Carnegie Mellon University Department of Chemistry
photo of Rongchao Jin

Rongchao Jin


Carnegie Mellon University


Phone: (412) 268-9448

Fax: (412) 268-1061

Office: Mellon Institute 543

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Faculty & Research

Rongchao Jin


Research Areas

Nanoscience, Nanoparticles, Synthesis, Catalysis, Optics

Nanoparticles: Small Wonders, Endless Frontiers

Our research focuses on fundamental science and engineering questions motivated by the creation of materials on the nanometer scale (1 nm=10-9 m). Our research themes include the synthesis, characterization, and applications of nanoparticles (typically 1-100 nm in size). We are developing chemical methods for synthesizing well defined nanoparticles, including atomically precise nanoclusters, shape- and size-controlled nanocrystals, hybrid nano-architectures, and inorganic/polymer nanocomposites. In-depth characterizations of the physical and chemical properties of nanoparticles and self-assembled nanomaterials are carried out with microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, such as electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, X-ray crystallography, steady-state and ultrafast spectroscopies, etc. We also develop applications of nanoparticles in areas of catalysis, optics, chemo- and bio-sensing, and photovoltaics, etc.

Education and Appointments
Years Position or Degree
2015–present Professor of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University
2012–2015 Associate Professor of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University
2006–2012 Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University
2003–2006 Research Associate, James Franck Institute at the University of Chicago
1999–2003 Ph.D. Chemistry, Northwestern University
Awards and Distinctions
Years Award
2014, 2015, 2016 Thomson-Reuters Most Cited Faculty
2015 International Precious Metals Institute (IPMI) Advisor Award
2013 Asian Rising Star Award, Federation of Asian Chemical Societies
2011 International Precious Metals Institute Student Advisor Award
2011 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award
Selected Publications

Emergence of hierarchical structural complexities in nanoparticles and their assembly. Zeng, C.; Chen, Y.; Kirschbaum, K.; Lambright, K. J.; Jin, R. Science 2016, 354, 1580–1584.

Highly Efficient Three-Component Coupling Reaction Catalysed by Atomically Precise Ligand-Protected Au38(SC2H4Ph)24 Nanoclusters. Li, Q.; Das, A.; Wang, S.; Chen, Y.; Jin, R. Chem. Commun. 2016, 52, 14298–14301.

Evolution from the Plasmon to Exciton State in Ligand-Protected Atomically Precise Gold Nanoparticles. Zhou, M.; Zeng, C.; Chen, Y.; Zhao, S.; Sfeir, M. Y.; Zhu, M; Jin, R. Nature Communications 2016, 7, 13240.

Ultrasmall Palladium Nanoclusters as Effective Catalyst for Oxygen Reduction Reaction. Zhao, S.; Zhang, H.; House, S. D.; Jin, R.; Yang, J.; Jin, R. ChemElectroChem 2016, 3, 1225–1229.

Controlling the Atomic Structure of Au30 Nanoclusters by a Ligand-Based Strategy. Higaki, T.; Liu, C.; Zeng, C.; Jin, R.; Chen, Y.; Rosi, N. L.; Jin, R. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, 55, 6694–6697.

Heavily doped Au25–xAgx(SC6H11)18 nanoclusters: silver goes from the core to the surface. Li, Q.; Wang, S.; Kirschbaum, K.; Lambright, K.; Das, A.; Jin, R. Chem. Commun. 2016, 52, 5194–5197.

Isomerism in Au28(SR)20 Nanocluster and Stable Structures. Chen, Y.; Liu, C.; Tang, Q.; Zeng, C.; Higaki, T.; Das, A.; Jiang, D.-e.; Rosi, N. L.; Jin, R. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 1482–1485.

Gold Tetrahedra Coil up: Kekulé-like and Double Helical Superstructures. Zeng, C.; Chen, Y.; Liu, C.; Nobusada, K.; Rosi, N. L.; Jin, R. Science Advances, 2015, 1, e1500425.

Observation of Body-Centered Cubic Gold Nanocluster. Liu, C.; Li, T.; Li, G.; Nobusada, K.; Zeng, C.; Pang, G.; Rosi, N. L.; Jin, R. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 9826–9829.

Structural patterns at all scales in a nonmetallic chiral Au133(SR)52 nanoparticle. Zeng, C.; Chen, Y.; Kirschbaum, K.; Appavoo, K.; Sfeir, M. Y. and Jin, R. Science Advances 2015, 1, e1500045.

Tri-icosahedral Gold Nanocluster [Au37(PPh3)10(SC2H4Ph)10X2]+: Linear Assembly of Icosahedral Building Blocks. Jin, R.; Liu, C.; Zhao, S.; Das, A.; Xing, H.; Gayathri, C.; Xing, Y.; Rosi, N. L.; Gil, R. R.; Jin, R. ACS Nano 2015, 9, 8530–8536.

Thermally Robust Au99(SPh)42 Nanoclusters for Chemoselective Hydrogenation of Nitrobenzaldehyde Derivatives in Water. Li, G.; Zeng, C.; Jin, R. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 3673–3679.

Nonsuperatomic [Au23(SC6H11)16] Nanocluster Featuring Bipyramidal Au15 Kernel and Trimeric Au3(SR)4 Motif. Das, A.; Li, T.; Nobusada, K.; Zeng, C.; Rosi, N. L.; Jin, R. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 18264–18267.

Water-Soluble Au25(Capt)18 Nanoclusters: Synthesis, Thermal Stability, and Optical Properties.  Kumar, S.; Jin, R. Nanoscale 2012, 4, 4222–4227.

Atomically Precise Gold Nanocrystal Molecules with Surface Plasmon Resonance. Qian, H.; Zhu, Y.; Jin, R. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2012, 109, 696–700.