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Photo of Shi, Li
Office Location: GLT 2.230

Li Shi


Ernest Cockrell, Sr. Chair in Engineering #2

Department Research Areas:
Advanced Materials Science and Engineering
Clean Energy Technology
Nano and Micro-scale Engineering
Thermal Fluids Systems and Transport Phenomena

Laboratory of Quantum Materials for Sustainable Technologies

Li Shi received his doctoral, master, and bachelor degrees from University of California at Berkeley, Arizona State University, and Tsinghua University, respectively. He was an IBM Research Staff Member for a year before joining the University of Texas (UT) at Austin as an assistant professor in 2002, followed by appointments to the BF Goodrich Endowed Professorship in Materials Engineering.

At UT Austin, Dr. Shi has been a primary instructor for two undergraduate core courses, Heat Transfer and Experimental Heat Transfer, and two graduate courses, Radiation Heat Transfer and Nanoscale Energy Transport and Conversion. He has taught a large number of students enrolled in these courses.

Prof. Shi has made seminal contributions to the science and engineering of ultrahigh-thermal conductivity materials, including carbon nanotubes (CNTs), graphene, hexagonal (h-) and cubic (c-) boron nitride (BN), cubic boron arsenide (c-BAs), and theta-phase tantalum nitride (TaN). His research group has pioneered a set of unique experimental methods based on electro-thermal microbridge platforms, inelastic light scattering, and scanning probe microscopy to discover the underlying phonon-mediated transport mechanisms in one-dimensional CNTs, two-dimensional graphene and h-BN, and three-dimensional architectures of these low-dimensional materials for thermal management. He led a multidisciplinary research team to demonstrate c-BAs as the first known bulk semiconductor with an unusual high thermal conductivity, which defies the conventional criteria requiring strongly bonded light elements to achieve a high lattice thermal conductivity. This work on c-BAs and their subsequent study of semi-metallic TaN have helped to establish a new phonon band engineering paradigm of ultrahigh-thermal conductivity compound semiconductors and semimetals. In addition, their research has advanced the fundamental understanding of coupled heat, charge, and spin transport phenomena in thermoelectric, topological, and spintronic materials, including conducting polymers, transition metal chalcogenides, incommensurate chimney ladder and spin ladder compounds, and ferromagnetic garnets.

Enabled by progresses in their research in basic energy and material sciences, Prof. Shi’s group has been investigating the applications of emerging materials for thermal management, energy-efficient electronics and spintronics, thermal energy storage, thermoelectric energy conversion, and decarbonization of fuels and industrial heating processes. Their adventure into nanotechnologies for targeted drug delivery and biomedical imaging has also produced noteworthy results, such as shape-specific polymeric drug carriers manufactured by nano-imprint lithography.

Prof. Shi has organized a National Science Foundation (NSF) workshop on Emerging Opportunities at the Intersection of Quantum and Thermal Sciences, another NSF-sponsored workshop on Nanotechnologies for Solar and Thermal Energy Conversion and Storage, and the Third Energy Nanotechnology International Conference of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He has also chaired a number of symposiums and sessions for Materials Research Society (MRS), American Physical Society (APS), and ASME conferences. He served as the Editor-in-Chief of Nanoscale and Microscale Thermophysical Engineering between 2013 and 2021.

Dr. Shi’s research achievements and professional services have been recognized by the Heat Transfer Memorial Award in Science from ASME, the Invitation Fellowship for Research in Japan from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), the O’Donnell Award in Engineering from the Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Science of Texas, and the Young Investigator Awards from NSF and the Office of Naval Research. He is an elected fellow of ASME and APS as well as an active member of the UT Austin Badminton Club.

Selected Publications

Full Publication List on Google Scholar & Web of Science

  1. H.-K. Lyeo, A. A. Khajetoorians, L. Shi, K. P. Pipe, R. J. Ram, A. Shakouri, C. K. Shih, "Profiling the Thermoelectric Power of Semiconductor Junctions with Nanometer Resolution," Science 303, 816-818 (2004)

  2. J. H. Seol, I. Jo, A. L. Moore, L. Lindsay, Z. H. Aitken, M. T. Pettes, X. Li, Z. Yao, R. Huang, D. Broido, N. Mingo, R. S. Ruoff,  L. Shi, “Two-Dimensional Phonon Transport in Supported Graphene,” Science 328, 213-216 (2010)

  3. M. M. Sadeghi, I. Jo, L. Shi, “Phonon-Interface Scattering in Multi-layered Graphene on an Amorphous Support,” Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences 110, 16321–16326 (2013)

  4. A. Weathers, Z. U. Khan, R. Brooke, D. Evans, M. T. Pettes, J. W. Andreasen, X. Crispin, L. Shi, “Significant Electronic Thermal Transport in the Conducting Polymer Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT),” Advanced Materials 27, 2101–2106 (2015)

  5. X. Chen, A. Weathers, J. Carrete, S. Mukhopadhyay, O. Delaire, D. A. Stewart, N. Mingo, S. N. Girard, J. Ma, D. L. Abernathy, J. Yan, R. Sheshka, D. P. Sellan, F. Meng, S. Jin, J. Zhou, L. Shi, “Twisting Phonons in Complex Crystals with Quasi-One-Dimensional Substructures,” Nature Communications 6, 6723 (2015)

  6. I. Kholmanov, J. H. Kim, E. Ou, R. S. Ruoff, and L. Shi, “Continuous Carbon Nanotube–Ultrathin Graphite Hybrid Foams for Increased Thermal Conductivity and Suppressed Subcooling in Composite Phase Change Materials,” ACS Nano 9, 11699-11707 (2015)

  7. K. An, K. S. Olsson, A, Weathers, S. Sullivan, X. Chen, X. Li, L. G. Marshall, X. Ma, N. Klimovich, J. S. Zhou, L. Shi, X. Q. Li, “Magnons and Phonons Optically Driven out of Local Equilibrium in a Magnetic Insulator,” Physical Review Letters 117, 107202 (2016)

  8. S. Sullivan, A. K. Vallabhaneni, I. Kholmanov, X. Ruan, J. Murthy, L. Shi, “Optical Generation and Detection of Local Non-equilibrium Phonons in Suspended Graphene,” Nano Letters 17, 2049–2056 (2017) 

  9. F. Tian, B. Song, X. Chen, N. K. Ravichandran, Y. Lv, K. Chen, S. Sullivan, J. Kim, Y. Zhou, T. - H. Liu, M. Goni, Z. Ding, J. Sun, G. A. G. U. Gamage, H. Sun, H. Ziyaee, S. Huyan, L. Deng, J. Zhou, A. J. Schmidt, S. Chen, C. - W. Chu, P. Y. Huang, D. Broido, L. Shi, G. Chen, Z. Ren, “Unusual High Thermal Conductivity in Boron Arsenide Bulk Crystals,” Science 361, 582 (2018)

  10. M. M. Sadeghi, Y. Huang, C. Lian, F. Giustino, E. Tutuc, A. H. MacDonald, T. Taniguchi, K. Watanabe, L. Shi, “Tunable Electron-Flexural Phonon Interactions in Graphene Heterostructures,” Nature 617, 282–286 (2023)

  11. S. Sullivan, H. Lee, A. Weathers, L. Shi, “Frequency-dependent Phonon-mediated Unidirectional Magnetoresistance in a Metal on an Insulator with Highly Nonequilibrium Magnons,” Physical Review B 107, L140412 (2023)