About us

Welcome to The Yan Group

The research group of Dr. Yong Yan in Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at San Diego State University. In Yan’s group, we focused on chemical catalysis. Our research spans the fields of Inorganic, Organic and Materials Chemistry, with a primary focus on uisng semiconductors for photocatalytic organic synthesis. The logic in this research group comprehends: Design (photocatalytic materials design and synthesis), Development (catalysis application on small molecule activation and organic synthetic methodology), and Mechanism (their structure-function relationship).



Yan lab explores sustainable catalytic methodology for chemical synthesis, with a focus on affordable drug design and development. The goal of Yan Lab in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at SDSU is to leverage the energy, creativity, and diversity of our students and place them at the forefront of Chemical Research and its integration with two far-separated areas, Renewable Energy and Human Health. To achieve this goal, we aim to advance the knowledge of catalysis and create novel materials that can harness renewable solar energy for challenging chemical reactions.  So far, we have successfully exploited solar cell materials to catalyze basic chemical transformations while producing renewable hydrogen fuels and distinctive chemical bonds for organic synthesis.  Currently, we are concentrating on a new bold initiative to capture renewable solar energy for bio-relevant life-saving pharmaceutic drug design and development, addressing the long-term catalytic challenges in asymmetric organic synthesis, akin to what nature does in the photosynthesis systems that support all life on Earth. Our focus is to advance the fundamental understanding of perovskite catalysis, particularly chiral perovskite materials towards their spin-related charge transfer, asymmetric organic transformation, chiral-induced spin selectivity and hot-carrier for catalysis. Overall, the Yan lab is looking forward to more forthcoming imperative research outcomes integrating Chemical Catalysis with Renewable Energy and Human Health.


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.

Lab News

Our collaborative photocatalytic work has been published on J. Chem. Phys. Congratulations to Jovan, Collin and Xiaolin. 11-2019

Warmly welcome Dr. Chuang Han join us as a postdoct researcher. 10-2019

We are actively engaged in ACS 2019 San Diego (8-2019)

  • Dr. Yong Yan organized and chaired a symposium in Energy and Fuel divsion with focus on hybrid materials for cyatalysis. In this symposium, we have invited world famous speakers to present, including Dr. Matt Beard, Prof. Daniel Gamelin, Prof. Prashant Kamat, Prof. Wei You, Prof. Filippo De Angelis, Prof. Jin Zhang, Prof. John Asbury, Prof. Yixin Zhao…Oral presentations:
  • Dr. Yong Yan, (invited talk: perovskite for photocatalytic organic synthesis)
  • Xiaolin Zhu, (perovskite for Suzuki reactions)
  • Yixiong Lin, (perovskite for pyrroles and pyrzoels)
  • Yue Sun, (Si materials for photocatalysis) 

    Sci-Mix poster presentation:

  • Jovan San Martin (solar cell for photocatalysis)

    Poster presentation:

  • Xiaolin Zhu, (perovskite for organic synthesis)
  • Yixiong Lin, (perovskite for pyrroles and pyrzoels)
  • Yue Sun, (Si materials for photocatalysis) Co-presenter: Colin Miller
  • Jovan San Martin (solar cell for photocatalysis)

Our collaborative photocatalytic work has been published on Catalysis Today. Congratulations to Jovan, Yixiong and Xiaolin. 8-2019

Welcome Dr. Jun Guo from Zhejiang Univeristy join our group as a postdoctoral researcher. (8-2019)

Our Article Featured in a Nature Communications Webpage and highlighted as “Editor’s Choice”, see link here. 7-2019

Our New work on Perovskite for Organic synthesis has been accepted for publication in Nature Communications. Congratulations to Xiaolin, Yixiong, Jovan, Yue, and Dian. 7-2019

We have a productive and happy Semester in 2019 Spring. We survive, everyone. 5-2019

Congratulations to Yixiong Lin who won the University Graduate Fellowship Award. Great work, Yixiong. 4-2019

Yan group’s research is highlighted (C-C bond formation using perovskite) in SDSUNewsCenter, link. 3-2019


Congratulations on Ph.D. student Yixiong Lin win the 2019 Provost’s Award from SRS, the most important research event in SDSU. Graduate student Yue Sun is also the co-presenter in this award.  Link 3-2019

Warmly welcome Visiting Scholars, Dr. Xianghua Zeng and Dr. Debin Ji join our research group from China. 3-2019

Welcome undergraduate student researcher, Collin Miller joining our research group. 1-2019

The Most read paper in JACS 2019 January/February of our work: Perovskites for Photocatalytic α-Alkylation of Aldehydes. 2-2019

Welcome undergraduate student researcher Claudine Manabat joining our research group.  12-2018

Yan group’s JACS paper: Perovskites for Photocatalytic α-Alkylation of Aldehydes, was selected in C&En news. See link here.     1-2019                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Dr. Yan was selected as a key participant in the Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Frontier Research Center, EFRC under CHOISE program. Congratulations to Dr. Yan.  see link here EFRC                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Yan and Gu Group’s Disney Land trip.

Yan Group is enjoying CSUPERB conference in Orange County, CA. 1-2019 .

Congrats on Xiaolin, Yixiong and Yue’s JACS online today. 1-2019

Congrats on Jovan, Yixiong and Xiaolin’s work on ChemSusChem, today. 1-2-2019                                                                            

Congrats on Yue and Melissa’s work published on ChemCatChem, our first work affiliated with SDSU. Nov. 20, 2018, link:

Group Meeting Schedule 2018 Fall: Every Wednesday afternoon 3-4pm in GMCS217.

Dr. Yan (invited talk), Dr. Xiaolin Zhu (oral presentation); graduate students Yixiong Lin and Yue Sun (Posters) all present in ACS conference. 8-2018

Dr. Yan is organizing a symposium in ACS national meeting, in Boston 2019 Fall.

We moved from NJIT to SDSU. Aug. 2018