Stuart Licht

Dr. Licht opted for an image of an electron in a bottle for his headshot
Professor of Chemistry
Exploration Hall
20101 Academic Way
Ashburn, Virginia 20147
United States
[email protected]
Licht Research Group

Areas of Expertise

Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Energy Storage – Batteries & Fuel Cells, Environmental Chemistry, Electrochemistry, and Quantum Mechanics

Prof. Stuart Licht completed his Ph.D. at the Weizmann Institute, and a Postdoc at MIT. Prior to GW, he served as a Program Director at the NSF, was Chair of Chemistry at UMass, and has received awards including the Electrochemical Society Energy Technology Research Award, the Gustella Award of the Technion, and held the Carlson Endowed Chair in Chemistry at Clark University.

Current Research

The Licht research group has taken on the challenge of developing a comprehensive solution to climate change. A new solar process has been introduced, the STEP process, which efficiently removes carbon from the atmosphere and generates the staples needed by society, ranging from fuels, to metals, bleach and construction materials, at high solar efficiency and without carbon dioxide generation. In the field of battery and fuel cell research new multiple electron (per molecule) storage processes are introduced and studied, leading to batteries with greater storage capacity than gasoline. On route to new pathways to utilize renewable energy, we explore fundamental chemical processes ranging from quantum mechanics to thermodynamics of water, new analytical and environmental methodologies, and hydrogen, halide, chalcogenide and transition metal chemistry.


BA, MA Wesleyan University, 1976, 1981

PhD, The Weizmann Institute of Science , 1986

Postdoc, MIT, 1987



 An expanded list of publications and citations is available by clicking here:

Selected from over 400 Peer Reviewed Licht Patents and Publications:   

