yang photo

Li Yang

Associate Professor

Office Contact Information

369 Compton

Physics Department, CB 1105
Washington University
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899, USA

(314) 935-9453
(314) 935-6219

Research Interests

With the fast advance of computational capability, the first-principles method without adjustable parameter has been widely used to study various materials and obtained satisfying results. Dr. Yang is interested in applying this powerful tool to study the electronic structure and optical response of solids and design novel functional materials. Moreover, he is developing new methods to study correlated systems which have not been understood well yet. Here are three specific directions Dr. Yang's group is interested in.

  1. Photovoltaic materials. Dr. Yang applies first-principles method to studying excitonic effects on their optical properties, which is not only helpful to predict optimized structures for high-efficient solar cells but also important to understand fundamental physics in these useful materials.
  2. Silicon and carbon based nanostructures. Dr. Yang is interested in quantum confinement effect on the electronic structure and optical properties of these small-sized materials. In particular, how the optical response of these nanostructures is modified by their size, defect and chemical environment is his current researching interest.
  3. The electronic structure and optical properties of transition metal oxides (TMOs). TMOs are compounds with a uniquely wide range of electronic properties. Dr. Yang is interested to find a general method with many-body effects accurately included, which gives precise and consistent results of these correlated systems.

Dr. Yang is seeking motivated graduate students and postdocs to join his group. Interested undergraduate students are encouraged to take part in relevant researches.


  • Graphene at the Edge: Stability and Dynamics, Caglar Girit, Jannik C. Meyer, C. Kisielowski, Li Yang, Cheol-Hwan Park, M. F. Crommie, Marvin L. Cohen, Steven G. Louie, and A. Zettl, Science 323, 1705 (2009)
  • Magnetic Edge-State Excitons in Zigzag Graphene Nanoribbons, Li Yang, Marvin L. Cohen and Steven G. Louie, Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 186401 (2008)
  • Anisotropic Behaviours of Massless Dirac Fermions in Graphene under Periodic Potentials, Cheol-Hwan Park, Li Yang, Young-Woo Son, Marvin L. Cohen and Steven G. Louie, Nature Physics 4, 213 (2008)
  • Quasiparticle Energies and Band Gaps of Graphene Nanoribbons, Li Yang, Cheol-Hwan Park, Young-Woo Son, Marvin L. Cohen and Steven G. Louie, Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 186801 (2007)
  • Quantum Confinement and Electronic Properties of Silicon Nanowires, Xinyuan Zhao, C. M. Wei, L. Yang, and M. Y. Chou, Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 236805 (2004)

Li Yang's Complete Publications List and Citations


2006 Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Physics
1997 B.A., Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China, Physics


Professional History

2015-present Associate Professor, Washington University
2009-2015 Assistant Professor, Washington University
2006-2009 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory