Li Yang

Li Yang

Professor of Physics
Albert Gordon Hill Professor of Physics
research interests:
  • Condensed Matter Theory
  • Material Physics

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
    MSC 1105-109-03
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

Professor Yang is interested in combining physics models and large-scale simulations to understand quantum mechanics in materials and predict novel properties for device and energy applications.

With the fast advance of computational capability, Yang's group focuses on developing and employing the large-scale, first-principles simulations without adjustable parameters for understanding electronic structures and excited-state properties of solids and further predicting novel electronic, optical, thermal, and topological properties for applications.

Yang's research tries to answer a few fundamental questions of broad applications: 1) How electrons interact with each other and impact excited states, such as optical properties; 2) How these fundamental excitations, such as quasiparticles, excitons, plasmons, and phonons, interact and couple with each other to form novel excitations that decide electronic, thermal, and optical properties of materials; 3) How these excited states are modified by quantum confinement of reduced-dimensional structures and how to engineer them for novel transport and energy applications; 4) Understanding electrical and magnetic polarization in materials and how to realize them in reduced-dimensional structures for next-generation transistors and memory devices.

Professional History

2020-present: Professor, Washington University 
2015-2020: Associate Professor, Washington University
2009-2015: Assistant Professor, Washington University
2006-2009: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley

Awards & Honors

2017 The Highly Cited Researchers List by Clarivate Analytics (Web of Science)
2015 The Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF)

recent courses

Electricity and Magnetism (Physics 421)

The first course in a two part series covering the classical theory of electricity and magnetism leading to the derivation an application of Maxwell's equations. Vector algebra and calculus, electrostatics and magnetostatics in vacuum and in materials, Coulomb's Law, the Biot-Savart law, Gauss' law, and Ampere's law are covered. Multipole expansions and the solution of boundary-value problems by separation of variable, and the method of images are discussed.

    Solid State Physics (Physics 472)

    Crystal structures, binding energies, thermal properties, dielectrics, magnetism, free electron theory of metals, band theory, semiconductors, defects in solids.

      Classical Electrodynamics I (Physics 505)

      Classical electromagnetism in microscopic and macroscopic forms: electromagnetic fields of and forces between charged particles. Applications to electrostatic, magnetostatic, electrodynamic, and radiation problems.

        Solid State Physics II (Physics 550)

        Band magnetism and local moments, Ising models, electron-electron and electron-phonon interactions, superconductivity.

          Quantum Mechanics (Physics 471)

          Origins of quantum theory, wave packets and uncertainty relations, Schroedinger's equation in one dimension, step potentials and harmonic oscillators, eigenfunctions and eigenvalues, Schroedinger's equation in three dimensions, the hydrogen atom, symmetry, spin and the periodic table, approximation methods for time independent problems, quantum statistics.

            Solid State Physics I (Physics 549)

            Quantum theory of phonons in solids, thermodynamical properties, band theory of solids, free-electron and tight-binding approaches to electronic structure.