Yong Yan

Contact Info

Title: Assistant Professor
Email: yong.yan@njit.edu
Office: 354 Tiernan
Phone: 973-596-5622
Dept: chemistry and environmental sci.
Webpage: https://sites.google.com/view/yangroup/home

Academic Interests: inorganic materials, green chemistry, sustainable energy, organometallic chemistry


Dr. Yong Yan’s research spans the fields of Inorganic, Materials and Green Chemistry. His primary focus is on chemical approaches towards capture, storage and conversion sustainable and renewable energy for next generation. A particular emphasis of his research is on design and development of organometallic photoelectrocatalysts, semiconductor photoactive materials and chemical strategies to split water, to convert deleterious carbon dioxide into useful fuels or value-added industrial feedstock, and to obtain sustainable fuels from biomass. His research also explores catalytic reaction mechanism and charge transfer principles in these catalytic pathways.

Dr. Yan joins NJIT in 2016 from NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory), the DOE’s primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. He has been a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University, where he developed several electrocatalytic and photoelectrochemical methods to reduce and convert CO2. He obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Tulane University. Dr. Yan has published his research in top journals such as Nature Materials, Nature Energy, Nature Communications, JACS, Chemical Reviews, Inorganic Chemistry etc.

Dr. Yan welcomes graduate students, undergraduate students, postdocs, visiting scholars to work in his laboratory. He encourages students/scholars with background in Chemistry, Materials Science, Chemical Engineer or any related area to contact him through email at yongyan@njit.edu.


Assistant Professor,                                           New Jersey Institute of Technology                            
Postdoctoral Researcher                                   Princeton University; NREL                                                   
Ph.D., Chemistry                                               Tulane University, New Orleans, LA                            
B.S., Chemistry                                                 Wuhan University, Wuhan, China                                 




Graduate Course:

  • Chem 610- Advanced Inorganic Chemistry


Undergraduate Course:

  • Chem 412-Inorganic Reactions & Processes
  • Chem 244-Organic Chemistry Laboratory 


My research interests are mainly focused on the generation of renewable fuels via solar energy from water or carbon dioxide. Benefiting from the rapid progress of modern inorganic synthesis, photoelectrochemistry and state-of-the-art materials development, my research can be summarized:
Electrocatalyst Development

  • Design and develop catalytic active materials, including Molecular Organometallic Catalysts or Heterogeneous Metallic or Semiconductor Materials, for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), oxygen evolution reaction (OER) and carbon dioxide reduction reaction (CRR)
  • Synthesis and characterization of organic ligands, organometallic compounds, heterogeneous nanomaterials
  • Single crystals exploration of molecular and solid state materials
  • Chemical, Electrochemical or Photoelectrochemical evaluation of catalytic ability 

Solar Energy Absorbing Materials

  • Semiconductor materials particular III-Vs, oxides materials for photoelectrode
  • Perovskite materials for solar absorption 
  • Photoelectrode surface catalytic modification
  • Photoelectrode surface protection and stabilization

Photoelectrochemical (PEC) Solar Fuels

  • Photoelectrochemical investigation of water splitting and carbon dioxide reduction 
  • Investigated stable and highly efficiency quantum dots PEC system for solar fuels
  • Investigation the electrocatalyst(s) onto stable photoelectrode

Mechanistic Understanding the Photophysics of PEC cell

  • Understanding the charge separation and surface recombination process
  • Multiple Exciton Generation (MEG) for PEC fuel generation 
  • Applying photophysics to understand and improve the PEC fuel generation efficiency


Yan, Y.; Gu, J.; Bocarsly, A. B.; “Photo and/or Electrochemical Reduction of CO2.” Carbon Dioxide Utilization: Closing the Carbon Cycle. 2014, ISBN 9780444627469, Elsevier.

A Graded Catalytic-Protective Layer For An Efficient And Stable Water-Splitting Photocathode, Record of Invention (ROI) No. 17-27 No. 62/444,215. NREL, Gu, J.; Aguiar, J. A.; K. Xerxes Steirer, Yan, Y., Xiao, C.; Turner, J.A. etc.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications (* corresponding author)

1. Tyson, T.*; Gao, Y.; Ghose, S.; Yan, Y.;* Large Thermal Motion in Halide Perovskites, Scientific Reports, 2017, 7, 9401

2. Qin, D, CaiHua He, Antonio C Trammel, Jing Gu, Jing Chen, Yan, Y.;, Chun‐Lan Tao, Xiao‐Quan Lu. Fe2PO5 Encapsulated Reverse Energetic ZnO/Fe2O3 Heterojunction Nanowire for Enhanced Photoelectrochemical Oxidation of Water, ChemSusChem, 2017, 10, 2796

3. Wang, L.; Wang, H.; Wagner, M.; Yan, Y.; Jakob, D. and Xu, X.* Nanoscale simultaneous chemical and mechanical imaging via peak force infrared microscopy, Science Advances, 2017, 3, 1700255 (AAAS Journal)

4. Yan, Y.*; Crisp, R.; Gu, J.; Pach, G.; Chernomordik, B.; Turner, J. A.; Beard, M. C.* “Multiple exciton generation for photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution reactions with quantum yields exceeding 100%” Nature Energy 2017, 2, 17052. (highlighted in C&EN news; highlighted as News and Views in Nature.com; highlighted in DOE’s Office of science website; highlighted in the homepage of NJIT’s university news)

5. Yang, Y.; Yang, M.; Yan, Y.; Zhu, K.; Beard, M. C.*; “Top and bottom surfaces limit carrier lifetime in lead iodide perovskite films” Nature Energy 2017, 2, 16207

