials, Photoelectron spectroscopy and photoelectron imaging, Electrospray ionization and cryogenic ion traps, Boron clusters and transition metal clusters, Multiply-charged anions and dipole-bound states


Research Statement 

Chemistry is the science of matter and its transformation. In our laboratory, we create new forms of matter, called nanoclusters, and study their structures and properties one atom at a time. Clusters are aggregates of atoms that can be formed from any metal or nonmetal elements in either pure or mixed forms. We produce clusters of varying size and composition and study their size-dependent structural and electronic properties using photoelectron spectroscopy and high-resolution photoelectron imaging, as well as computational chemistry. Properties of clusters depend on their size and shape, forming the foundation of nanoscience. Nanoclusters can be used as well-defined molecular models to answer mechanistic questions in catalysis. Highly stable clusters, such as the fullerenes (carbon clusters), can form building blocks for cluster-assembled nanomaterials. Clusters also provide an important medium to discover new molecules with interesting structures and chemical bonds. Current research in the Wang Lab includes boron and doped boron clusters, gold and transitional metal clusters, and clusters of actinide-containing species. We are also exploring experimental methods to synthesize cluster-based and cluster-inspired nanostructures and nanomaterials.

Another major research interest in the Wang Lab concerns probing solution chemistry in the gas phase. Anions from solutions are transported into a high vacuum environment using electrospray ionization and cryogenically cooled in an ion trap before being probed by photodetachment spectroscopy and high-resolution photoelectron imaging. We are especially interested in multiply-charged anions, solvated anions, and anions which possess diffused electronic excited states, i.e., dipole-, quadrupole- and polarization-bound states. We are also interested in inorganic metal complexes, redox species, biologically-relevant molecules, and the solvation and solvent stabilization of complex anions.


  •  “High-Resolution Photoelectron Imaging and Resonant Photoelectron Spectroscopy via Noncovalent-Bound Excited States of Cryogenically-Cooled Anions” (G. Z. Zhu and L. S. Wang), Chem. Sci. , in press (Invited Perspective article) DOI: 10.1039/C9SC03861B
  •  “Double- and Multi-Slit Interference in Photodetachment from Nanometer Organic Molecular Anions” (Y. Liu, C. G. Ning, and L. S. Wang), J. Chem. Phys150, 244302 (7 pages) (2019).
  •   “Resonant Two-Photon Photoelectron Imaging and Intersystem Crossing from Excited Dipole-Bound States of Cold Anions” (G. Z. Zhu, L. F. Cheung, Y. Liu, C. H. Qian, and L. S. Wang), J. Phys. Chem. Lett10, 4339-4344 (2019). DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.9b01743
  •  “La3B14: An Inverse Triple-Decker Lanthanide -Boron Cluster” (T. T. Chen, W. L. Li, W. J. Chen, J. Li, and L. S. Wang), Chem. Commun55, 7864-7867 (2019). 10.1039/C9CC03807H.
  •   “Re©B8 and Re©B9: New Members of the Transition-Metal-Centered Borometallic Molecular Wheel Family” (T. T. Chen, W. L. Li, H. Bai, W. J. Chen, X. R. Dong, J. Li, and L. S. Wang), J. Phys. Chem. A 123, 5317-5324 (2019).  DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpca.9b03942.
  •  “Probing the Structures and Bonding of Size-Selected Boron and Doped-Boron Clusters” (T. Jian, X. N. Chen, S. D. Li, A. I. Boldyrev, J. Li, and L. S. Wang), Chem. Soc. Rev48, 3550-3591 (2019). DOI: 10.1039/c9cs00233b.
  •  “High-Resolution Photoelectron Imaging of IrB3-: Observation of a π-Aromatic B3+ Ring Coordinated to a Transition Metal” (J. Czekner, L. F. Cheng, G. S. Kocheril, M. Kulichenko, A. I. Boldyrev, and L. S. Wang), Angew. Chem. Int. Ed58, 8877-8881 (2019). DOI: 10.1002/anie.201902406

  • “Tautomer-Specific Resonant Photoelectron Imaging of Deprotonated Cytosine Anions” (G. Z. Zhu, C. H. Qian, and L. S. Wang), Angew. Chem. Int. Ed58, 7856-7860 (2019) DOI: 10.1002/anie.201903444.

