Professional Background:

2013-Present: Assistant Professor, Physics & Astronomy, University of Kansas
2009-2012: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Center for Nano and Molecular Science, University of Texas at Austin
2007-2009: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


2007: PhD, Materials Science, Brown University
2003: MSc, Materials Science, Brown University
2001: BSc, Materials Science, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Honors Awards:

Outstanding Thesis, Division of Engineering, Brown University, 2007
William N. Findley Award for best graduate student paper, Division of Engineering, Brown University, 2006
Graduate Student Silver Award, Materials Research Society, 2005

Research Interests:

Tackling global warming is one of the major challenges facing our world in the 21st century.  In order to reduce the production of green house gases, we must develop efficient and economy renewable energy sources. Sunlight is the most viable source to power our planet due to its abundance.  The major goal of our group is to understand the physical mechanisms behind the next generation of photovoltaics and photocatalyst and to devise design principle for increasing the efficiency. 
More specifically, our research will be focused on understanding the fundamental electronic processes, such as exciton transport and charge transfer, in molecular solids, conjugated polymers, and oxide materials. These materials have been used in applications ranging from light harvesting to flexible electronics. However, the excited state dynamics of these materials are poorly understood. Using novel experimental techniques such as time-resolved two photon photoemission spectroscopy and other optical pump-probe techniques, we will probe the dynamics of photoexcited electrons and molecules in an ultrafast timescale (10-14 – 10-9 s). A better understanding of these processes will help us to design cost-effective ways to harvest solar energy. In particular, we are interested in applying the fundamental knowledge we gained to applications such as organic solar cell and photo-catalyst for hydrogen fuel generation.

Selected publications:

  1. A. E. Jailaubekov, A. Willard, J. R. Tritsch, W. –L. Chan, N. Sai, R. Gearba, L. G. Kaake, K. J. Williams, K. Leung, P. J. Rossky, and X. –Y. Zhu, “Hot Charge Transfer Excitons Set the Time Limit for Charge Separation at Donor/Acceptor Interfaces in Organic Photovoltaics”, Nature Materials 12, 66 (2013).
  2. W. –L. Chan, J. R. Tritsch, and X. –Y. Zhu, “Harvesting singlet fission for solar energy conversion: one versus two electron transfer from the quantum mechanical superposition”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 134, 18295 (2012).
  3. W. –L. Chan, M. Ligges, and X. –Y. Zhu, “The energy barrier in singlet fission can be overcome through coherent coupling and entropy gain”, Nature Chemistry 4, 840 (2012).
  4. W. –L. Chan, M. Ligges, A. Jailaubekov, L. Kaake, L. Miaja-Avila, and X. –Y. Zhu, “Observing the Multi-Exciton State in Singlet Fission and Ensuing Ultrafast Multi-Electron Transfer”, Science, 334, 1541 (2011).
  5. W. –L. Chan, R. S. Averback, and Y. Ashkenazy, “Anisotropic atomic motion at undercooled crystal-melt interfaces”, Phys. Rev. B (Rapid Communication) 82, 020201(R) (2010).
  6. W. L. Chan, R. S. Averback, D. G. Cahill, and Y. Ashkenazy, “Solidification velocities in deeply undercooled silver”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 095701 (2009).
  7. W. L. Chan, R. S. Averback, D. G. Cahill, and A. Lagoutchev, “Dynamics of femtosecond laser induced melting in silver”, Phys. Rev. B 78, 214107 (2008).
  8. W. L. Chan, K. Zhao, N. Vo, Y. Ashkenazy, D. G. Cahill, and R. S. Averback, “Stress induced in platinum thin films by low energy ion irradiation”, Phys. Rev. B. 77, 205405 (2008).
  9. V. B. Shenoy, W. L. Chan, and E. Chason, “Compositionally modulated ripples induced by sputtering of alloy surfaces”, Phys. Rev. Lett., 98, 256101 (2007). (featured in Editors’ suggestions).
  10. W. L. Chan and E. Chason, “Making Waves: Kinetic processes controlling surface evolution during low energy ion sputtering”, J. Appl. Phys., 101, 121301 (2007).
  11. W. L. Chan and E. Chason, “Sputter Ripples and Radiation-enhanced surface kinetics on Cu(001)”, Phys. Rev. B 72, 165418 (2005).
  12. W. L. Chan, N. Pavenayotin, and E. Chason, “Kinetics of ion-induced ripple formation on Cu(001) surfaces”, Phys. Rev. B 69, 245413 (2004).



Wai-Lun Chan

Assistant Professor
Condensed Matter Physics
1079 Malott Hall

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