Hanning L. Chen

Assistant professor Hanning Chen
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
SEH 4510
Science & Engineering Hall (SEH)
800 22nd St. NW
Washington, District Of Columbia 20052
United States
[email protected]
The Chen Lab

Areas of Expertise

Theoretical and Computational Chemistry, Functional materials with energy-related applications, Photoconductive molecular electronics.

Hanning Chen is currently Assistant Professor of Chemistry. 

Current Research

Research in our group aims to understand the electronic structure of functional materials under various non-equilibrium conditions, such as light irradiation and bias voltage, through computer simulations. We are particularly interested in developing time-dependent optical theories for the modeling of photon-electron interaction, the fundamental driving force for numerous solar energy applications, including solar cells, water splitting and carbon capture. A tangible example is the facilitation of rapid photo-induced charge separation in plasmon-enhanced dye-sensitized solar cells by varying the shape, size, pattern, and composition of the metallic substrate nanoparticles. Another line of our research focuses on the systematic design of photoconductive molecular electronics, a promising single-electron-transport device that may potentially extend Moore’s law for the era of quantum computing. A hybrid DFT/FEM (density functional theory/finite element method) approach is being actively developed to automatically account for the polarization-corrected biased potential for a closed quantum system embedded in an open region of good conductor. In a broader context, the hybrid method can be readily employed to investigate charge migration in any photoelectrochemical system. As a computational chemistry group that enjoys preferential access to some of the world’s fastest supercomputers, we also devote a substantial amount of efforts to implement, optimize and deploy massively scalable quantum mechanics software on a wide range of modern computer architectures.


B.S. Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Science and Technology of China-Hefei, 1999

M.S. Chemistry, University of New Orleans, 2003

Ph.D. Chemistry, University of Utah, 2008

Classes Taught

Chem 3172: Physical Chemistry

Chem 6277: Chemical Bonding

Chem 6372: Physical Chemistry