  • Licht, "pH Measurement in Concentrated Alkaline Solutions" Analytical Chemistry, 57, 514 (1985).
  • Licht, "A Description of Energy Conversion in Photoelectrochemical Solar Cells," Nature, 330 (cover article), 148 (1987).
  • Licht, Hodes, Tenne, Manassen, "A Light Variation Insensitive High Efficiency Solar Cell," Nature, 326, 863 (1987).
  • Licht, Cammarata, Wrighton, "Time/Spatial Dependence of <105 Molecules," Science, 243, 1176 (1989).
  • Licht, Peramunage, "Efficient photoelectrochemical solar cells," Nature, 345, 330 (1990).
  • Licht, Peramunage, "Efficiency in a liquid solar cell," Nature, 354, 440 (1991).
  • Peramunage, Licht, "A Novel Solid Sulfur Cathode for Aqueous Batteries," Science, 261, 1029 (1993).
  • Licht, Wang, Ghosh, "Energetic Iron(VI) Chemistry: The Super-Iron Battery," Science, 285, 1039 (1999).
  • Licht, Wang, Mukerji, Soga, Umeno, Tributsch, "Over 18% solar conversion to H2 fuel; …," Int. J. H2 Energy, 26, 7 (2001).
  • Licht, Halperin, Kalina, Zidman, "Electrochemical Potential Tuned Solar Water Splitting," Chem. Comm., 3006 (2003).
  • Licht, Wu, Yu, Wang, " Renewable Highest Capacity VB2/Air Energy Storage," Chem. Comm., 3257 (2008).
  • Licht, "STEP: A solar chemical process to end anthropogenic global warming," J. Phys. Chem. C., 113, 16283 (2009).
  • Licht, Wang, Ghosh, Ayub, Jiang, Ganley "A New Solar Carbon Capture Process: Solar Thermal Electrochemical Photo (STEP) Carbon Capture," J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 1, 2363 (2010).
  • Licht, Wu, Hettige, Lau, Asercion, Stuart, "STEP Cement: CaO without CO2" Chem. Comm., 48, 6019 (2012).
  • Cui, Licht, "Critical STEP advances for sustainable iron production," Green Chemistry, 15, 881 (2013).
  • Licht, Cui, Stuart, Wang, Lau, "Molten Air Batteries - A new, highest energy class of batteries," Energy & Environ. Sci., 6, 3646 (2013).
  • "Ammonia synthesis by N2 and steam electrolysis in molten hydroxide suspensions of nanoscale Fe2O3," Licht, Cui, Wang, Li, Lau, Lui, Science, 345, 637-640 (2014).
  • Ren, Lau, Lefler, Licht, "The minimum electrolytic energy needed to convert CO2...," J. Phys. Chem. C, 119, 23342 (2015). Click here to access article
  • Ren, Li, Lau, Li, Gonzalez-Urbina, Licht "One-pot synthesis of carbon nanofibers from CO2," Nano Letters, 15, 6142 (2015). Click here to access article
  • Li, Lau, Licht, "Sungas: instead of syngas: ...CO & H2 from a single beam of sunlight," Advanced Science, 2, 1500260 (2015). Click here to access article
  • Licht, Douglas, Ren, Carter, Lefler, Pint, "Carbon Nanotubes Produced from Ambient Carbon Dioxide for Environmentally Sustainable Lithium-Ion and Sodium-Ion Battery Anodes," ACS Central Science, 2, 162. Click here to access article
  • Zhu, Wang, Wang, Liu, Wu, Licht, "Solar Thermoelectric Field Photocatalysis for Efficient Organic synthesis Exemplified by Toluene to Benzoic Acid," Applied Catalysis B, 193, 151-159 (2016).
  • Wu, Li, Ji, Liu, Li, Yuan, Zhang, Ren, Lefler, Wang, Licht, “One-Pot Synthesis of Nanostructured Carbon Material from Carbon Dioxide via Electrolysis in Molten Carbonate Salts,” Carbon, 106, 208 (2016). Click here to access article
  • Lau, Dey, Licht, “Thermodynamic assessment of CO2 to carbon nanofiber transformation for carbon sequestration in a combined cycle gas or a coal power plant," Energy Conversion & Management, 122, 400 (2016). Click here to access article
  • Ren, Licht, "Tracking airborne CO2 mitigation and low cost transformation into valuable carbon nanotubes,” Scientific Reports –, 6, 27760 (2016). Click here to access article
  • Wu, Ji, Li, Yuan, Zhu, Wang*, Zhang, Licht, “Efficient, high yield carbon dioxide and water transformation to methane by electrolysis in molten salts,” Advanced Materials Technology, 1, 60092 (2016).
  • Licht, Liu, Cui, Lau, Hu, Stuart, Wang, El-Gazawi, Li, "Comparison of alternative molten electrolytes for water splitting to generate hydrogen fuel," J. Electrochem. Soc, 163, F1162 (2016). Click here to access article
  • Cui, Xiang, Liu, Xin, Liu, Licht, “A long cycle life, high coulombic efficiency iron molten air battery," Sustainable Energy & Fuels, 1, 474 & back cover (2017).
  • Ren, Johnson, Singhal, Licht, “Transformation of the greenhouse gas CO2 by molten electrolysis into a wide controlled selection of carbon nanotubes,” J. CO2 Utilization, 18, 335 (2017).
  • Licht, “Co-Production of Cement and Carbon Nanotubes with a Carbon Negative Footprint,” J. CO2 Utilization, 18, 378 (2017).
  • Johnson, Ren, Lefler, Licht, Vicini, Liu, Licht, “Carbon nanotube wools made directly from CO2 by molten electrolysis: Value Driven pathways to carbon dioxide greenhouse gas mitigation,” Materials Today Energy, 5, 230 (2017); Click here for galley proof
  • Liu, Cui, Han, Liu, Sun, Zhang, Lefler, Licht,
  • "Rechargeable zinc air battery: Highly improved performance by adding KOH to the molten carbonate eutectic electrolyte," J. Electrochem. Soc., 165, A149 .
  • Licht, Liu, Licht, Wang, Swesi, Chan, “Amplified CO2 reduction of greenhouse gas emissions with C2CNT carbon nanotube composites,” Materials Today Sustainability, 6, 100023 (2019); Click here for article
  • Liu, Ren, Licht, Wang, Licht, “Carbon Nano-Onions Made Directly from CO2 by Molten Electrolysis for Greenhouse Gas Mitigation", Advanced Sustainable Systems, 52, DOI: 10.1002/adsu.201900056, 190056 (2019); Click here for article
  • Wang, Sharif, Liu, Licht, Lefler, Licht, “Magnetic carbon nanotubes: Carbide nucleated electrochemical growth of ferromagnetic CNTs from CO2,” J. CO2 Utilization, 40, 101218 (2020); Click here for article
  • Liu, Wang, Licht, Licht, “Transformation of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide to graphene,” J. CO2 Utilization, 36, 288 (2020); Click here for article
  • Ren, Yu, Licht, Peng, Lefler, Liu, Licht, “Recent Advances in Solar Thermal Electrochemical Process (STEP)  for Carbon Neutral Products and High Value Nanocarbons,” ACCOUNTS of Chemical Research, 52, 3177 (2019); Click here for article

Classes Taught

Chem 2122: Intro Quantitative Analysis

Chem 6320: Electrochemistry - Charge, Transfer & Storage (Selected Topics in Analytical Chemistry)