Yaghi, Omar M.

Adjunct Professor

Contact Information

602 Latimer Hall, University of California Berkeley, CA 94720
(510) 643-5507


Omar M. Yaghi received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois-Urbana (1990) with Professor Walter G. Klemperer. He was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University (1990-92) with Professor Richard H. Holm. He has been on the faculties of Arizona State University (1992-98), University of Michigan (1999-2006), and University of California, Los Angeles (2007-2011).

His current positions are the James and Neeltje Tretter Endowed Chair in Chemistry at University of California, Berkeley (Department of Chemistry) and the Director for the Molecular Foundry at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His earlier honors include the Solid State Chemistry Award of the American Chemical Society and Exxon Co. (1998) and the Sacconi Medal of the Italian Chemical Society (1999).

His work on hydrogen storage was recognized by Popular Science Magazine, which listed him among the 'Brilliant 10' scientists and engineers in USA (2006), and the US Department of Energy Hydrogen Program Award for outstanding contributions to hydrogen storage (2007). He was the sole recipient of the Materials Research Society Medal for pioneering work in the theory, design, synthesis and applications of metal-organic frameworks and the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize for the best paper published in Science (2007). He is the recipient of the American Chemical Society Chemistry of Materials Award (2009), the Izatt-Christensen Award for Macrocyclic Chemistry (2009), and the Royal Chemical Society Centenary Prize (2010). More recently, he was named among the top 2 most cited chemists worldwide, having achieved more than 200 citations per paper for over 100 papers (2000-2011).

Research Interest

UCLA Inorganic Chemistry Research - Reticular Chemistry

His research encompasses the synthesis, structure and properties of inorganic compounds and the design and construction of new crystalline materials.

He is widely known for inventing several extensive classes of new materials termed metal-organic frameworks, zeolitic imidazolate frameworks, and covalent organic frameworks.  These materials have the highest surface areas and the lowest densities known to date, making them useful in clean energy technologies such as hydrogen storage, methane storage, and carbon dioxide capture.

The building block approach he developed has led to an explosive growth in the creation of new materials of a diversity and multiplicity previously unknown in chemistry. He termed this emerging field 'Reticular Chemistry' and defines it as 'stitching molecular building blocks into extended structures by strong bonds'. He has also pioneered a global mentoring model for building centers of excellence for scientific collaborations between the United States and other countries. The model is being implemented in centers established in a growing number of countries in Asia and the Middle-East.