Solar-to-Thermal Energy Conversion & Utilization

Youhong develops hydrogel-based solar-driven water purification systems for efficient clean water production. The unique water states in polymer materials enable fast water evaporation from hydrogels with much lower energy demand. By integrating solar-absorbing materials with spatial distribution into hydrogels, She demonstrated high light-to-thermal conversion efficiency and ultrafast water evaporation under natural sunlight. She further designed the device systems to achieve high water collection efficiency. Check her publications below for more details:

Structure–Property–Function Relation of Engineered Gels

Youhong exploits surface engineering to control the topography and wettability, and structural design to tune the porosity and mechanical property of gels. These strategies make gels a versatile materials platform with deterministic physicochemical properties for understanding fundamentals of polymer-matter interactions, and practical applications in sensing, water purification, and environmental remediation. Check her publications below for more details:

Sustainable Polymer Materials for Separation

Youhong is interested in applying polymer materials to address the top global environmental sustainability challenges with a particular focus on water scarcity, energy resources, and air pollution. She exploits molecular engineering to functionalize polymer backbones and additives for water disinfection. She designs sustainable biomass-derived materials for rapid moisture harvesting with high water uptake and easy water release. She also designs structured polymeric composite electrodes for electro-swing carbon capture and direct air capture. Check her publications below for more details: