Professor Chen Li (陈利)

State key laboratory of molecular reaction dynamics, group 1102 (

Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP), Chinese Academy of Sciences

457 Zhongshan Road, Dalian, Liaoning, 116023 China


Tel: +86 411 84379956

Research Interests

Experimental studies of chemical reaction dynamics at gas/surface interfaces using infrared spectroscopy techniques, including Reflection Absorption Infrared Spectroscopy (RAIRS), Infrared Laser-Induced Fluorescence spectroscopy (IR LIF), etc


2008-2012    Ph.D. in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering,

                     École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland

2004-2008    M.S. in Physics, Peking University, Beijing, China

2000-2004    B.S. in Physics, Huazhong University of Science &Technology (HUST), Wuhan, 

Research Experience

Associate Professor  (Oct. 2018 – present)

State Key Laboratory of Molecular Reaction Dynamics, Dalian institute of chemical physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dalian, China

Research: Reaction dynamics in catalysis studied by ultrafast time-resolved infrared chemiluminescence spectroscopy using superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors (SNSPDs).

Post-doctoral Fellow and Visiting Scientist (Sep. 2012 – Sep.2018)

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany

Research (with Dirk Schwarzer & Alec M.Wodtke): Proof of principle implementation of the new SNSPD technology in surface molecular science for ultra-sensitive and nanosecond time-resolved mid-infrared laser induced fluorescence spectroscopy.

Ph.D. Research (Aug. 2008 – Sep.2012)

Chemistry Department, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland

Research (with Rainer D. Beck): Design and development of gas-surface reaction scattering ultra-high vacuum apparatus for quantum state-resolved reactivity study of  methane dissociation on Pt(111) using reflection-absorption infrared spectroscopy (RAIRS).

M.S. Research (Sep. 2004 – Jul.2008)

Institute of Modern Optics, Peking University, Beijing, China

Research (with Jiang Hongbing & Gong Qihuang): filament propagation of femtosecond laser pulse in lithium niobate crystals and the ultra-fast carrier dynamics probed with femtosecond time-resolved pump-probe absorption imaging technique.

Selected publications

  1. Jascha A. Lau, Li Chen, Arnab Choudhury, Dirk Schwarzer, Varun B. Verma, Alec M. Wodtke, “Transporting and concentrating vibrational energy to promote isomerization.” Nature 589 (7842), 2021
  2. Li Chen*, Jascha A. Lau, Dirk Schwarzer, Jörg Meyer, Varun B. Verma, Alec M. Wodtke*, "The Sommerfeld ground-wave limit for a molecule adsorbed at a surface." Science 2019, 363(6423): 158-161.
  3.  Lau, J. A., Arnab Choudhury, Li Chen, Dirk Schwarzer, Varun Verma, Alec.M. Wodtke*. "Observation of an isomerizing double-well quantum system in the condensed phase." Science 2020 367(6474): 175-178.
  4.  Li Chen*, Dirk Schwarzer, Jascha A. Lau, Varun B. Verma, Martin J. Stevens, Francesco Marsili, Richard P. Mirin, Sae Woo Nam and Alec M. Wodtke*, "Ultra-sensitive mid-infrared emission spectrometer with sub-ns temporal resolution. " Opt Express 2018, 26 (12), 14859-14868. (Spotlight)
  5. Li Chen, Dirk Schwarzer, Varun B. Verma, Martin J. Stevens, Francesco Marsili, Richard P. Mirin, Sae Woo Nam and Alec M. Wodtke*, "Mid-infrared Laser-Induced Fluorescence with Nanosecond Time Resolution Using a Superconducting Nanowire Single-Photon Detector: New Technology for Molecular Science." Accounts Chem Res 2017, 50 (6), 1400-1409.
  6.  Li Chen, H. Ueta, H. Chadwick, R. D. Beck, The Negligible Role of C–H Stretch Excitation in the Physisorption of CH4 on Pt(111). The Journal of Physical Chemistry C (2014)
  7.  H. Ueta, Li Chen, R. D. Beck, I. Colon-Diaz, B. Jackson, Quantum state-resolved CH4 dissociation on Pt(111): coverage dependent barrier heights from experiment and density functional theory. Phys Chem Chem Phys 15, 20526-20535 (2013).
  8. Li Chen, H. Ueta, R. Bisson, R. D. Beck, Quantum state-resolved gas/surface reaction dynamics probed by reflection absorption infrared spectroscopy. Rev Sci Instrum 84,  (2013)  (Editor's picks).   
  9.  N. Bartels, K. Golibrzuch, C. Bartels, Li Chen, D. J. Auerbach, A. M. Wodtke, T. Schafer, Observation of orientation-dependent electron transfer in molecule-surface collisions. P Natl Acad Sci USA 110, 17738-17743 (2013)
  10.  Li Chen, H. Ueta, R. Bisson, R. D. Beck, Vibrationally bond-selected chemisorption of methane isotopologues on Pt(111) studied by reflection absorption infrared spectroscopy.Faraday Discuss 157, 285-295 (2012).

Honors & Distinctions

2012    Post-doctoral Research Fellowship at Max Planck Institute, Göttingen, Germany

2004    Merit of Excellence for the thesis (HUST), Hubei province

            Title: “Holography and spatial filtering”