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CHEN Yuanzhen

Assistant Professor

Department of Physics


Brief Introduction

Dr. Chen’s research focuses on electrical transport and opto-electronic phenomena in organic semiconductors. Among a variety of topics on which the group conducts research are: polaronic transport in organic molecular crystals, dynamics of molecular excitons in organic molecular crystals, opto-electronic processes in mixed organic-inorganic perovskites, organic field-effect transistors and other novel opto-electronic devices, and many others. The group is interested in both fundamental physics and potential applications of the materials under investigation. We employ experimental techniques including variable temperature electrical transport measurements, photoluminescence, confocal microscopy, etc. We also actively collaborate with both domestic and international research groups, which brings in versatile research ideas and tools that are essential for this highly interdisciplinary field.


Research Interest

1.Polaronic transport in organic molecular crystals 

Molecules in organic molecular crystals are bonded to each other by van der Waals force, whose strength is much weaker than that of ionic or valence bonds typically found in inorganic materials. This makes electron-phonon interaction in such crystals have a much more significant effect on the motion of charge carriers, leading to the so-called polaronic transport. As of today, there lacks a consensus of how to handle such strong electron-phonon interaction, and a satisfying microscopic picture of charge transport in organic molecular crystals is missing. Meanwhile, reliable experimental data on charge transport in such materials are also very rare. To address such issues, we take effort on producing organic molecular crystals of higher purity as well as looking for new materials. We also try hard to improve existing experimental techniques as well as introduce new ones to the field. Our ultimate goal is to gain insightful understanding of charge transport in such systems. 


2.Dynamics of molecular excitons in organic molecular crystals 

As a result of the weak van der Waals force, under photo excitation, organic molecular crystals behave very differently from their inorganic counterparts. In direct band-gap inorganic semiconductors, absorption of a photon produces a pair of free electron and hole, both being delocalized. On the contrary, photo absorption in organic molecular crystals normally yields the so-called molecular excitons, which are neutral entities consisting a pair of localize electron and hole bounded by Coulombic interaction. As of today, our knowledge of dynamics of such molecular excitons is rather incomplete. Much is to be explored regarding the generation, dissociation (splitting into free electrons and holes), and diffusion (mechanism and important characteristic parameters such as diffusion length) of molecular excitons. In addition, inter-conversion of different types of excitons and their interaction with charge carriers are also very interesting topics. On this direction, our group combines electrical transport tools with optical experimental techniques such as confocal microscopy to investigate opto-electronic phenomena in some exemplary organic molecular crystals. 


3.Opto-electronic phenomena in mixed organic-inorganic perovskites 

Devices made of these perovskites exhibit outstanding opto-electronic performance. They are expected to lead to groundbreaking progress in the fields of photovoltaics and novel light sources. In sharp contrast to the rapid progress in the applied research, there is no solid understanding of the microscopic mechanism that is responsible for the above-mentioned excellent performance. On this direction, our group focuses on the generation and transport of photo-generated charge carriers. We also look for other similar new materials. 


Professional Experience

◆2015/3 - Present: Southern University of Science and Technology, Assistant Professor

◆2009/1 - 2015/2: Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Research Associate

◆2006/7 - 2008/7: University of Pennsylvania, Postdoctoral Fellow

◆2005/6 - 2006/6: University of South Carolina, Postdoctoral Fellow


Educational Background 

◆1998/9 - 2005/5: University of Maryland, Ph.D.

◆1995/9 - 1998/6: Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Semiconductors, M.S.

◆1991/9 - 1995/6: University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, B.S.


Selected Publications

◆Trap healing and ultralow-noise Hall effect at the surface of organic semiconductors, 

    B. Lee*, Y. Chen*, D. Fu, H. T. Yi, K. Czelen and V. Podzorov, Nature Mater. 12, 1125-1129 (2013)

◆Bias stress effect in “air-gap” organic field-effect transistors, 

    Y. Chen and V. Podzorov, Advanced Materials 24, 2679-2684 (2012). 

◆The origin of a 650 nm photoluminescence band in rubrene, 

    Y. Chen, B. Lee, D. Fu, and V. Podzorov, Advanced Materials 23, 5370-5375 (2011). 

◆Positive current correlations associated with super-Poissonian shot noise, 

    Y. Chen and R. A. Webb, Phys. Rev. Lett., 97, 066604 (2006) 

◆Full Shot Noise in Mesoscopic Tunnel Barriers, 

    Y. Chen and R. A. Webb, Phys. Rev. B, 73, 035424 (2006) 

(*: equal contribution). 





◆Address: Room 130, Research Building 2, Department of Physics, Southern University of Science and Technology, No. 1088, Xueyuan Rd., Xili, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China


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