Advisory Board

Dr. Yong Zhang

The article Nanoscale “Coaxial Cables” for Solar Energy Harvesting said

Scientists have designed a new type of nanowire — a tiny coaxial cable — that could vastly improve a few key renewable energy technologies, particularly solar cells, and could even impact other cutting-edge, developing technologies, such as quantum computing and nanoelectronics.
“Our nanowires were designed to provide this feature, along with a superior electrical conductivity,” said NREL materials scientist Yong Zhang, the study’s corresponding researcher, to “Both of these properties are critical in order for renewable energy devices to reach their ultimate efficiency limits.”
“We can tailor the properties of these cables to address the specific problems associated with each application,” said Zhang. “Beyond renewable energy applications, they could have exciting uses ranging from quantum computing to nanoelectronics.”

Yong Zhang, Ph.D. is Senior Scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) which is the USA’s primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development (R&D).
NREL’s mission and strategy are focused on advancing the U.S. Department of Energy’s and our nation’s energy goals. The laboratory’s scientists and researchers support critical market objectives to accelerate research from scientific innovations to market-viable alternative energy solutions. At the core of this strategic direction are NREL’s research and technology development areas. These areas span from understanding renewable resources for energy, to the conversion of these resources to renewable electricity and fuels, and ultimately to the use of renewable electricity and fuels in homes, commercial buildings, and vehicles. The laboratory thereby directly contributes to our nation’s goal for finding new renewable ways to power our homes, businesses, and cars.
Yong’s primary research interest is the experimental (spectroscopy) and theoretical (band structure calculation) study of electronic and optical properties of semiconductors including:

  • Exciton in quantum-confined structures
  • Impurity and defect in semiconductors
  • Disorder and spontaneous ordering in semiconductor alloys
  • Electron-phonon coupling
  • Effects of high pressure and magnetic field
  • Photovoltaics and solid state lighting
  • Inorganic-organic hybrid semiconductors
  • Propagation of electronic and electromagnetic wave in anisotropic media.
He recently authored “Quantum coaxial cables” for solar energy harvesting (Nano. Lett., 2007), Novel approach to tuning physical properties of organic-inorganic hybrid semiconductors (Phys. Rev. Lett.,2006), Zero thermal expansion in a nanostructured inorganic-organic hybrid crystal (Phys. Rev. Lett., 2007), Systematic approach to distinguishing a perturbed host state from an impurity state in a supercell calculation for a doped semiconductor: using GaP:N as an example (Phys. Rev. B-Rapid Commun., 2006), Optical transitions in isoelectronically doped semiconductor GaP:N: an evolution from isolated centers, pairs, clusters to an impurity band (Phys. Rev. B 62, 2000), Dependence of the band structure on the order parameter for partially ordered GaxIn1-xP alloys (Phys. Rev. B-Rapid Commun., 2001), Effects of excitons on solar cells (J. Appl. Phys., 1998), and Total and negative refraction in real crystals for ballistic electrons and light (Phys. Rev. Lett., 2003). Read the extended list of his publications associated with NREL!
Yong earned his B.S. in Physics from Xiamen University, China in 1982, his M.S. in Semiconductor Physics from Xiamen University, China in 1985, and his Ph.D. in Solid State Physics, from Dartmouth College, USA (with Prof. M. D. Sturge) in 1994. He is a member of the American Physical Society and the Materials Research Society. He has authored more than 120 scientific publications, including a number of invited review papers and book chapters.