James M. Lisy


James M. Lisy

Specially Appointed Professor

Vibrational Spectroscopy of Molecular Clusters


Professor James M. Lisy received his B.S. degree from Iowa State University in 1974 and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1979. He joined the faculty at Illinois in 1981 and spent his career investigating intermolecular interactions in neutral and charged molecular clusters. After 30 years, he elected to take early retirement, and spent 9 months at the Ruhr University - Bochum as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow. He then moved to the National Science Foundation in Arlington, VA, where he served as a program officer for over 5 years. During that time, he also was a visiting or guest professor in France, Japan, and Denmark. He currently maintains active collaborations in these countries as well as Germany, and resides in the Bay Area of California. Selected Awards: Fellow-JSPS 2014, 1996; Alexander von Humboldt Research Award 2011; Fellow-American Physical Society 2001; Wilsmore Fellow-University of Melbourne 2004-5.

Expectations for WRHI

Participating in research within the WRHI at the Institute for Innovative Research, provides me with state-of-the-art equipment to probe intermolecular interactions using mass-selective spectroscopy. These facilities have enabled me to extent my investigations in new and exciting directions.

Research Projects

  • Conformer specific photofragmentation of solvated ions; Demonstration of size-selective intermolecular interactions; Molecular dynamics simulation of cluster ion formation; Combining infrared spectroscopy with DFT-MD anharmonic vibrational spectroscopy to analyze high energy conformers and highly anharmonic species.

  • Elucidating the Mechanism of Size-Selectivity in Ion Channels.

    Using specific peptide sequences, the binding properties of potassium and sodium ions are compared with structural details provided by mass-
    selective infrared spectroscopy. The differences between the two ions provides insight into the remarkable selectivity of potassium ion channels in biological systems.

    Periods: January 2018 to present.
    Funding Sources: KAKENHI (JP205104008) on innovative area (2503), KAKENHI (JP18H01938) of JSPS, and the Cooperative Research Program of the ‘‘Network Joint Research Center for Materials and Devices’’ from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan. World Research Hub Initiative and the Institute of Innovative Research (specially appointed professorship).
    Members: Prof. Masaaki Fujii, Prof. Shun-ichi Ishiuchi, Mr. Yuta Sazaki.

    Ion ChannelsInfrared SpectroscopyCluster Ions


Professor, University of Illinois – Urbana

2011 -

present Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois

2012 -2017

 Program Director US National Science Foundation

2017 -

Specially Appointed Professor , Institute of Innovative Research, Tokyo Institute of Technology


Fellow, JSPS


Alexander von Humboldt Research Award 


Fellow, American Physical Society


Wilsmore Fellow University of Melbourne


Ion-peptide interactions between alkali metal ions and a termini-protected dipeptide:Modeling a portion of the selectivity filter in K+ channels.
Shun-ichi Ishiuchi, Yuta Sasaki, James M. Lisy, and Masaaki Fujii,
Phys.Chem.Chem. Phys., 21, 561-7 (2019) (Editor’s Hot Manuscript).


Fundamental FH-stretching transition frequencies and oscillator strengths in hydrogen bonded FH complexes,
Kasper Mackeprang, Emil Vogt, James M. Lisy, Henrik G. Kjaergaard,
Chemical Physics Letters 692, 291–297 (2018).

Gas-Phase Ion Spectroscopy of Congo Red Dianions and Their Complexes with Betaine,
Christina Kjær, James M. Lisy, and Steen Brøndsted Nielsen,
J. Phys. Chem. A, 122, 3211-27 (2018).

Influence of argon and D2 tagging on the hydrogen bond network in Cs+(H2O)3 ; Kinetic trapping below 40 K,
Tim K. Esser, Harald Knorke, Flavio Siro-Brigiano, Daria Ruth Galimberti, Knut R. Asmis, Marie-Pierre Gaigeot, and James M. Lisy,
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 20, 28476-86 (2018) (Editor’s Hot Manuscript).



Modeling the CH Stretch Vibrational Spectroscopy of M+[Cyclohexane] (M = Li, Na, and K) Ions, Sibert, E.L., Tabor, D.P., Lisy, J.M., Journal of Physical Chemistry A 119(41), pp. 10293-10299 (2015)
Insights into the Structures of the Gas-Phase Hydrated Cations M+(H2O)nAr (M = Li, Na, K, Rb, and Cs; N = 3-5) Using Infrared Photodissociation Spectroscopy and Thermodynamic Analysis, Ke, H., Van Der Linde, C., Lisy, J.M., Journal of Physical Chemistry A 119(10), pp. 2037-2051 (2015)
Stalking higher energy conformers on the potential energy surface of charged species, Brites, V., Cimas, A., Spezia, R., Lisy, J.M., Gaigeot, M.-P., Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation11(3), pp. 871-883 (2015)
Infrared predissociation vibrational spectroscopy of Li+(H2O)3-4Ar0,1 reanalyzed using density functional theory molecular dynamics, Brites, V., Lisy, J.M., Gaigeot, M.-P., Journal of Physical Chemistry A 119(11), pp. 2468-2474 (2015)  


O-H anharmonic vibrational motions in Cl-⋯(CH 3OH)1-2 ionic clusters. Combined IRPD experiments and AIMD simulations, Beck, J.P., Cimas, A., Lisy, J.M., Gaigeot, M.-P. Spectrochimica Acta – Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy 119, pp. 12-17 (2014)


Revisiting Li+(H2O)3-4Ar1 clusters: Evidence of high-energy conformers from infrared spectra, high-energy conformers from infrared spectra, Rodriguez, O., Lisy, J.M., Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 2(12), pp. 1444-1448 (2011)


Infrared spectroscopy of gas-phase hydrated K+:18-crown-6 complexes: Evidence for high energy conformer trapping using the argon tagging method, Rodriguez, J.D., Lisy, J.M., International Journal of Mass Spectrometry 283(1-3), pp. 135-139 (2009)
Charge and temperature dependence of biomolecule conformations: K +Tryptamine(H2O) n=0-1Ar m=0-1 cluster ions, Nicely, A.L., Miller, D.J., Lisy, J.M., Journal of the American Chemical Society 131(18), pp. 6314-6315 (2009)


Hydrated alkali-metal cations: Infrared spectroscopy and ab initio calculations of M+(H2O)x=2-5Ar cluster ions for M = Li, Na, K, and Cs, Miller, D.J., Lisy, J.M, Journal of the American Chemical Society 130(46), pp. 15381-15392 (2008)