Otto-Hahn Medal and Otto-Hahn Award for Qun Yang

June 21, 2023

Dr. Qun Yang belong to the Topological Quantum Chemistry department has been awarded both the precious Otto-Hahn-Medal and the Otto Hahn Award as one of the leading young researchers at Max Planck Society.

We sincerely congratulate Dr. Qun Yang being awarded by the Otto-Hahn-Medal and the Otto-Hahn Award for her excellent work on the theories of topological and chiral catalysis, including the prediction of novel highly efficient topological catalysts for water splitting and interpretation about homo-chiral absorption of molecules on the surfaces of topological chiral materials based on their spin/orbital textures.

The search for high-efficiency electrocatalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) is one of the hottest and most important topics for a sustainable hydrogen economy. Qun pioneered a new way to design highly efficient HER catalysts through topological band structure engineering. Through this novel theoretical concept, chiral crystals based on Pt group metals have realized the recorded high intrinsic HER activities. This finding remarkably breaks the performance record of normal noble metal electrocatalysts in HER. These chiral crystals also show great potential for exploring chirality due to their exotic chemical and physical properties. What Qun has discovered is that the strong orbital polarization in chiral crystals could be the intrinsic reason for the asymmetric adsorption of chiral molecules on the surfaces of topological chiral semimetals. This discovery reveals the link between electronic structure and asymmetry adsorption behaviors, and also provides a possible explanation for how chirality arises in nature.


Each year, the Max Planck Society honours the Otto Hahn Medal to 30 young researchers for their outstanding achievements in their Ph.D. studies. Only three of them has the chance to obtain the Otto Hahn Award, which is aimed to provide highly qualified junior scientists with a great opportunity to work abroad after finishing their doctorate and to start their scientific career as an Otto Hahn Group Leader within the Max Planck Society.

This year, Dr. Qun Yang is the recipient of the Otto Hahn Award in Chemistry, Physics and Technology Division. After a two-year post-doctoral period at a foreign institution, she is going to build up her own research group at a Max Planck Institute by her choice.

The Otto Hahn Medal was presented to both and the Otto Hahn Award to Qun Yang  on the occasion of the Annual Meeting of the Max Planck Society in Göttingen on Wednesday, 21 June 2023.

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