Yan Yao
Dr. Yan Yao
Assistant Professor
N324, Engineering Building 1
Houston, TX 77204-4005
Phone: 713-743-4432 | Fax: 713-743-4444
Email: yyao4 [at] uh [dot] edu


B.S. Materials Science, Fudan University, (2000; honors)
M.S. Materials Science, Fudan University, (2003)
Ph.D. Materials Science and Engineering, Univ. of California, Los Angeles, (2008)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University, (2010-2012)

Professional Experience: 

Senior Scientist, Polyera Corporation, Skokie, Illinois, 2008-2010
Assistant Professor, University of Houston, 2012-Present

Awards & Honors: 

Young Investigator Award, Office of Naval Research, 2013
Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, 2012
Robert A. Welch Professorship, TcSUH, 2012
Excellence in Graduate Polymer Science Research, American Chemical Society, 2008
Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad, Chinese Government Scholarship Council, 2008
Dissertation-Year Fellowship, UCLA, 2007
GE Scholarship, Fudan, 2002
Chun-Tsung Scholar, Chun-Tsung Endowment , 2000

Editorial Boards: 

Nature Scientific Reports

Research Interests: 

Nanomaterials and nanostructures for high energy-density Li-ion batteries

Low cost and large scale energy storage for electricity grid application

Nanophotonic structures for efficient solar-to-electricty and solar-to-fuel conversion

Nanostructured thin-film solar cells for light-trapping

Materials and device physics in polymer solar cells and thin film transistors

Funded Research: 

Developing Multivalent Ion Intercalation Batteries as High Energy and Safe Marine Distributed Power Sources (Office of Naval Research, 5/2013-5/2016)

Selected Publications: 

Google Scholar Citation Report can be found here.

For most recent updated publication list, please check yaoyangroup.com. (* indiciates equal contribution)

Y. Yao*, J. Yao*, V.K.Narasimhan, Z.Ruan, C.Xie, S.Fan, Y. Cui, Broadband Light Management Using Low-Q Whispering Gallery Modes in Spherical Nanoshells, Nature Commun. 3: 664 (2012). (Highlighted in Nature 482, 278, 2012).

H. Wu, G. Chan, J. Choi, I. Ryu, Y. Yao, M. McDowell, S. W. Lee, A. Jackson, Y. Yang, L. Hu, and Y. Cui, Stable Electrochemical Cycling of Double-Walled Silicon Nanotube Anodes by Solid-Electrolyte Interphase Control, Nature Nano. 7, 310 (2012).

Y. Yao, N. Liu, M. T. McDowell, M. Pasta, and Y. Cui, Improving the Cycling Stability of Silicon Nanowire Anodes with Conducting Polymer Coatings, Energy & Environ. Sci. 5, 7927 (2012).

Y. Yao, M.T. McDowell, I. Ryu, H. Wu, N. Liu, W. D. Nix, Y. Cui, Interconnected Silicon Hollow Nanospheres for Lithium-Ion Battery Anodes with Long Cycle Life, Nano Lett. 11, 2949 (2011).

Y. Yao*, K. Huo*, L. Hu, N. Liu, Y. Cui, Electrically Conductive, Mechanically Robust and Electrochemically Inactive TiC/C Nanofiber Scaffold for High Performance Silicon Anodes Batteries, ACS Nano 10, 8346 (2011).

N-S. Choi, Y. Yao, Y. Cui, J. Cho, One Dimensional Si/Sn-Based Nanowires and Nanotubes for Lithium-ion Energy Storage Materials, J. Mater. Chem., 21, 9825 (2011).

N. Liu, Y. Yao, J. J. Cha, M. T. McDowell, and Y. Cui, Functionalization of Silicon Nanowire Surfaces with Metal-Organic Frameworks, Nano Research, 5(2),109 (2012).

L. Motiei, Y. Yao, J. Choudhury, H. Yan, T. J. Marks, M. E. Boom, A. Facchetti, Ru-Azinyl Complexes-Based Self-Assembled Interlayers for Efficient Inverted Bulk-Heterojunction Solar Cells, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 132, 12528 (2010).

