Carnegie Mellon University

Stefan Bernhard

Stefan Bernhard

Professor, Chemistry


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


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.


Judicious Design of Cationic, Cyclometalated Ir(III) Complexes for Photochemical Energy Conversion and Optoelectronics
Isaac N. Mills, Jonathan A. Porras, and Stefan Bernhard, Accounts of Chemical Research Article ASAP, DOI: 10.1021/acs.accounts.7b00375

Light-Driven Hydrogen Generation from Microemulsions Using Metallosurfactant Catalysts and Oxalic Acid
Husain N. Kagalwala, Danielle N. Chirdon, Isaac N. Mills, Nikita Budwal, and Stefan Bernhard, Inorganic Chemistry 2017 56 (17), 10162-10171, DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.7b00463

A mesoionic nitrogen-donor ligand: structure, iridium coordination, and catalytic effects
Miquel Navarro, Mo Li, Stefan Bernhard and Martin Albrecht Dalton Trans., 2018, 47, 659-662 DOI: 10.1039/C7DT04555G (Communication)

Rapid Analysis of Tetrakis(dialkylamino)phosphonium Stability in Alkaline Media
C. Tyler Womble, Jamie Kang, Kristina M. Hugar, Geoffrey W. Coates, Stefan Bernhard, and Kevin J. T. Noonan, Organometallics 2017 36 (20), 4038-4046, DOI: 10.1021/acs.organomet.7b00663

Tuning Iridium Photocatalysts and Light Irradiation for Enhanced CO2 Reduction
Genoni, Andrea; Chirdon, Danielle N.; Boniolo, Manuel; Sartorel, Andrea; Bernhard, Stefan; Bonchio, Marcella, ACS Catalysis (2017), 7(1), 154-160.

Synthetically tunable iridium(III) bis-pyridine-2- sulfonamide complexes as efficient and durable water oxidation catalysts
Li, Mo; Bernhard, Stefan, Catalysis Today, Volume 290, 2017, Pages 19-27

Highly Fluorinated Ir(III)- 2,2′:6′,2′′-Terpyridine -Phenylpyridine-X Complexes via Selective C-F Activation
Porras, Jonathan; Mills, Isaac; Transue, Wesley; Bernhard, Stefan, Journal of the American Chemical Society, (2016), 138 (30), 9460–9472.

Cyano-decorated ligands: a powerful alternative to fluorination for tuning the photochemical properties of cyclometalated Ir(III) complexes
Mills, Isaac N.; Kagalwala, Husain N.; Bernhard, Stefan, Dalton Transactions (2016), 45(25), 10411-10419.

Donor- Flexible Nitrogen Ligands for Efficient Iridium-Catalyzed Water Oxidation Catalysis
Navarro, Miquel; Li, Mo; Mueller-Bunz, Helge; Bernhard, Stefan; Albrecht, Martin, Chemistry - A European Journal (2016), 22(20), 6740-6745.

Iridium(III) Bis- Pyridine-2-Sulfonamide Complexes as Efficient and Durable Catalysts for Homogeneous Water Oxidation
Li, Mo; Takada, Kazutake; Goldsmith, Jonas I.; Bernhard, Stefan, Inorganic Chemistry (2016), 55(2), 518-526.

Electron-Poor Thiophene 1,1-Dioxides: Synthesis, Characterization, and Application as Electron Relays in Photocatalytic Hydrogen Generation
Tsai, Chia-Hua; Chirdon, Danielle N.; Kagalwala, Husain N.; Maurer, Andrew B.; Kaur, Aman; Pintauer, Tomislav; Bernhard, Stefan; Noonan, Kevin J. T. Chemistry - A European Journal (2015), 21(32), 11517-11524.

Mechanistic Insight into the Dehydro-Diels-Alder Reaction of Styrene-Ynes
Kocsis, Laura S.; Kagalwala, Husain N.; Mutto, Sharlene; Godugu, Bhaskar; Bernhard, Stefan; Tantillo, Dean J.; Brummond, Kay M. Journal of Organic Chemistry (2015), 80(23), 11686-11698.

Helical mesobenzanthrones: a class of highly luminescent helicenes
Dougherty, Kelly J.; Kraml, Christina M.; Byrne, Neal; Porras, Jonathan A.; Bernhard, Stefan; Mague, Joel T.; Pascal, Robert A., Jr. Tetrahedron (2015), 71(11), 1694-1699.

Molecular water oxidation catalysts from iron
Ellis, W. Chadwick; McDaniel, Neal D.; Bernhard, Stefan
Edited by Llobet, Antoni, Molecular Water Oxidation Catalysis (2014), 153-162.


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

Awards and Distinctions

2006 Graduate Mentoring Award, Princeton University
2005 National Science Foundation CAREER Award
2002 Dreyfus New Faculty Award