Gyu Leem | Chemistry | SUNY-ESF
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Gyu LeemAssistant Professor

Gyu Leem

Jahn Lab
1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, NY 13210

315-470-4920 | 315-470-6853


id pictureGyu Leem, Ph. D.

Assistant Professor, Polymer and Environmental Chemistry
Office: 217 Jahn Laboratory
Phone: (315) 470-4920




Ph. D. University of Houston, 2008

B.S. Hanyang University, 2002

Professional Experience

2018 – present: Assistant Professor of Chemistry, SUNY ESF
2016 – 2018: Assistant Professor of Research, University of Texas at San Antonio
2012 – 2016: Postdoctoral Associate, University of Florida
2009 – 2012: Principal Scientist, LG Chem
2008 – 2009: Postdoctoral Fellow, Polytechnic University of Milan
2003 – 2008: Research Assistant, University of Houston


Newsletter published by the U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information
Google Scholar Citations


Polymeric Metal Assemblies for Solar Energy Conversion.

Dye-sensitized photoelectrochemical cells (DSPECs) convert energy from the sun directly to fuel. An essential component of a working DSPEC device is a light-harvesting material with relatively long excited state lifetimes, as observed for semiconducting polymer nanoparticles (PNPs). The use of hydrophilic pendant chains and hole-transporting polymers can enhance the stability of the metal chromophore assembly on metal oxide substrates and provide multiple chromophoric antennas that efficiently funnel excited state energy to metal oxide surfaces. To this end, we will pursue a reliable synthetic strategy for the design of a new class of amphiphilic light-absorbing polymer-based metal chromophore-sensitized macro-mesoporous metal oxide electrodes that will form the next generation of multipurpose energy conversion and solar fuel systems.


Ref.  J. Phys. Chem. C 2014, 118, 28535. ACS Energy Lett. 2016, 1, 339. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2017, 9, 19529. Nano Convergence 20174, 37. ACS Appl. Energy Mater. 2018, 1, 62.

Polymer-brush-coated Magnetic Hydrogels for Water Remediation.

Synthesis of photocatalytic and/or magnetic nanoparticles for purification of contaminated water has been a rapidly growing application of nanotechnology in environmental science. We design and develop a high performance heavy metal ion (HMI, e.g. Cr(VI)) removal system by taking advantage of the easy separation and highly efficient HMI adsorption properties of polymer-coated magnetic hydrogels with long-chain aliphatic amines as polymer brushes. The key feature of the proposed strategy is the design of a superior HMI removal system featuring magnetic nanoparticles in three-dimensional polymer networks and long-chain amino-terminated magnetic hydrogels.


Ref. Crystal Growth and Design 2008, 9, 32. Chemical Communications 2009, 4989-4991.

Photoinduced electron transfer initiation of free radical polymerization using visible-light.

Superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) have the capability to absorb and retain large volumes of water and aqueous solutions. The free radical polymerization reactions for SAPs are conventionally initiated by thermal decomposition and UV-induced photolysis. We study a highly efficient photoinduced free radical polymerization method for SAPs using metal complexes under mild reaction conditions with long lifetime LED sources. The overall objective of this project is to understand how a photoinduced electron transfer process in the presence of photosensitizer can influence the photoinitiation and formation of 3D-crosslinked acrylate-based SAPs using visible light.

SAP mechanism

Ref. US Patent 9,029,480, US Patent 9,517,446, US Patent 9,656,296.

Recent Publications

Wang, J.; Price, R. S.; Leem, G.; Jiang, J.; Abboud, K. A.; Schanze, K. S. Interaction of a Poly(phenylene vinylene) with an Organometallic Lewis Acid Additive. Fundamentals and Application in Polymer Solar Cells. Chem. Mater. 2018, 30, 5968-5977.

Eom, Y. K.; Nhon, L.;  Leem, G.; Sherman, B. D.; Wang, D.; Troian-Gautier, L.;  Kim, S.;  Kim, J.; Meyer, T. J.; Reynolds, J. R. ; Schanze, K. S. Visible-Light-Driven Photocatalytic Water Oxidation by a π‑Conjugated Donor−Acceptor−Donor Chromophore/Catalyst
Assembly. ACS Energy Lett., 2018, 3, 2114–2119.

Leem, G.; Black, H. T.; Shan, B.; Bantang, J. P. O.; Meyer, T. J.; Reynolds, J. R.; Schanze, K. S.  Photocathode Assembly via Layer-By-Layer Deposition of a Low Band-Gap Isoindigo Polyelectrolyte with a Proton Reduction Catalyst. ACS Appl. Energy Mater. 2018, 1, 62-67.

Leem, G.*; Sherman, B. D.; Schanze, K. S.* Polymer-Based Chromophore-Catalyst Assemblies for Solar Energy Conversion. Nano Convergence 2017, 4, 37. (Invited submission for the review paper).

Jiang, J.; Sherman, B. D.; Zhao, Y.; He, R.; Ghiviriga, I.; Alibabaei, L.; Meyer, T. J.; Leem, G.*; Schanze, K. S.* Polymer Chromophore-Catalyst Assembly for Solar Fuel Generation. ACS Appl. Mater. & Interfaces 2017, 9, 19529.

 Leem, G.; Sherman, B. D.; Burnett, A. J.; Morseth, Z. A.; Wee, K. R.; Papanikolas, J. M.; Meyer, T. J.; Schanze, K. S. Light-Driven Water Oxidation Using Polyelectrolyte Layer-by-Layer Chromophore–Catalyst Assemblies. ACS Energy Lett. 2016, 1, 339.

Leem, G.; Morseth, Z. A.; Wee, K. R.; Junlin, J.; Papanikolas, J. M.; Schanze, K. S. Polymer-based Ruthenium(II) Polypryridyl Chromophores on TiO2 for Solar Energy Conversion. Chem. Asian J. 2016, 11, 1257-1267. (Invited submission for the Energy Conversion and Storage Special Issue).

Leem, G.; Jiang, J.; Chen, Z.; Pho, T.; Hu, Z.; Keinan, S.; Puodziukynaite, E.; Kanai, Y.; Reynolds, J. R.; Papanikolas, J. M.; Schanze, K. S. Ru(bpy)32+ Derivatized Polystyrenes Constructed by Nitroxide-Mediated Living Radical Polymerization. Relationship between Polymer Chain Length, Structure and Photophysical Properties. Polym. Chem. 2015, 6. 8184.

Pan, Z.; Leem, G.; Cekli, S.; Schanze, K. S. Polymer Aggregation and Its Effect on Dye-sensitized Solar Cell Efficiency. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2015, 7, 16601.

Morseth, Z. A.; Wang, L.; Puodziukynaite, E.; Leem, G.; Gilligan, A. T.; Meyer, T. J.; Schanze, K. S.; Reynolds, J. R.; Papanikolas, J. M. Ultrafast Dynamics in Multifunctional Ru(II)-Loaded Polymers for Solar Energy Conversion. Acc. Chem. Res. 2015, 48, 818.

Leem, G.; Morseth, Z.; Puodziukynaite, E.; Papanikolas, J. M.; Reynolds, J. R.; Schanze, K. S. Light-Harvesting and Charge Separation in a p-Conjugated Antenna Polymer Bound to TiO2. J. Phys. Chem. C 2014, 118, 28535.