Wei You

Wei You

Professor of Chemistry and Applied Physical Sciences and Department Chairperson

   Kenan Laboratories C540, 257B (Chair's Office)
   919-962-6197, 919-962-4358
  Group Website
  Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Organic/Polymer Synthesis, Solar Cells, Molecular Electronics/Spintronics

Research Synopsis

Given the interdisciplinary nature of our research projects, it is rather difficult — and perhaps unnecessary — to put a specific label on individual projects. In terms of applications, we are researching solar cells, electronic/spintronic devices, dental/bone repair, and cancer curing, among others.
Regarding materials we are actively developing include conjugated organic/polymers, biocompatible polymers, traditional polymers, and inorganic/organic hybrids. Our strengths are in chemistry, including design and synthesis of organic molecules and polymers, and also exploring new polymerization methodologies.
Our mission is to apply innovative approaches to develop novel materials for various applications. You can visit our group website for more information and related publications

Professional Background

B.S., Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China, 1999; Ph.D., Organic/Polymer Chemistry, University of Chicago, 2004; Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University, 2004-2006; Excellent Student Fellowship, First Prize, from University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, P. R. China, 1995; Panasonic Scholarship, 1996; P&G Scholarship, 1997; Excellent Student Fellowship, 1998; Excellent Thesis of USTC, 1999; Outstanding Leadership and Dedication, Consulate General of the People's Republic of China, 2002; Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research, American Chemical Society, 2004; DuPont Science and Engineering Grant, 2007-2008; DuPont Young Professor Award, 2008-2010; R.J. Reynolds Junior Faculty Development Award, 2008-2009; NSF CAREER Award, 2010-2015; Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2011; Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, 2011; CAPA Distinguished Junior Faculty Award, 2012; Two publications were "the hottest research of 2011" by Thomas Reuters, 2012; One publication was selected as one of the top 9 articles out of 1300+ for "Best of Macromolecular Journals 2012" by Wiley, 2013; Ruth and Phillip Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement, 2013; Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry, FRSC, 2017; “World Highly Cited Researchers” by Web of Science Group, 2019; Nano Research Young Innovator Award in Nanoenergy, Springer, 2019.

Research Group

The You Group focuses on the synthesis and characterization of novel multifunctional materials for a variety of applications, predominately in electronics and photonics. Our approaches are truly interdisciplinary, interfacing chemistry, physics, materials science and engineering. Students and postdoctoral fellows in the group are exposed to and trained in organic and polymer synthesis, surface chemistry, nano-patterning, device fabrication and physical properties characterization using state-of-the-art instrumentation.

News & Publications

This review focuses on applications of ALD in DSPECs for the preparation of solar fuels based on modified semiconductor surfaces. In this area, ALD has been used to prepare core/shell structures that modify surface-interfacial electron transfer, to prepare structures that stabilize surface-bound chromophores and catalysts, and for the preparation of overlayer structures that stabilize electrodes for water oxidation and photocathodes for H-2 or CO2 reduction.


This study highlights a single-donor polymer which, when paired with an archetypal fullerene, polymer, and FREA, results in systems that are largely insensitive to donor Mn. Our results may have implications in polymer batch-to-batch reproducibility, in particular, relaxing the need for tight Mn control during synthesis.