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

Dr. Yang is interested in applications of quantum mechanics on materials. With the fast advance of computational capability, his group focuses on developing and employing the large-scale, first-principles simulations without adjustable parameter for understanding electronic structures and excited-state properties of solids and further predicting novel electronic, optical, thermal, and topological properties for device and energy applications.

His research tries to answer a few fundamental questions of broad applications:

  1. How electrons interact with each other and impact excited states, such as optical properties.
  2. How these fundamental excitations, such as quasiparticles, excitons, plasmons, and phonons, interact and couple with each other to form novel excitations that decide electronic, thermal, and optical properties of materials.
  3. How these excited states are modified by quantum confinement of reduced-dimensional structures and how to engineer them for novel transport, photovoltaic, and thermoelectric applications.
  4. Understanding electrical and magnetic polarization in materials and how to realize them in reduced-dimensional structures for next-generation transistors and memory devices.


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


  • Ferroelectricity and Phase Transitions in Monolayer Group-IV Monochalcogenides, Ruixiang Fei, Wei Kang, and Li Yang, Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 097601 (2016)
  • Carrier Plasmon Induced Nonlinear Band Gap Renormalization in Two-Dimensional Semiconductors, Yufeng Liang and Li Yang, Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 063001 (2015)
  • Layer-Controlled Band Gap and Anisotropic Excitons in Few-Layer Black Phosphorus, Vy Tran, Ryan Soklaski, Yufeng Liang, Li Yang, Phys. Rev. B (Editor’s Suggestion) 89, 235319 (2014)
  • Enhanced Thermoelectric Efficiency via Orthogonal Electrical and Thermal Conductances in Phosphorene, Ruixiang Fei, Alireza Faghaninia, Ryan Soklaski, Jia-An Yan, Cynthia Lo, and Li Yang, Nano Lett. 14, 2884 (2014)
  • Excitonic Effects on the Optical Response of Graphene and Bilayer Graphene, Li Yang, Jack Deslippe, Cheol-Hwan Park, Marvin L. Cohen and Steven G. Louie, Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 186802 (2009)
  • Quasiparticle Energies and Band Gaps in Graphene Nanoribbons, o Li Yang, Cheol-Hwan Park, Young-Woo Son, Marvin L. Cohen and Steven G. Louie, Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 186801 (2007)

Li Yang's Complete Publications List and Citations


2006 Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Physics
2000 M.S., Beijing Normal University, China
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

Honors and Awards

2015 Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF)
2017 Selected into the 2017 Highly Cited Researchers List by the Clarivate Analytics (Web of Science)