Carnegie Mellon University

Stefan Bernhard

Stefan Bernhard

Professor, Chemistry


Ph.D. Chemistry, Université de Fribourg, Switzerland, 1996


Keywords: Transition Metal Complexes, Renewable Energy, Photocatalysis, Automated Science, High-Throughput Experimentation


The Bernhard lab focuses on investigating light-to-electrochemical energy conversions using synthetically tunable transition metal complexes as photosensitizers and catalysts. Our work targets processes with significant renewable energy applications, including water photolysis, CO₂-to-fuel conversions, and oxygenate reforming. Recently, we’ve embraced a maker-culture methodology, harnessing 3D printing and laser cutting to construct automated reactors. These Raspberry Pi-managed reactors monitor colorimetric changes in multi-well configurations, linking them to advancements in thermally or light-activated chemical processes. This cost-effective approach provides an excellent learning platform for automation, machine vision, and data management—critical fields for accessing the massive datasets required in AI science. Notably, our recent breakthroughs include the development of hydrogen-sensitive films, enabling the screening of hundreds of light-driven hydrogen evolution processes.

In addition to energy conversion, we explore the photophysics of transition metal complexes with optoelectronics applications. Employing a parallelized, high-throughput approach, we delve into the photophysics of thousands of chromophores, gaining insights into the fundamental structure-property relationships. Our investigations also extend to chiral luminophores that emit circularly polarized light, allowing us to develop advanced tools for characterizing and predicting such luminescence. Ultimately, our goal is to understand and manage the interactions that define ensemble properties by establishing clear structure-activity relationships.


Exploring Multidimensional Chemical Spaces: Instrumentation and Chemical Systems for the Parallelization of Hydrogen Evolving Photocatalytic Reactions
By Lopato, Eric M.; Bernhard, Stefan. Energy & Fuels (2021), 35(23), 18957-18981. Language: English, Database: CAPLUS, DOI:10.1021/acs.energyfuels.1c02168

Nickel(II) complexes based on dithiolate-polyamine binary ligand systems: crystal structures, Hirshfeld surface analysis, theoretical study, and catalytic activity study on photocatalytic hydrogen generation
By Adhikari, Suman; Bhattacharjee, Tirtha; Bhattacharjee, Sharmila; Daniliuc, Constantin Gabriel; Frontera, Antonio; Lopato, Eric M.; Bernhard, Stefan. Dalton Transactions (2021), 50(16), 5632-5643. Language: English, Database: CAPLUS, DOI:10.1039/d1dt00352f

High-Throughput Screening and Automated Data-Driven Analysis of the Triplet Photophysical Properties of Structurally Diverse, Heteroleptic Iridium(III) Complexes
By DiLuzio, Stephen; Mdluli, Velabo; Connell, Timothy U.; Lewis, Jacqueline; VanBenschoten, Victoria; Bernhard, Stefan. Journal of the American Chemical Society (2021), 143(2), 1179-1194. Language: English, Database: CAPLUS, DOI:10.1021/jacs.0c12290

High-Throughput Screening of Earth-Abundant Water Reduction Catalysts toward Photocatalytic Hydrogen Evolution
By Motz, Rachel N.; Lopato, Eric M.; Connell, Timothy U.; Bernhard, Stefan. Inorganic Chemistry (2021), 60(2), 774-781. Language: English, Database: CAPLUS, DOI:10.1021/acs.inorgchem.0c02790

Bright Single-Layer Perovskite Host-Ionic Guest Light-Emitting Electrochemical Cells
By Mishra, Aditya; DiLuzio, Stephen; Alahbakhshi, Masoud; Adams, Austen C.; Bowler, Melanie H.; Moon, Jiyoung; Gu, Qing; Zakhidov, Anvar A.; Bernhard, Stefan; Slinker, Jason D. Chemistry of Materials (2021), 33(4), 1201-1212. Language: English, Database: CAPLUS, DOI:10.1021/acs.chemmater.0c03934

Iron in a Cage: Fixation of a Fe(II)tpy2 Complex by Fourfold Interlinking
By Brandl, Thomas; Johannsen, Sven; Haeussinger, Daniel; Suryadevara, Nithin; Prescimone, Alessandro; Bernhard, Stefan; Gruber, Manuel; Ruben, Mario; Berndt, Richard; Mayor, Marcel. Angewandte Chemie, International Edition (2020), 59(37), 15947-15952. Language: English, Database: CAPLUS, DOI:10.1002/anie.202006340

