Department of Chemistry



Raúl Hernández Sánchez

Assistant Professor


1113 CHVRN
Chevron Science Center, 219 Parkman Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15260

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Research Overview

We are a research group interested in combining supramolecular, inorganic, and materials chemistry to synthesize functional systems that bridge the gap between nanoscale materials and molecular chemistry. Our research is focused at developing new synthetic methodologies to access well-defined nanometer-sized clusters where we can investigate surface structure-function relationships relevant in catalytic and magnetic materials. Other efforts in the Hernández Sánchez (HS) group are aimed at designing and synthesizing structural analogues of carbon nanotubes where exquisite control of the resulting framework allows for properties manipulation.

Students in the HS group will engage in synthetic chemistry and develop familiarity with a range of spectroscopic, electrochemical, crystallographic and magnetic techniques. While rooted in synthetic chemistry, research in the HS group will interface with materials, organic, theory, and physical chemistry.



  • Columbia Nano Initiative Postdoctoral Research Scientist Fellowship (2016-2018)
  • Featured in "Las 30 promesas" (The 30 promises) emitted by Grupo Editorial Expansion (2015)
  • CONACYT/Fundación México en Harvard Fellowship and Research Award (2010-2012)
  • Research Assistant Scholarship, Caltech (2008)
  • Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), Caltech (2007)
  • Xorge A. Domínguez Scholarship, ITESM (2005-2010)