6. Xiao-Quan Lu, Cai-He Wang, Dongdong Qin, Duoliang Shan, Yan, Y., Qiu-Hong Wang, Cai-Hua He, Yang Li* Assembly of g-C3N4-based type II and Z-scheme heterojunction anodes with improved charge separation for photoelectrojunction water oxidation, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2017, 19, 4507-4515

7. Gu, J.;* Aguiar, J. A.; K. Xerxes Steirer, Yan, Y., Turner, J.A.* etc. “A graded catalytic–protective layer for an efficient and stable water-splitting photocathode” Nature Energy 2017, 2, 16192

Before joining NJIT

8. (#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. (highlight in DOE’s annual achievement demonstration, and recognized in National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)’s wall of fame)

9. Yang, Y.*; Yan, Y.; Choi, S.; Zhu, K.; Beard, M.*; “Low Surface Recombination Velocity in Solution Grown CH3NH3PbBr3 Perovskite Single Crystal” Nature Comm. 2015, 6, 7961.

10. Yan, Y.; Zeitler, E. L.; Hu, 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.

11. (#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.

12. Yan, Y.; Lee, J.; Ruddy, D. A.* “Structure-Function Relationships for Electrocatalytic Water Oxidation by Molecular [Mn12O12] Clusters.” Inorg. Chem. 2015, 54, 4550-4555.

13. Yan, Y.; Donahue, J.* et al. “Unprecedented spin localization in a metal–metal bonded di-rhenium complex.” Chem. Comm. 2015, 51, 5482-5485.

14. White, J. L.;Pander, J.; Brauch, M.; Yan, Y.; Bocarsly, A. B.* et al. “Light-Driven Heterogeneous Reduction of CO2: photocatalyst and Photoelectrodes.” Chem. Rev. 2015, 115, 12888-12935.

15. Yan, Y.; Donahue, et al. “Ancillary Ligand Effects on dithiolene ligand Noninnocence of Tungsten Complexes.” Inorg. Chem., 2013, 52, 6743-6751

16. 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

17. Yan, K.; Jarvis, C.; Yan, Y. et al. “Production and catalytic transformation of levulinic acid: a platform for speciality chemicals and fuels.” Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews 2015, 51, 986-997

18. Jingjie Wu, Mingjie Liu, Kuntal Chatterjee,*, Yan, Y.; Pulickel M. Ajayan. et al. “Exfoliated 2D Transition Metal Disulfides for Enhanced Electrocatalysis of Oxygen Evolution Reaction in Acidic Medium.” Adv. Mater. Inter. 2016, 3, 201500669

19. Ji-Sang Park, Sukgeun Choi,* Yan, Y., et al. “Electronic Structure and Optical Properties of α-CH3NH3PbBr3 Perovskite Single Crystal” J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2015, 6, 4304-4308

20. Zeitler, E. L.; Ertem, M.; Yan, Y.; Bocarsly, A. B* et al. “Isotopic Probe Illuminates the Role of the Electrode Surface in Proton Coupled Hydride Transfer Electrochemical Reduction of Pyridinium on Pt(111).” J. Electrochem. Soc. 2015, 162, H938-H944

21. Gu, J.; Yan, Y.; Lian, T.; Schmehl, R. H. “The influence of ligand localized excited states on the photophysics of second row and third row transition metal terpyridyl complexes: Recent examples and a case study.” Coord. Chem. Rev. 2015, 282, 100-109.

22. Yan, Y.; Bocarsly, A. B. et al. “Hydrogen Bonded Pyridine Dimers: Potential Active Intermediates for Electrocatalytic Conversion of CO2 to Methanol.” Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 2014, 14, 515-521

23. Yan, Y.; Donahue, et al. “A Polymorph of Tetraethylammonium Chloride.” Acta Cryst. E. 2009, 65, 3, o1491.

24. Yan, Y.; Bocarsly, A. B. “Electrochemistry of Aqueous Pyridiniums: A Key Component in the Electrocatalytic Reduction of CO2 to Methanol.” PreP. Am. Chem. Soc. Division of Energy & Fuels, 2013, 58(1), 296-297.

25. Greene, A. F.; Chandrasekara, P.; Yan, Y.; Donahue, J. P. et al. “Element Misidentification in X-ray Crystallography: A Reassessment of the [MCl2(diazadiene)] (M = Cr, Mo, W) Series” Inorg. Chem. 2014, 53, 308-317.

26. Stephen, S.; Banerjee, P.; Yan, Y.; Donahue, J. P.; Wieghardt, K. et al. “Monoanionic Molybdenum and Tungsten Tris(dithiolene) Complexes: A Multifrequency EPR Study.” Inorg. Chem., 2011, 50, 7106–7122.

27. Ejaz, M.; Yan, Y.; Grayson, S. M. et al. “Evaluation of Redox-Responsive Disulfide Cross-Linked Poly(hydroxyethylmethacrylate) Hydrogels.” Polymer 2011, 52, 5262-5270.

28. Hundson, G.; Cheng, L.; Yan, Y.; Wang, L. et al. “Computational Studies on Response and Binding Selectivity of Fluorescence Sensors.” J. Phys. Chem. B 2010, 114, 870–876.

29. Deng, S.; Hu, G.; Yan, Y.; Guo, J.; Huang, W.; Zhou, Y.; Li, Z. “A New Synthetic Route of Disulfide Containing Aniline Compounds.” Chin. J. Org. Chem. 2005, 25, 815-818