Yong Yan

Assistant Professor, Inorganic Chemistry

office: GMCS-213F
phone: 619-594-5770
email: yong.yan@sdsu.edu
Yan photo

Yan Group Page

Curriculum Vitae

  • B.Sc. Chemistry, Wuhan University, 2006
  • PhD, Chemistry, Tulane University, 2012
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Princeton University, 2012—2014
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, National Renewable Energy Lab, 2014—2016
  • Assistant Professor, New Jersey Institute of Technology, 2016—2018
  • Assistant Professor, San Diego State University, 2018—present

Research Interests

In Dr. Yong Yan's group, we focused on chemical catalysis. Our research spans the fields of Inorganic, Organic and Materials Chemistry, with a primary focus on inorganic materials design and application. The key logic in this research group comprehends: DO SOMETHING (photoactive materials design), SEE SOMETHING (catalysis application exploration), and KNOW SOMETHING (their structure-function relationship).

DO SOMETHING (photoactive materials design). Our research learns from and dedicates to nature. Nature is capable of storing solar energy in chemical bonds via photosynthesis through a series of C-C, C-O and C-N bond forming reactions starting from CO2 and light. Direct application of solar energy is a promising but challenging approach for synthetic chemistry. We take advantage of the solar energy and store such energy in chemical bonds via chemical catalysis. Our main efforts in this aspect are to design, develop and synthesize photoactive materials towards capture, storage, and conversion of sustainable and renewable energy for the next generation.

SEE SOMETHING (catalysis application exploration). We leverage the photoactive materials toward small molecule activation. Our strategy is to furnish the traditional organometallic catalysis with the state-of-the-art photocatalytic concept. Therefore, we may reach our research goal for catalysis towards non-noble metal, higher efficiency, more tolerance and moderate reaction condition. The major directions in photo- and electrocatalysis concentrate on: 1) useful organic reaction activation, 2) hydrogen fuels production via water splitting, 3) value-added organic molecules generation via carbon dioxide reduction, and 4) producing amines directly via dinitrogen reduction.

KNOW SOMETHING (their structure-function relationship). One of the major challenges in the storage of renewable energy in chemical bonds is to overcome the barrier of energy transfer (ET) and/or charge transfer (CT) process during this chemical catalysis process. We are targeting to explore and validate plausible mechanisms to illustrate the key pathways in ET or CT of such catalytic steps as we "SEE" above. Our ultimate goal is to chemically elucidate the catalysts' structure-function relationship and further return the profit back to catalysts design to "DO SOMETHING".

Graduate students who join our research laboratory anticipate gaining hands-on experience in, 1) a thorough training in inorganic and organic synthesis; 2) cutting-edge analytical characterizations training in, i.e., HPLC, NMR spectroscopy, Mass Spectroscopy, Single-crystal X-ray Diffraction, Electrochemistry, Photoelectrochemistry, In-situ IR etc.; 3) demonstrating record of achievement as reflected by publications in peer-reviewed journals or presentations at chemistry focused conferences/events. Our group is always welcoming new members with a strong passion for chemistry. Graduate students, undergraduate students, postdocs and visiting scholars with a background in Chemistry, Materials Science, Chemical Engineering or any related area are encouraged to contact him through email.

Selected Publications

Professor Yan's full publications list on Google Scholar
Independent Career
  1. Ruirui Wang, Lan Luo, Xiaolin Zhu, Yan, Y,* Bing Zhang, Xu Xiang,* and Jing He, “Plasmon-Enhanced Layered Double Hydroxide Composite BiVO4 Photoanodes: Layering-Dependent Modulation of the Water-Oxidation Reaction,” ACS Appl. Energy Mater. 2018. doi: 10.1021/acsaem.8b00831.
  2. Yanqun Tang, Xiaoyu Fang, Xin Zhang, Gina Fernandes, Yan, Y.; Dongpeng Yan,* Xu Xiang* “Space-Confined Earth-Abundant Bifunctional Electrocatalyst for High-Efficiency Water Splitting,” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2017, 9, 36762. doi: 10.1021/acsami.7b10338
  3. Tyson, T.*; Gao, Y.; Ghose, S.; Yan, Y.*; “Impact of Large Thermal Motion on Critical Properties of the Perovskite Photovoltaic Systems,” Scientific Report 2017, 7, 9401. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-09220-2
  4. Yan, Y.*; Crisp, R.; Gu, J.; Pach, G.; Chernomordik, B.; Turner, J. A.; Beard, M. C.* “MEG for photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution reactions with quantum yields exceeding 100%,” Nature Energy 2017, 2, 17052 (highlighted in C&EN news; highlighted in Nature.com). doi: 10.1038/nenergy.2017.52
  5. Wang, L.; Wang, H.; Wagner, M.; Yan, Y.; Jakob, D. and Xu, X.* “Simultaneous Infrared and Mechanical Nanoscopy via Laser-Synchronized Peak Force Tapping,” Science Advances, 2017, 3, 1700255 (AAAS Journal, highlighted in Phys.org). doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1700255
  6. Yang, Y.; Yang, M.; Yan, Y.; Zhu, K.; Beard, M. C.*; “Surfaces Limit Carrier Lifetime in Lead Iodide Perovskite Films,” Nature Energy, 2017, 2, 16207. doi: 10.1038/nenergy.2016.207
Earlier Work
  1. (#co-first author) Gu, J.#; Yan, Y.#; Young, J.; Neale, N.; Turner, J. A.* “Water Reduction by a p-GaInP2 Photoelectrode Stabilized by an Amorphous TiO2 Coating and a Molecular Cobalt Catalyst,” Nature Materials, 2016, 15, 456—460. doi: 10.1038/nmat4511
  2. Yang, Y.*; Yan, Y.; Yang, M.; Choi, S.; Zhu, K.; Beard, M.*; “Low Surface Recombination Velocity in Solution Grown CH3NH3PbBr3 Perovskite Single Crystal,” Nature Comm., 2015, 6, 7961. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8961
  3. Yan, Y.; Bocarsly, A. B. et al. “Electrochemistry of Aqueous Pyridiniums: A Key Aspect in the Electrocatalytic Reduction of Carbon Dioxide to Methanol,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 14020—14023. doi: 10.1021/ja4064052
  4. (#co-first author) Gu, J.#; Yan, Y.#; Karizon, J.; Cava, R. J.; Bocarsly, A. B.* et al. “p-Type CuRhO2 as a Self-Healing Photoelectrode for Water Reduction under Visible Light,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 830—833. doi: 10.1021/ja408876k
  5. Yan, Y.; Lee, J.; Ruddy, D. A.* “Structure-Function Relationships for Electrocatalytic Water Oxidation by Molecular [Mn12O12] Clusters,” Inorg. Chem. 2015, 54, 4550—4555. doi: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.5b00398
  6. Yan, Y.; Donahue, J.* et al. “Unprecedented spin localization in a metal–metal bonded di-rhenium complex,” Chem. Comm. 2015, 51, 5482—5485. doi: 10.1039/c4cc09397f
  7. Yan, Y.; Donahue, et al. “Ancillary Ligand Effects on dithiolene ligand Noninnocence of Tungsten Complexes,” Inorg. Chem. 2013, 52, 6743—6751. doi: 10.1021/ic4009174
  8. Yan, Y.; Donahue, et al. “Redox-Controlled Interconversion between Trigonal Prismatic and Octahedral Geometries in a Monodithiolene Tetracarbonyl Complex of Tungsten,” Inorg. Chem. 2012, 51, 346—361. doi: 10.1021/ic201748v