Yan research group in SDSU strives to develop a fundamental understanding of catalysis including photocatalysis and electrocatalysis for organic reactions, small molecules (H2O, CO2, N2) activation and conversion towards high-value-added products.  This understanding fuels us to design and develop a new methodology towards photoredox organic reactions using various highly efficient solar cell materials.

1, Solar drugs: Photocatalytic organic synthesis and Pharmaceutical drug development 

Carbon-carbon (C-C) bond formation is one of the most fundamental transformations in organic synthesis. Nature is capable of storing solar energy in chemical bonds via photosynthesis. The photoconversion process involves a series of C-C bond forming photoredox catalytic reactions starting from CO2 and light. Cost-effective and efficient photocatalysis are highly desirable in chemical synthesis. Our group is focusing on applying state-of-the-art solar cell materials towards highly-efficient photocatalytic organic reactions.

2, Solar Fuels: Renewable Energy capture and conversion

We are also exploring photoelectrocatalytic dinitrogen reduction, carbon dioxides reduction and water splitting. Our group concentrates on new catalysts development for new photocatalytic reactions exploration, renewable energy capture and storage, and sustainable industrial feedstock production from small molecules (small organic molecules, dinitrogen, carbon dioxides, water). The catalytic materials include, but not limited to, organometallic molecular catalysts, quantum dots, and other photocatalytic semiconductors.

3, Fundamental understanding of the photocatalytic process

Fundamental structural analysis is crucial to understand the photocatalytic reactions. Our lab also focuses on the photophysical and photochemical mechanistic understanding of the catalytic system.