  •  “B31- and B32-: Chiral Quasi-Planar Boron Clusters” (Q. Chen, T. T. Chen, H. R. Li, X. Y. Zhao, W. J. Chen, H. J. Zhai, S. D. Li, and L. S. Wang), Nanoscale 11, 9698-9704 (2019). DOI: 10.1039/C9NR01524H
  •  “Probing the Electronic Structure of the CoB16 Drum Complex: Unusual Oxidation State of Co (–I)” (W. L. Li, T. T. Chen, Z. Y. Jiang, W. J. Chen, H. S. Hu, L. S. Wang, and J. Li). Chinese J. Chem. Phys31, 241-247 (2019).
  • “Au60: The Smallest Gold Cluster with the High-Symmetry Icosahedral Core Au13” (S. Pande, X. G. Gong, L. S. Wang, and X. C. Zeng), J. Phys. Chem. Lett10, 1820-1827 (2019).
  •  “[La(ηx-Bx)La] (x  = 7−9): A New Class of Inverse-Sandwich Complexes” (T. T. Chen, W. L. Li, J. Li, and L. S. Wang), Chem. Sci10, 2534-2542 (2019). DOI: 10.1039/c8sc05443f.
  •  “Facile Synthesis of Unsolvated Alkali Octohydrotriborate Salts MB3H8 (M = K, Rb, and Cs), Mechanisms of Formation, and the Crystal Structure of KB3H8” (X. M. Chen, N. N. Ma, X. R. Liu, C. G. Wei, C. C. Cui, B. L. Cao, Y. H. Guo, L. S. Wang, Q. F. Gu, and X. N. Chen), Angew. Chem. Int. Ed58, 2720-2724 (2019). DOI: 10.1002/anie.201812795.
  • “High Resolution Photoelectron Imaging of Boron-Bismuth Binary Clusters: Bi2Bn (n = 2–4)” (L. F. Cheung, J. Czekner, G. S. Kocheril, and L. S. Wang), J. Chem. Phys150, 064304 (2019). DOI: 10.1063/1.5084170.
  • “Probing the Coupling of A Dipole-Bound Electron with the Molecular Core” (J. Czekner, L. F. Cheung, G. S. Kocheril, and L. S. Wang), Chem. Sci10, 1386-1391 (2019). DOI: 10.1039/c8sc04771e.
  • “Lanthanide with Unusually Low Oxidation States in the PrB3 and PrB4 Boride Clusters” (X. Chen, T. T. Chen, W. L. Li, J. B. Lu, L. J. Zhao, T. Jian, H. S. Hu, L. S. Wang, and J. Li), Inorg. Chem58, 411-418 (2019). DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.8b02572.
  •  “2D B38 and B37 Clusters with A Double-Hexagonal Vacancy: Molecular Motifs for Borophenes” (Q. Chen, W. J. Tian, Lin-Yan Feng, H. G. Lu, Yue-Wen Mu, H. J. Zhai, S. D. Li, and L. S. Wang), Nanoscale 9, 4550-4557 (2017).  DOI: 10.1039/C7NR00641A
  • “Conformation-Selective Resonant Photoelectron Imaging from Dipole-Bound States of Cold 3-Hydroxyphenoxide” (G. Z. Zhu, D. H. Huang, and L. S. Wang), J. Chem. Phys.147, 013910 (11 pages) (2017).
  •  “Probing the Structures of Neutral B11 and B12 Using High Resolution Photoelectron Imaging of B11 and B12” (J. Czekner, L. F. Cheung, and L. S. Wang), J. Phys. Chem. C121, 10752-10759 (2017).
  • “PrB7: A Praseodymium-Doped Boron Cluster with a Pr(II) Center Coordinated by a Doubly Aromatic Planar h7-B73− Ligand” (T. T. Chen, Wan-Lu Li, T. Jian, X. Chen, J. Li, and L. S. Wang), Angew. Chem. Int. Ed56, 6916-6920 (2017).
  • “Observation of Excited Quadrupole-Bound States in Cold Anions” (G. Z. Zhu, Y. Liu, and L. S. Wang), Phys. Rev. Lett119, 023002 (2017). 
  • “Bismuth-Boron Multiple Bonding in BiB2O and Bi2B” (T. Jian, L. F. Cheung, T. T. Chen, and L. S. Wang), Angew. Chem. Int. Ed56, 9551-9555 (2017).  Angew. Chem. 129, 9679-9683 (2017). 
  •  “From Planar Boron Clusters to Borophenes and Metalloborophenes” (W. L. Li, X. Chen, T. Jian, T. T. Chen, J. Li, and L. S. Wang), Nat. Rev. Chem1, 0071 (9 pages) (2017).
  •  “Nb2©Au6: A Molecular Wheel with a Short NbNb Triple Bond Coordinated by an Au6Ring and Reinforced by s Aromaticity” (T. Jian, L. F. Cheung, J. Czekner, T. T. Chen, G. V. Lopez, W. L. Li, and L. S. Wang ), Chem. Sci8, 7528-7536. DOI: 10.1039/c7sc02881d.
  •  “High-Resolution Photoelectron Imaging of Cryogenically-Cooled C59N and (C59N)22– Azafullerene Anions” (G. Z. Zhu, Y. Hashikawa, Y. Liu, Q. F. Zhang, L. F. Cheung, Y. Murata, and L. S. Wang), J. Phys. Chem. Lett8, 6220-6225 (2017).


  • Earle K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy Dynamics, American Physical Society (2014) 
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2007) 
  • Humboldt Senior Research Award (2006) 
  • John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2005) 
  • Fellow, American Physical Society (2003) 
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (1997)