Peidong Yang

Research Expertise and Interest

materials chemistry, solid state chemistry, nanoscience, energy science, semiconductor nanowires, Nanophotonics, artificial photosynthesis, electrochemistry, photoelectrochemistry, electrocatalysis, photocatalysis.

Research Description

Wires of different forms are an integral part of our human society for centuries. Electricity is being delivered through powerlines to every household; information is routinely transmitted through optical fibers and bridge-building requires the use of mechanically robust cables. In the past 30 years, scientists have fundamentally discovered a new process of making nanoscopic wires, 1000 times thinner than human hairs, enabling a new generation of computing, integrated photonics, and energy and biomedical technologies. A semiconductor nanowire, a new form of semiconductor, by definition, typically has cross-sectional dimensions that can be tuned from 1–100 nm, with lengths spanning from hundreds of nanometers to millimeters. These subwavelength structures represent a new class of semiconductor materials for investigating light generation, propagation, detection, amplification, modulation as well as energy conversion and storage.

After three decades of research, semiconductor nanowires with predictable and controlled electrical properties can be synthesized, thus providing optoelectronically-tunable nanoscale building blocks for device assembly for the first time, including nanoscopic lasers, solar cells, nanofluidic transistors, intracellular optical and electrical probes,  thermoelectrics and (bio)photochemical diodes. Nanowire represents an important class of nanostructure building blocks for photovoltaics as well as direct solar-to-fuel conversion because of their high surface area, tunable bandgap, and efficient charge transport and collection. These semiconductor nanowires, with their unique photoelectrochemistry, are then used for artificial photosynthesis based on (bio)photochemical diode system design, where solar energy is converted and stored in chemical bonds in a solar-driven CO2 fixation process.

In the News

Scientists Grow Lead-Free Solar Material With a Built-In Switch

Solar panels, also known as photovoltaics, rely on semiconductor devices, or solar cells, to convert energy from the sun into electricity. Manufacturers typically dope the solar cell with chemicals so that one layer of the device bears a positive charge and another layer a negative charge. But chemical doping and layered synthesis also add extra costly steps in solar cell manufacturing.

Five Berkeley top scholars named AAAS fellows

Five Berkeley scholars — four faculty members and one research scientist — have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the world’s largest scientific societies. The distinction was awarded this year to 489 scientists, engineers and innovators for their advancement of science and its applications.

Introducing a kinder, gentler way to blow holes in cells

A new technique developed by University of California, Berkeley uses inexpensive lab equipment to efficiently infuse large macromolecules into cells. Called nanopore-electroporation, or nanoEP, the technique gently creates fewer than a dozen tiny holes in each cell that are sufficient to let molecules into the cell without traumatizing it.

Big Step for Next-Generation Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers

A big step in the development of next-generation fuel cells and water-alkali electrolyzers has been achieved with the discovery of a new class of bimetallic nanocatalysts that are an order of magnitude higher in activity than the target set by the DOE.

UC Berkeley, Berkeley Lab announce Kavli Energy NanoScience Institute

The Kavli Foundation has endowed a new institute at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to explore the basic science of how to capture and channel energy on the molecular or nanoscale and use this information to discover new ways of generating energy for human use.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
January 24, 2020
Jeff Hecht
An unprecedented blue light-emitting diode, or LED, using the inexpensive and natural mineral perovskite has been created by a team of Berkeley researchers led by chemistry professor Peidong Yang. Until now, perovskite LEDs have only put out red or green light, so the innovation offers new promise for electronic displays, but it also suggests potential instabilities in other applications, such as solar cells and transistors. For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News.
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