Carnegie Mellon University Department of Chemistry
photo of Stefan Bernhard

Stefan Bernhard


Carnegie Mellon University


Phone: (412) 268-7419

Fax: (412) 268-1061

Office: Mellon Institute 737B

group website

Faculty & Research

Stefan Bernhard


Research Areas

Luminescent materials, solar fuels, organic photovoltaics, organic light emitting devices, circular polarized luminescence.

The Bernhard lab is interested in interconverting radiative and electrochemical energy through the use of transition metal complexes with electronically tunable architectures. That is, we study both the absorption of light to generate electrochemical potential (organic photovoltaics and artificial photosynthesis) as well as the emanation of light using electrical current (organic light emitting devices). We are also deeply involved in the exploration of chiral luminophores (and chiral ensembles) that emit circularly polarized light. Our work in this area has produced cutting-edge tools for both the characterization and prediction of polarized luminescence. In each of the above areas, it is our aspiration to precisely understand and administer the interactions that control ensemble properties by establishing clear structure-activity relationships.

Education and Appointments
Years Position or Degree
2009–present Associate Professor, Carnegie Mellon University
2002–2009 Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Princeton University
1998–2002 Postdoctoral Research Associate at Cornell University
1996–1998 Postdoctoral Research Associate at Los Alamos National Laboratory
1996 Ph.D. Chemistry, Université de Fribourg, Switzerland
Awards and Distinctions
Years Award
2006 Graduate Mentoring Award, Princeton University
2005 National Science Foundation CAREER Award
2002 Dreyfus New Faculty Award
Selected Publications

McDaniel, Neal D.; Bernhard, Stefan “Solar fuels: thermodynamics, candidates, tactics, and figures of merit” Dalton Transactions (2010), 39(42), 10021-10030.

Ellis, W. Chadwick; McDaniel, Neal D.; Bernhard, Stefan; Collins, Terrence J. “Fast Water Oxidation Using Iron” Journal of the American Chemical Society (2010), 132, 10990-10991.

Curtin, Peter N.; Tinker, Leonard L.; Burgess, Christine M.; Cline, Eric D.; Bernhard, Stefan. “Structure-Activity Correlations Among Iridium(III) Photosensitizers in a Robust Water-Reducing System” Inorganic Chemistry (2009), 48(22), 10498-10506.

Sartorel, Andrea; Carraro, Mauro; Scorrano, Gianfranco; De Zorzi; Rita; Geremia, Silvano; McDaniel, Neal D.; Bernhard, Stefan; Bonchio, Marcella “Polyoxometalate Embedding of a tetra-Ruthenium(IV)-oxo-core by Template-Directed Metalation of [γ-SiW10O36]8-: A Totally Inorganic Oxygen Evolving Catalyst” Journal of the American Chemical Society (2008), 130, 5006-5007.

Coughlin, Frederick; Westrol, Michael; Oyler, Karl; Byrne, Neal; Kraml, Christina; Zysman-Colman, Eli; Lowry, Michael; Bernhard, Stefan “Synthesis, Separation, and Circularly Polarized Luminescence Studies of Enantiomers of Iridium(III) Luminophores” Inorganic Chemistry (2008), 47(6), 2039-2048.

McDaniel, Neal D.; Coughlin, Frederick J.; Tinker, Leonard L.; Bernhard, Stefan “Cyclometalated Iridium(III) Aquo Complexes: Efficient and Tunable Catalysts for the Homogeneous Oxidation of Water” Journal of the American Chemical Society (2008), 130, 210-217.

Tinker, Leonard L.; McDaniel, Neal D.; Curtin, Peter N., Smith, Courtney K.; Ireland, Michael J.; Bernhard, Stefan “Visible Light Induced Catalytic Water Reduction without an Electron Relay” Chemistry—A European Journal (2007), 13, 8726 – 8732.

Oyler, Karl D.; Coughlin, Frederick J.; Bernhard, Stefan. “Controlling the Helicity of 2,2'-Bipyridyl Ruthenium(II) and Zinc(II) Hemicage Complexes” Journal of the American Chemical Society (2007), 129(1), 210-217.

Lowry, Michael S.; Bernhard, Stefan. “Synthetically Tailored Excited-States: Phosphorescent, Cyclometalated Iridium(III) Complexes and their Applications” Chemistry—A European Journal (2006), 12(31), 7970-7977.

Slinker, Jason D.; Gorodetsky, Alon A.; Lowry, Michael S.; Wang, Jingjing; Parker, Sara; Rohl, Richard; Bernhard, Stefan; Malliaras, George G. “Efficient Yellow Electroluminescence from a Single Layer of a Iridium Complex” Journal of the American Chemical Society (2004), 126(9), 2763-2767.