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  •    Professor (1986 ~ 2021.2)
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Ph.D. 1985, Stanford University

Contact information

Tel: (office) +82-42-350-2830, (lab) +82-42-350-2870
Location: (office) Room 1106 (Bldg. E6-4), (lab) Room 1114, 1128, 3132 (Bldg. E6-4)
Fax: +82-42-350-2810


B.S. degree from Seoul National University (1973-1977)
M.S. degree from KAIST (1977-1979)
Ph.D. degree from Department of Chemistry at Stanford University [Major field: heterogeneous catalysis (Advisor: Prof. Michel Boudart)]


1979-1982 Researcher at Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute
1986 Postdoctoral research fellow at University of California, Berkeley [Major field: solid state NMR (Supervisor: Prof. Alex Pines)]
1986-present Department of Chemistry, KAIST [Assistant professor (1986-1990), Associate professor (1990-1996)]
Professor (1996-present) Distinguished professor (2008-present)]
2012.06 - present Institute for Basic Science(IBS) Director of "Center for Nanomaterials and Chemical Reactions"

Academes and Society

Member of the Korea Academy of Science and Technology (since 2001)
Life member of Korean Chemical Society, Korean Institute of Chemical Engineers, and Korean Society of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry
Council member of International Mesotructured Materials Association (7/2002-7/2006)
Council member of International Zeolite Association (7/2001 –7/2007)
Vice-President for Academic Affairs of the Korean Chemical Society (2006)
Royal Society of Chemistry Fellow
Editorial Board for Chemical Communications (2006-present)


Best Paper Award from Korean Chemical Society (4/2000)
Best Paper Award from Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies (4/2001)
Research of Future Award at ACS Symposium on Nanotechnology in Catalysis (4/2001)
Best Paper Award from Japan Society of Electron Microscopy (with Prof. O. Terasaki 5/2001)
Scientist of the Month by Ministry of Science and Technology, Korea (8/2001)
Professor of the Year at KAIST (12/2001)
Academic Award by Korean Chemical Society (4/2002)
Grand Academic Award at KAIST (12/2002)
Top Scientist Award by Korean government (4/2005)
Model Scientist for Young People by Korea Science Foundation (8/2006)
Leading Scientist in a Research Front by Thomson Scientific and KOSEF (5/2007)
National Honor Scientist by Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Korea (11/2007)
Distinguished Professor at KAIST (2008)

Brief Introduction

The biggest scientific challenge in the 21th century is to develop a green chemical process and new alternative energy sources that can replace the fossil fuels. In this regard, the ultimate goal of our research center is to synthesize new functional nanoporous materials such as hierarchical zeolites, mesoporous silicas, carbons, and organic-inorganic composite materials that can be used for advanced applications in the production of alternative energy sources and in the green chemical processes.
The nanoporous materials to be generated in the present research are expected to exhibit greatly enhanced catalytic activity in the partial oxidation reaction of organic compound for its special property of the limiting and controlling the molecular movement and collision and the strong electric field effect through ion concentration control. In addition, hierarchically nanoporous structures would enhance the molecular diffusion which can remarkably retard the catalyst deactivation process. The synthesis of such nanostructured catalysts is global companies, such as ExxonMobil, invested huge amount of research fund for many decades. Therefore, the development of the environmental-friendly and highly functional catalyst materials are expected to be highly advantageous through this research project in a close future. For example, the materials could be applied to the MTG process (Methanol to Gasoline process: a method of producing liquid hydrocarbons for use as synthetic fuel from methanol by heating with zeolite catalyst), which is recently drawing worldwide attention because of the rising cost of the fossil fuels.

Research topics

1. Development of a new nanoporous materials
-Hierarchical zeolites, mesoporous silicas, carbons and organic-inorganic composite materials
2. Application of functional nanomaterials
-High-efficient catalysis, high-capacity hydrogen storage and green chemistry
-Production of the alternative energy sources (e.g., MTO and MTG)
-Production of value-added chemicals via green industrial processes

Representative publications

1. Kanghee Cho, Kyungsu Na, Jaeheon Kim, Osamu Terasaki and Ryong Ryoo, Zeolite Synthesis Using Hierarchical Structure-Directing Surfactants: Retaining Porous Structure of Initial Synthesis Gel and Precursors, Chem. Mater., 24, 2733 (2012).
2. Kyungsu Na, Changbum Jo, Jeongnam Kim, Kanghee Cho, Jinhwan Jung, Yongbeom Seo, Robert J. Messinger, Bradley F. Chmelka, and Ryong Ryoo, Directing Zeolite Structures into Hierarchically Nanoporous Architectures, Science, 333, 328 (2011).
3. Jeongnam Kim, Minkee Choi and Ryong Ryoo, Effect of mesoporosity against the deactivation of MFI zeolite catalyst during the methanol-to-hydrocarbon conversion process, J. Catal., 269, 219 (2010).
4. Kyungsu Na, Minkee Choi, Woojin Park, Yasuhiro Sakamoto, Osamu Terasaki and Ryong Ryoo, Pillared MFI Zeolite Nanosheets of a Single-Unit-Cell Thickness, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 132, 4169 (2010).
5. Choi Minkee, Na Kyungsu, Kim Jeongnam, Sakamoto Yasuhiro, Terasaki Osamu and Ryoo Ryong, Stable single-unit-cell nanosheets of zeolite MFI as active and long-lived catalysts, Nature, 461, 246 (2009).