Yasser Hassan is an astute nanotechnology chemist with almost two decades of experience designing and investigating cutting-edge nanoparticle applications in the energy industry. He is currently a research associate at the University of Oxford, UK and the University of Toronto, Canada. He recently published a revolutionary research paper in Nature, one of his contribution to the relatively young and blossoming community engaged in understanding the mysterious instability of lead halide perovskite materials.
Dr Hassan was born and raised in Abu Kabir, Ash-Sharqia Governorate, Egypt. He graduated from the Faculty of Science (Chemistry) at Zagazig University, Egypt in 2002 with an honorary degree. He was appointed as a teaching assistant at the same college where he also obtained his master’s degree in photochemistry and inorganic chemistry in cooperation with Ain Shams University, Egypt.
In 2010, Dr Hassan earned a fully-funded scholarship at the University of Toronto to study his PhD in materials and applied chemistry. He earned his degree in 2016. During his research as a PhD student, he developed reliable and reproducible synthetic procedures to fabricate semiconductor nanomaterials suitable for optoelectronic applications. He also acquired extensive knowledge of materials, nanochemistry, applied physics, solar energy conversion, photodetection, and photocatalytic applications.
In 2016, he commenced a postdoctoral research contract at the University of Oxford, where he performed experimental and modelling research to solve various challenges in nanomaterial-based thin-film technologies. He established an interdisciplinary nanomaterials lab and initiated an innovative research direction that continues to this day with several scientists. His research interest lies in capturing, converting, and storing solar energy in nanomaterials.
His research experience in Toronto and Oxford includes developing efficient synthetic approaches based on combining diagnostics of nanocrystal growth with probing the nanocrystals-molecular interfaces and discovering advanced, smart, and multi-functional hybrid organic-inorganic semiconductor nanomaterials for energy conversion.
Commenting on his recent work in Nature, Dr Hassan says: Today, one of the biggest challenges in materials science and energy conversion is discovering optimal materials for a long list of urgent technologies such as efficient optoelectronics, long-life batteries, sensors, effective catalysts, efficient superconductors, and quantum computing. Perovskites are incredibly exciting as their role as semiconductors could transform the way we harvest the sunlight, sense radiations, and clean nuclear waste. Studies like ours are essential in understanding how perovskites work as a material and so how they could be used in everyday life. Our recent work exemplifies how metal halide perovskites’ functionality is extremely sensitive to the nature of the nano-crystalline surface and presents a route for controlling surface defect formation and migration. This is critical for achieving band gap stability for light emission and may have a broader impact on many other applications. Our study will enable perovskites to deliver upon the promise of being remarkably versatile and tunable semiconductors. A culmination of Dr Hassan’s work in this field is perhaps best embodied in his recent publications (including Adv. Mater., JACS, and Nature). In general, Dr Hassan’s research forges new ground in sustainable materials that increase efficiency, lowers cost, and enhances renewable energy safety.
Apart from research, Dr Hassan loves teaching. “Among my goals in life is to become an accomplished educator and inspire a generation of young scientists to appreciate the wonders of nature. My teaching philosophy, which is based on more than fifteen years of instruction in chemistry and materials courses, includes mentoring both undergraduate and graduate students and incentivizing them in applied and material Chemistry to pursue research on their own. I teach students to seek solutions to academic and practical challenges by becoming critical thinkers and innovators, unbound by a single mindset.” Said Dr Hassan.
Dr Hassan is keen to inspire Arab youth to develop an intuitive understanding of the physics and chemistry of materials and to sharpen their imagination. He is a co-founder of Education Clinic, a non-profit organization (followed by ~70K) to support Arab students in their academic career development to achieve excellence in the ever dynamic and challenging global community of academia.
“To all educational institutes in the Arab world, I would like to say this: Although the number of women graduating in STEM fields is higher than the case in North America1,2, women are still under-represented: from 57% enrolled in high school to less than 32% enrolled on University to only less than 11% in academic achievements, and even less in university leadership3. This is a clear sign that we miss out on an enormous contribution from a sector that can bring different motivations, experiences, and different kinds of skills and perspectives. I believe that it is our responsibility as academics to acknowledge our implicit personal biases and assess the potential negative impact they may have in the classroom. We should all work towards creating safe environments where students can bring their whole selves, environments free of prejudice, microaggressions, where students can share their diverse ideas and perspectives.” said Dr Yasser.
“For any Arab student, both genders, always be fully engaged with and focus on your goals. To do so, we must be physically and mentally healthy, emotionally connected, strong, focused and spiritually elevated. Dream high, believe in the power Allah gave you and chase your dream while maintaining your wellbeing”. Yasser Hassan.
- Durrani, A. (2015, March 4). More Arab Women Studying STEM. U.S. News. https://www.usnews.com/education/best-arab-region-universities/articles/2015/03/04/more-arab-women-studying-stem
- Khazan, O. (2014, March 7). There Are Only 3 Countries Where Girls Feel More Comfortable With Math Than Boys. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/03/there-are-only-3-countries-where-girls-feel-more-comfortable-with-math-than-boys/284272/
- Eleraqi, A., & Salahuddin, I. (2018, December 4). Arab Women Are Left Out of University Leadership. Al-Fanar Media. https://www.al-fanarmedia.org/2018/12/arab-women-are-left-out-of-university-leadership/