High-throughput Synthesis and Screening of Iridium(III) Photocatalysts for the Fast and Chemoselective Dehalogenation of Aryl Bromides
By Mdluli, Velabo; Diluzio, Stephen; Lewis, Jacqueline; Kowalewski, Jakub F.; Connell, Timothy U.; Yaron, David; Kowalewski, Tomasz; Bernhard, Stefan. ACS Catalysis (2020), 10(13), 6977-6987. Language: English, Database: CAPLUS, DOI:10.1021/acscatal.0c02247

Relevance of Chemical vs. Electrochemical Oxidation of Tunable Carbene Iridium Complexes for Catalytic Water Oxidation
By Olivares, Marta; van der Ham, Cornelis J. M.; Mdluli, Velabo; Schmidtendorf, Markus; Mueller-Bunz, Helge; Verhoeven, Tiny W. G. M.; Li, Mo; Niemantsverdriet, J. W.; Hetterscheid, Dennis G. H.; Bernhard, Stefan; et al. European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry (2020), 2020(10), 801-812. Language: English, Database: CAPLUS, DOI:10.1002/ejic.202000090

Parallelized Screening of Characterized and DFT-Modeled Bimetallic Colloidal Cocatalysts for Photocatalytic Hydrogen Evolution
By Lopato, Eric M.; Eikey, Emily A.; Simon, Zoe C.; Back, Seoin; Tran, Kevin; Lewis, Jacqueline; Kowalewski, Jakub F.; Yazdi, Sadegh; Kitchin, John R.; Ulissi, Zachary W.; et al. ACS Catalysis (2020), 10(7), 4244-4252. Language: English, Database: CAPLUS, DOI:10.1021/acscatal.9b05404

Photostable Helical Polyfurans
By Varni, Anthony J.; Fortney, Andria; Baker, Matthew A.; Worch, Joshua C.; Qiu, Yunyan; Yaron, David; Bernhard, Stefan; Noonan, Kevin J. T.; Kowalewski, Tomasz. Journal of the American Chemical Society (2019), 141(22), 8858-8867. Language: English, Database: CAPLUS, DOI:10.1021/jacs.9b01567

Common Carbons as Water-Reducing Catalysts in Photo-Driven Hydrogen Evolution with Nitrogen-Dependent Activity
By Gottlieb, Eric; Kagalwala, Husain N.; Mohin, Jacob; Budwal, Nikita; Amsterdam, Samuel; Lamson, Melissa; Matyjaszewski, Krzysztof; Bernhard, Stefan; Kowalewski, Tomasz. ChemNanoMat (2018), 4(10), 1039-1042. Language: English, Database: CAPLUS, DOI:10.1002/cnma.201800167

Influence of Atomic-Level Morphology on Catalysis: The Case of Sphere and Rod-Like Gold Nanoclusters for CO2 Electroreduction
By Zhao, Shuo; Austin, Natalie; Li, Mo; Song, Yongbo; House, Stephen D.; Bernhard, Stefan; Yang, Judith C.; Mpourmpakis, Giannis; Jin, Rongchao. ACS Catalysis (2018), 8(6), 4996-5001. Language: English, Database: CAPLUS, DOI:10.1021/acscatal.8b00365

Optimization of Synthetically Versatile Pyridylidene Amide Ligands for Efficient Iridium-Catalyzed Water Oxidation
By Navarro, Miquel; Smith, Christene A.; Li, Mo; Bernhard, Stefan; Albrecht, Martin. Chemistry - A European Journal (2018), 24(24), 6386-6398. Language: English, Database: CAPLUS, DOI:10.1002/chem.201705619

Chiral macrocyclic terpyridine complexes
By Brandl, Thomas; Hoffmann, Viktor; Pannwitz, Andrea; Haussinger, Daniel; Neuburger, Markus; Fuhr, Olaf; Bernhard, Stefan; Wenger, Oliver S.; Mayor, Marcel. Chemical Science (2018), 9(15), 3837-3843. Language: English, Database: CAPLUS, DOI:10.1039/C7SC05285E

Solar Fuel GenerationStructural and Functional Evolution of Iridium PhotosensitizersSolar Fuel Generation: Structural and Functional Evolution of Iridium Photosensitizers
By Kagalwala, Husain N.; Chirdon, Danielle N.; Bernhard, Stefan. Edited By:Zysman-Colman, Eli. Iridium (III) in Optoelectronic and Photonics Applications (2017), 1, 583-615. Language: English, Database: CAPLUS, DOI:10.1002/9781119007166.ch12


Years Position
2014–present Professor, Carnegie Mellon University
2009–2014 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

Awards and Distinctions

Years Award
2019 Fellow, Scott Energy Center
2006 Graduate Mentoring Award, Princeton University
2005 National Science Foundation CAREER Award
2002 Dreyfus New Faculty Award