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College of Arts & Sciences

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Hua  Mei 

Associate Professor
423-439-4452 /
Brown Hall 465

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Dr. Mei’s research involves organic materials synthesis and characterization. Current projects include three directions:

(1)   Fluorinated monomers for electrolyte in proton exchange membrane fuel cells

A series of diazonium (perfluoroalkyl)aryl sulfonyimide (PFSI) zwitterionic monomers have been synthesized from perfluoro-3, 6-dioxa-4-methyl-7-octene-sulfonyl fluoride (Nafion®), and perfluoro-3-oxa-4-pentenesulfonyl fluoride (POPF) monomers for the first time. With trifluorovinyl ether and diazonium precursors, the partially-fluorinated diazonium monomers can be further polymerized and will provide chemically bonding with carbon electrode in proton exchange membrane fuel cells. A systematic study of the synthesis and characterization of these diazonium PFSI monomers has been conducted.

(2)   Solid alkylation catalyst systems for petroleum refining

Over the last three decades, the economic and environmental reasons have driven scientists to develop more efficient and effective solid acid catalysts for alkylation. The solid support alkylation catalysts, modified by diazonium PFSI zwitterions, are expected to dramatically increase catalysts stability, activity, and selectivity over a long period of time. The investigations of perfluorinated polymers as strong acid catalysts are delayed because of their high cost and environmental problems. Therefore, this project is emphasizing on innovative environment-friendly nanocomposites with basic fundamentals, as alternatives to traditional liquid catalysts by grafting thin layer of PFSI polymer onto nanoparticles. The chemistry along with practical applications will provide a new direction in the petroleum research academically and industrially.

(3)   Theranostic nanoparticles for simultaneous detection and treatment of cancer

The long-term goal is to develop the theranostic nanoparticles (NPs) that will improve diagnostic and therapeutic efficacy for cancer. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Two of the major challenges in cancer therapy are enhancing detection methods to diagnose early-stage cancer and increasing drug specificity to spare healthy cells. Our hypothesis is that the NPs incorporating QDs, FOL, and anticancer drugs can provide the novel theranostic solutions for the simultaneous diagnosis and targeted treatment of cancers.


  • Mei,Hua*; Nworie,Chimaroke; Abban,Grace; Alayyaf,Abdulmajeed; MacCloud, Rebecca. “Diazonium (Perfluoroalkyl) Arylsulfonimide Zwitterionic Monomer Analogues: Effective Synthesis and Thermal Stability” Int. J. of Hydrogen Energy, 41 (5), 3628-3637, 2016.
  • Liu, Bing; Mei, Hua; Desmarteau, Darryl; Creager, Stephen. “Electrochemical Behavior of Platinum Nanoparticles on a Carbon Xerogel Support Modified with a [(Trifluoromethyl)-benzenesulfonyl]Imide Electrolyte,” The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 118 (49),14115-14123, 2014.
  • Mei, Hua*; DesMarteau, Darryl D. “Bis(diaryliodonium) perfluorosulfonimide zwitterions as Photo Acid Generators ,” Journal of Fluorine Chemistry,160, 12-15, 2014.
  • Mei, Hua*; D’Andrea, Dan; Nguyen, Tuyet-Trinh; Nworie, Chima. “Synthesis of the Diazonium (Perfluoroalkyl) Benzenesulfonimide Monomer from Nafion Monomer for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells,” Journal of Power Sources, 248, 1177-1180, 2014.
  • Mei, Hua; VanDerveer, Don; DesMarteau, Darryl D. “Synthesis of Diazonium (perfluoroalkyl) benzenesulfonylimide Zwitterions,” Journal of Fluorine Chemistry, 145, 35-40, 2013.
  • Volkis, Victoria; Mei, Hua; Michl, Josef. “Method for Copolymerization Isobutylene,” Application 61/151,437, Patent Applied, 2009. 
  • Mei, Hua; Douvris, Christos; Volkis, Victoria; Hanefeld, Phillip; Hildebrandt, Nicole; Michl, Josef. “Radical Copolymerization of Isobutylene and Ethyl Acrylate with Li[CB11Me12] Catalyst,” Macromolecules, 44 (8), 2552–2558, 2011.
  • Volkis, Victoria; Mei, Hua; Shoemaker, Richard K.; Michl, Josef. “LiCB11(CH3)12-Catalyzed Radical Polymerization of Isobutylene: Highly Branched Polyisobutylene and an Isobutylene−Ethyl Acrylate Copolymer, ” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 131(9), 3132–3133, 2009.
  • Creager, Stephen E.; Liu, Bing; Mei, Hua; DesMarteau, Darryl D. “Electrochemical Grafting of an Aryl Fluorosulfonimide Salt onto Glassy Carbon,” Langmuir, 22 (25), 10747 -10753, 2006.
  • Wang, Gongying; Yao, Jie; Wang, Yue; Mei, Hua; Gao, Junjie, “Catalyst for Synthesis of Methyl Phenyl Carbonate by Ester Exchange Method,” Faming Zhuanli Shenqing Gongkai Shuomingshu (Chinese Patent), 2003.
  • Gao, Junjie; Yao, Jie; Mei, Hua; Wang, Gongying. “Transesterification of Dimethyl Carbonate and Phenol with Titanate Catalysts,” Cuihua Xuebao, 22 (4), 405-407, 2001.


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