University of Delaware - College of Engineering



Yushan Yan

Yushan Yan
  • Distinguished Engineering Professor

377 ISE
University of Delaware
Newark, Delaware 19716
302-831-1048 (fax)

  • Doctorate - 1997 California Institute of Technology
  • Masters - 1995 California Institute of Technology
  • Bachelors - 1988 University of Science and Technology of China

"Catalysts and membranes for fuel cells, energy storage and solar hydrogen: Fuel cells have been considered promising for powering vehicles, homes, and portable electronic devices. Their widespread commercial use, however, hinges on our ability to reduce their cost and improve their durability. We have developed entirely new concepts for catalysts and membranes to drastically reduce cost and increase the durability of polymer electrolyte fuel cells, including improving the platinum nanoparticle utilization through in situ electro-deposition of platinum on carbon nanotubes directly grown on carbon paper, platinum nanotubes with much improved durability and activity over the platinum nanoparticles supported on carbon, and quaternary phosphonium based hydroxide exchange membranes with much improved conductivity and durability. We have also proposed that our new hydroxide exchange membranes and catalysts are also promising in electrolyzers and flow batteries for storage of solar and wind electricity, and for solar hydrogen generation.

Zeolite thin films: Zeolites are a class of crystalline oxides that have uniform and molecular-sized pores (3 to 12 ?). Although natural zeolites were first discovered in 1756, significant commercial development did not begin until the 1950s when synthetic zeolites with high purity and controlled chemical composition became available. Since then major commercial applications of zeolites have been developed for catalysis, adsorption, and ion exchange, mostly using zeolites in powder or power composite form. Researchers have investigated zeolite thin films within the last 20 years, but mostly for applications as separation membranes and membrane reactors. We were the first to propose, study, and demonstrate that zeolite thin films can have new, diverse, and economically significant applications that others had not previously considered. These new applications include zeolite thin films as insulators for computer chips, corrosion resistant coatings for aerospace aluminum alloys, hydrophilic and antimicrobial coatings for water separation in space. We have also explored zeolite coatings and polymer zeolite composite membranes for biomedical, antifouling, biofuel purification, fuel cell and sea water desalination applications."

XSelected Publications

For a complete listing of publications, please view the Full CV.
  1. Sheng W., Zhuang Z., Gao M., Zheng J., Chen J.G., Yan Y., "Correlating hydrogen oxidation and evolution activity on platinum at different pH with measured hydrogen binding energy", Nature Communications 6, 5848, (2015)
  2. Zhuang Z., Sheng W., Yan Y., "Synthesis of Monodispere Au@Co3O4 Core-Shell Nanocrystals and Their Enhanced Catalytic Activity for Oxygen Evolution Reaction", Advanced Materials 26, 3950, (2014)
  3. Sheng W., Bivens A.P., Myint M., Zhuang Z., Forest R.V., Fang Q., Chen J.G., Yan Y., "Non-precious metal electrocatalysts with high activity for hydrogen oxidation reaction in alkaline electrolytes", Energy & Environmental Science 7, 1719, (2014)
  4. Gu S., Xu B., Yan Y., "Electrochemical Energy Engineering: A New Frontier of Chemical Engineering Innovation", Annual Review of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 5, 429, (2014)
  5. Gu S., Gong K., Yan E.Z., Yan Y., "A multiple ion-exchange membrane design for redox flow batteries", Energy & Environmental Science 7(9), 2986, (2014)
  6. Gao M., Sheng W., Zhuang Z., Fang Q., Gu S., Jiang J., Yan Y., "Efficient Water Oxidation Using Nanostructured alpha-Nickel-Hydroxide as an Electrocatalyst", Journal of the American Chemical Society 136(19), 7077, (2014)
  7. Fang Q., Zhuang Z., Gu S., Kaspar R.B., Zheng J., Wang J., Qiu S., Yan Y., "Designed synthesis of large-pore crystalline polyimide covalent organic frameworks", Nature Communications 5, (2014)
  8. Fang Q., Gu S., Zheng J., Zhuang Z., Qiu S., Yan Y., "3D Microporous Base-Functionalized Covalent Organic Frameworks for Size-Selective Catalysis", Angewandte Chemie-International Edition 53(11), 2878, (2014)
  9. Sheng W., Myint M., Chen J.G., Yan Y., "Correlating the hydrogen evolution reaction activity in alkaline electrolytes with the hydrogen binding energy on monometallic surfaces", Energy & Environmental Science 6(5), 1509, (2013)
  10. Alia S.M., Pivovar B.S., Yan Y., "Platinum-Coated Copper Nanowires with High Activity for Hydrogen Oxidation Reaction in Base", Journal of the American Chemical Society 135(36), 13473, (2013)


  1. Polymer-zeolite nanocomposite membranes for proton-exchange-membrane fuel cells and for air separation (7,829,620): B. Holmberg, X. Wang, 2010
  2. High aluminum zeolite coatings on corrodible metals (7,179,547): D. Beving, 2007
  3. Hydrophilic zeolite coating (6,849,568): , 2005
  4. Silica zeolite low-k dielectric thin films (6,630,696): Z. Wang, H. Wang, 2003
  5. Silica zeolite low-k dielectric thin films and method for their production (6,573,131): Z. Wang, H. Wang, 2003
  6. Metal surfaces coated with molecular sieves for corrosion resistance (6,521,198): X. Cheng, Z. Wang, 2003
  7. Hydrophilic zeolite coatings (6,500,490): , 2002

XSelected Awards

For a complete listing of awards, please view the Full CV.
  1. 2011 27th Outstanding Alumni Lecture (Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences)
  2. 2010 Donald Breck Award (International Zeolite Association)
  3. 2010 Presidential Chair (University of California)
  4. 2008 6th Annual Proggy Award (Best Scientific Innovation PETA 2008 Fellow, American Association)
  5. 2008 Fellow (American Association for the Advancement of Science)
  6. 2007 Top 100 Most Cited Papers (28th) Since 1975 (Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. American Chemical Society)
  7. 2006 University Scholar (inaugural) (University of California, Riverside)
  8. 2003 Overseas Young Investigator (Chinese Academy of Sciences)
  9. 2001 Faculty Development Award (University of California, Riverside)
  10. 2000 Regent's Faculty Fellowship (University of California, Riverside)

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