D. Bargnis, L. Beverina, H. Huang, F. Silvestri, Y. Yao, H. Yan, G. Pagani, T. J. Marks, A. Facchetti, Marked Alkyl- vs. Alkenyl-Substitutent Effects on Squaraine Dye Solid-State Structure, Carrier Mobility, and Bulk-Heterojunction Solar Cell Efficiency, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 132, 4074 (2010).

Y. Yao, J. Hou, Z. Xu, G. Li, Y. Yang, Effects of Solvent Mixtures on the Nanoscale Phase Separation in Polymer Solar Cells, Adv. Funct. Mater. 18, 1783 (2008).

Y. Yao*, Y. Liang*, V. Shrotriya, S. Xiao, L. Yu, Y. Yang, Plastic Near-Infrared Photodetectors Utilizing Low Band Gap Polymer, Adv. Mater. 19, 3979 (2007).

G. Li*, Y. Yao*, H. Yang, V. Shrotriya, G. Yang, Y. Yang, “Solvent Annealing” Effect in Polymer Solar Cells Based on poly(3-hexylthiophene) and Methanofullerenes, Adv. Funct. Mater.17,1636 (2007).

Y. Yao, H.-Y. Chen, J. Huang, Y. Yang, Low Voltage and Fast Speed All-Polymeric Optocouplers, Appl. Phys. Lett.90,053509 (2007).

Y. Yao, C. Shi, V. Shrotriya, Q. Pei, Y. Yang, Effects of C70 Derivative in Low Band Gap Polymer Photovoltaic Devices: Spectral Complementation and Morphology Optimization, Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 153507 (2006).

G. Li, V Shrotriya, J. Huang, Y. Yao, T. Moriarty, K. Emery, Y. Yang, High-Efficiency Solution Processable Polymer Photovoltaic Cells by Self-Organization of Polymer Blends, Nature Mater. 4, 864 (2005).

B. Lei, Y. Yao, A. Kumar, Y. Yang, V. Ozolins, Quantifying the Relation between the Morphology and Performance Polymer Solar Cells Using Monte Carlo Simulations, J. Appl. Phys. 104, 24504 (2007).

S. Sista, Y. Yao, Y. Yang, M. L. Tang, Z. Bao, Enhancement in Open Circuit Voltage through a Cascade-Type Energy Band Structure, Appl. Phys. Lett. 91, 223508 (2007).

C. Shi, Y. Yao, Q. Pei, Y. Yang, Regioregular Copolymers of 3-alkoxythiophene and Their Photovoltaic Application, J Am. Chem. Soc. 128, 8980 (2006).

V. Shrotriya, Y. Yao, G. Li, Y. Yang, Effect of Self-Organization in Polymer/Fullerene Bulk Heterojunctions on Solar Cell Performance, Appl. Phys. Lett. 89, 063505 (2006).

J. Hou, M.H. Park, S. Zhang, Y. Yao, L. Chen, J. Li, Y. Yang, Bandgap and Molecular Energy Level Control of Conjugated Polymer Photovoltaic Materials Based on benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b]dithiophene, Macromolecules 41, 6012 (2008).

G. Li, V Shrotyiya, Y. Yao, J. Huang, Y. Yang, Manipulating Regioregular poly(3-hexylthiophene):[6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester blend: Route towards High Efficiency Polymer Solar Cells, J. Mater. Chem. 17, 3126 (2007).

V. Shrotriya, G. Li, Y. Yao, T. Moriarty, K. Emery, Y. Yang, Accurate Measurement and Characterization of Organic Solar Cells, Adv. Funct. Mater. 16, 2016 (2006).

V. Shrotriya, G. Li, Y. Yao, C. W. Chu, Y. Yang, Transition Metal Oxides for Hole Injection Layer in Photovoltaic Cells, Appl. Phys. Lett. 88, 073508 (2006).

V. Shrotriya, E. H. E. Wu, G. Li, Y. Yao, Y. Yang, Efficient Light Harvesting in Multiple-Device Stacked Structure for Polymer Solar Cells, Appl. Phys. Lett. 88, 064104 (2006).