“Tubularenes,” S. Mirzaei, E. Castro, R. Hernández Sánchez. Chem. Sci 2020, 11 31, 8089
“Stringing The PDI Bow,” Liu, T.; Yang, J.; Geyer, F.; Conrad-Burton, F.; Hernández Sánchez, R.; Li, H.; Zhu, X.; Xiao, S.; Nuckolls, C.; Steigerwald, M. Angew Chem. Int. Ed 2020, 14303
“Controlling Singlet Fission by Molecular Contortion,” Conrad-Burton, F.; Liu, T.; Geyer, F.; Costantini, R.; Schlaus, A.; Spencer, M.; Wang, J.; Hernández Sánchez, R.; Zhang, B.; Xu, Q.; Steigerwald, M.; Xiao, S.; Li, H.; Nuckolls, C.; Zhu, X.  J. Am. Chem. Soc 2019, 141, 13143
“Exposing the inadequacy of redox formalisms by resolving redox inequivalence within isovalent clusters,” Bartholomew, A. K.;† Teesdale, J. J.; Hernández Sánchez, R.; Malbrecht, B.J.; Juda, C. E.; Ménard, G.; Bu, W.; Iovan, D. A.; Mikhailine, A. A.; Zheng, S.-L.; Sarangi, R.; Wang, S. G.; Chen, Y.-S.; Betley, T.A. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci 2019, 15836
“Defying Strain in the Synthesis of an Electroactive Bilayer Helicene,” C.Milton, M.; Schuster, N.; Paley, D. W.; Hernández Sánchez, R.; Ng, F.; Steigerwald, M. L.; Nuckolls, C. Chem. Sci. 2019, 10, 1029
“Thermally persistent high spin ground states in octahedral iron clusters,” Hernández Sánchez, R.; Betley, T. A. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 16792
“Electron cartography in clusters,” Hernández Sánchez, R.*; Champsaur, A. M.; Paley, D. W.; Choi, B.; Wang, S. G.; Bu, W.; Roy, X.; Chen. Y.-S.*; Steigerwald, M. L.*; Nuckolls, C*. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, 57, 13815
“A Helicene Nanoribbon with Greatly Amplified Chirality,” Schuster, N.; Hernández Sánchez, R.; Bukharina, D.; Kotov, N. A.; Berova, N.; Ng, F.; Steigerwald, M. L.; Nuckolls, C. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 6235
“Hollow Organic Semiconductors Assemble into Cellular Semiconductors,” Zhang, B.;§ Hernández Sánchez, R.;§ Zhong, Y.; Ball, M.; Terban, M. W.; Paley, D.; Billinge, S. J. L.; Ng, F.; Steigerwald, M. L.; Nuckolls, C., § = equal contribution Nat. Commun. 2018, 9 , 1957
“Molecular Materials for Nonaqueous Flow Batteries with a High Coulombic Efficiency and Stable Cycling,” Milton, M.; Cheng, Q.; Yang, Y.*; Nuckolls, C.*; Hernández Sánchez, R.*; Sisto, T.* Nano Lett. 2017, 17, 7859
“Towards Catalytic Ammonia Oxidation to Dinitrogen: A Synthetic Cycle Using a Simple Manganese Complex,” Keener, M.; Peterson, M.; Hernández Sánchez, R.; Oswald, V. F.; Wu, G.; Ménard, G.* Chem. Eur. J. 2017, 23, 11479
“Materials Platforms for Non-Aqueous Flow Batteries with High Coulombic Efficiency and Stable Cycling,” Milton, M.; Cheng, Q.; Yang, Y.*; Nuckolls, C.*; Hernández Sánchez, R.*; Sisto, T.* Nano Lett. 2017, 17, 7859–7863
“Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes: Mimics of Biological Ion Channels,” Amiri, H.; Shepard, K.*; Nuckolls, C.*; Hernández Sánchez, R.* Nano Lett. 2017, 17, 1204
“Mechanistic Insight Into High-Spin Iron(I)-Catalyzed Butadiene Dimerization,” Lee, H.; Campbell, M. G.; Hernández Sánchez, R.; Börgel, J.; Raynaud, J.; Parker, S. E.; Ritter, T. “ Organometallics 2016, 35, 2923
“Specroscopic, structural and computational analysis of [Re(CO)3(dippM)Br]n+ (dippM = 1,1’-bis(diiso-propylphosphino)metallocene, M = Fe, n = 0 or 1; M = Co, n = 1),” Furneaux, A. G.; Piro, N. A.; Hernández Sánchez, R.; Garmigna, K. M.; Fey, N.; Robinson, M. J.; Kassel, W. S.; Nataro, C. Dalton Trans. 2016, 45, 4819
“Structural, Computational, and Spectroscopic Investigation of [Pd(k3-1,1’-bis(di-tert-butylphosphino)ferrocenediyl)X]+ (X = Cl, Br, I) Compounds,” Blass, B. L.; Hernández Sánchez, R.; Decker, V. A.; Robinson, M. J.; Piro, N. A.; Kassel, W. S.; Diaconescu, P. L.; Nataro, C. “ Organometallics 2016, 35, 462
“Maximizing electron exchange in a [Fe3] cluster,” Hernández Sánchez, R.; Bartholomew, A.; Powers, T.; Ménard, G.; Betley, T. A. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 2235
“Meta-Atom Behavior in Clusters Revealing Large Spin Ground States,” Hernández Sánchez, R.; Betley, T. A. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137, 13949
“Synthesis of Well-Defined Bicapped Octahedral Iron Clusters [(trenL)2Fe8(PMe2Ph)2]n (n = 0, –1),” Hernández Sánchez, R.; Willis, A. M.; Zheng, S.-L.; Betley, T. A. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 12009
“Probing the role of an FeIV tetrazene in catalytic aziridination,” Cramer, S. A.; Hernández Sánchez, R.; Brakhage, D. F.; Jenkins, D. M. Chem. Commun. 2014, 50, 13967
“Formation of a Heterobimetallic Zirconium/Cobalt Diimido Complexes via a Four-Electron Transformation,” Wu, B.; Hernández Sánchez, R.; Bezpalko, M. W.; Foxman, B. M.; Thomas, C. M. “ Inorg. Chem. 2014, 53, 10021
“Synthesis of Open-Shell, Bimetallic Mn/Fe Trinuclear Clusters,” Powers, T. M.; Gu, N. X.; Fout, A. R.; Baldwin, A. M.; Hernández Sánchez, R.; Alfonso, D. M.; Chen, Y.-S.; Zheng, S.-L; Betley, T. A. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 14448
“Metal atom lability in polynuclear complexes,” Eames, E.; Hernández Sánchez, R.; Betley, T. A. Inorg. Chem. 2013, 56, 5006
“A Remarkably Active Iron Catecholate Immobilized in a Porous Organic Polymer,” Kraft, S. J.; Hernández Sánchez, R.; Hock, A. S. ACS Catal. 2013, 3, 826
“Disulfide reductive elimination from an iron(III) complex,” Wong, L. J.; Hernández Sánchez, R.; Glancy Logan, J.; Zarkesh, R. A.; Ziller, J. W.; Heyduk, A. F. Chem. Sci. 2013, 4, 1906
“Expanded Redox Accessibility via Ligand Substitution in an Octahedral Fe6Br6 Cluster,” Harris, T. D.; Zhao, Q.; Hernández Sánchez, R.; Betley, T. A. Chem. Commun. 2011, 47, 6344
“Cation nonstoichiometry in yttrium-doped barium zirconate: phase behavior, microstructure, and proton conductivity,” Yamazaki, Y.; Hernandez-Sanchez, R.; Haile, S. M. J. Mater. Chem. 2010, 20, 8158-8166
“The Fabrication of nanoparticle CsH2PO4 Electrolyte for Fuel Cell Applications,” Telila, H.; Mamo, T.; Hernandez Sanchez, R. Caltech Undergraduate Research Journal 2009, 9 1, 33-39
“High Total Proton Conductivity in Large-Grained Yttrium-Doped Barium Zirconate,” Yamazaki, Y.; Hernandez-Sanchez, R.; Haile, S. M. Chem. Mater. 2009, 21, 2755-2762