Grace Han

Grace Han, Brandeis ChemistryAssistant Professor of Chemistry
Landsman Career Development Chair in the Sciences

Research Group Website


Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Postdoc
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PhD
POSTECH, Pohang, South Korea, BS


Grace Han research imageResearch in our group focuses on developing a wide range of versatile and unique optically controlled molecular switches for energy conversion/storage and optoelectronic applications. Photo-switchable molecular systems are triggered by absorbing light and rapidly respond via structural change that provides control over a broad array of properties in diverse organic and inorganic systems. These reversible switches allow for the repeatable operation of energy harvesting schemes on a large scale as well as the discrete on/off modulation of nanoscale devices via their structural and electrical changes at the molecular level. The organic switches provide such opportunities across different length scales due to the ease of the molecular level design and prediction of collective properties in the bulk.

In our group, we will investigate the integration of the structural design of tailored photo-switches with the fabrication of solid-state devices ranging from large-scale thermal batteries and de-icing films to nanoscale electronic devices. We predict that novel photo-switches will have transformative impact in thermal energy storage, solar energy conversion, and molecular electronics and optoelectronics.

Selected Publications

  • Efficient Electrocatalytic Switching of Azoheteroarenes in the Condensed Phases. Greenfield JL, Gerkman MA, Gibson RSL, Han GGD, Fuchter MJ. J Am Chem Soc. 2021 Sep 22;143(37):15250-15257. doi: 10.1021/jacs.1c06359. 
  • Design of phase-transition molecular solar thermal energy storage compounds: compact molecules with high energy densities. Qiu Q, Gerkman MA, Shi Y, Han GGD. Chem Commun (Camb). 2021 Sep 16;57(74):9458-9461. doi: 10.1039/d1cc03742k.
  • Solar Energy Conversion and Storage by Photoswitchable Organic Materials in Solution, Liquid, Solid, and Changing Phases. Qiu Q, Shi Y, and Han GGD* J. Mater. Chem. C, 2021,9, 11444-11463C 2021. DOI: 10.1039/D1TC01472B
  • Sunlight-Activated Phase Change Materials for Controlled Heat Storage and Triggered Release. Shi Y, Gerkman MA, Qiu Q, Zhang S, and Han GGD* J. Mater. Chem. A 2021, 9, 9798–9808.
  • Self-Assembly of Bowlic Supramolecules on Graphene Imaged at the Individual Molecular Level using Heavy Atom Tagging. Kengmana ES, Lee JK, Li X, Warner JH, and Han GGD.* Small 2020, 16, 2002860.
  • Toward Controlled Thermal Energy Storage and Release in Organic Phase Change Materials. Gerkman MA, and Han  GGD.*  Joule 2020, 4, 1621–1625.
  • Arylazopyrazoles for Long-Term Thermal Energy Storage and Optically-Triggered Heat Release below 0 °C. Gerkman MA,  Gibson RSL, Calbo J, Shi Y, Fuchter MJ*, and Han GGD.*  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 8688–8695. *Featured by JACS Spotlight and C&EN News
  • Solid-State Photoswitching Molecules: Structural Design for Isomerization in Condensed Phase. Gonzalez A, Kengmana ES, Fonseca MV, and Han GGD.*  Mater. Today Adv. 2020, 6, 100058.
  • Precursor Design for High Density Single Pt Atom Sites on MoS2: Enhanced Stability at Elevated Temperatures and Reduced 3D Clustering. Li X, Lee JK, Lu Y, Gerkman MA, Kengmana ES, Fonseca MV, Warner JH, and Han GGD.* Chem. Mater. 2020, 32, 2541–2551.
  • Direct Imaging of Individual Molecular Binding to Clean Nanopore Edges in 2D Monolayer MoS2. Gerkman MA, Lee JK, Li X, Zhang Q, Windley M, Fonseca MV, Lu Y, Warner JH, and Han GGD.*  ACS Nano 2020, 1, 153–165. *Highlighted by ACS In Nano
  • Phase Transition of Spiropyrans: Impact of Isomerization Dynamics at High Temperatures. Gerkman MA, Yuan S, Duan P,  Taufan J, Schmidt-Rohr K, and Han GGD.* Chem. Commun. 201955, 5813–5816.
  • Direct Imaging of Photoswitching Molecular Conformations Using Individual Metal Atom Markers. Gerkman MA, Sinha S, Warner JH, and Han GGD.* ACS Nano 201913, 87–96. *Highlighted by ACS In Nano