G. Li, V. Shrotriya, Y. Yao, Y. Yang, Investigation of Annealing Effects and Thickness Dependence of Solar Cells Based on poly(3-hexylthiophene), J. Appl. Phys. 98, 043704 (2005).

Z. Fan, X. Mo, C. Lou, Y. Yao, D. Wang, G. Chen, J. G. Lu, Structures and Electrical Properties of Ag-tetracyanoquinodimethane Organometallic Nanowires, IEEE Trans. Nano. 4, 238 (2005).

Articles/Book Chapters: 

Y. Yang, Y. Yao, G. Li, Routes toward Efficient Polymer Solar Cells, in Organic Electronics: Materials, Physics, Processing and Device Applications, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 319-358 (2010). Editor Franky So.

Patent/Patent Applications: 

U.S. Provisional Patent 61/561074 “Broadband light trapping using low quality factor whispering gallery modes enhanced absorption” with J. Yao and Y. Cui.
International Patent WO/2011/119446 “Pyrrolo[3,2-b]pyrrole semiconducting compounds and devices incorporating same” with S. Lu, A. Facchetti, M. Drees, H.Yan, published Sept. 2011
International Patent WO/2010/135723 “Conjugated polymers and their use in optoelectronic devices” with H. Pan, H. Yan, S. Lu, Z. Zhu, A. Facchetti, published Nov. 2010.
International Patent WO/2010/135701 “Conjugated polymers and their use in optoelectronic devices” with Z. Zhu, M. Drees, H. Pan, H. Yan, S. Lu, A. Facchetti, published Nov. 2010.
Chinese Patent ZL 200610025887.5 “A superfast, anti-radiation, nanowire based overcharge protector” with G. Chen, K. Zheng, H. Shen, C. Ye, X. Mo, D. Sun, published May 2009.
U.S. Provisional Patent 61/416,890 “Conjugated polymers and their use in optoelectronic devices” with H. Pan, M. Drees, Z.G. Zhu, S. Lu, A. Facchetti.
U.S. Provisional Patent 61/180256 “Conjugated polymers and their use in optoelectronics devices” with H. Yan, S. Lu, A. Facchetti.
U.S. Provisional Patent 61/000734 “Efficient polymer solar cells using dissimilar solvent mixture” with Y. Yang, J. Hou.


"Next Generation Battery Electrode", Workshop on Materials Science and Materials Chemistry for Energy, Beijing University, Sept. 2012.
“Rational Nanostructur Design for Efficient Energy Devices”, Yale University, Dartmouth College, University of Wisconsin, University of Washington, University of Virginia, Drexel University, EPFL, CUHK, Nanyang University of Singapore, Feb-May. 2012. (Invited talk)
“Nanostructured Materials and Devices for Energy Harvesting and Storage”, Masterclass Lecture, Printed Electronics USA, San Jose, CA, Dec. 2011. (Invited talk)
“Nanostructed Energy Devices: Polymer Solar Cells and Lithium Ion Batteries”, Institute of Chemisty Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, Sept. 2011. (Invited talk)
“Nanostructed Energy Devices: Polymer Solar Cells and Lithium Ion Batteries”, Department of Materials Science, Fudan University, Shanghai, China, Sept. 2011. (Invited talk)
“Resonating Mode Enhanced Optical Absorption in Si Hollow Nanospheres Solar Cells”, MRS spring meeting, San Francisco, CA, April 2011. (Contributed talk)
“Hollow Silicon Nanospheres for Highly Reversible and Long Cycle Life Lithium Ion Battery Anodes”, MRS spring meeting, San Francisco, CA, April 2011. (Contributed talk)
“Self-Organization of Polymer Chains in Efficient Polymer Solar Cells”, Excellence in Polymer Graduate Research Symposium, ACS, New Orleans, LA, April 2008. (Contributed talk)
“Plastic Bulk-Heterojunction Solar Cells and Near-Infrared Photodetectors”, AVS, Seattle, WA, Oct. 2007 (Invited talk).