Justin Johnson's research has included the search for and characterization of novel molecules and mechanisms for singlet fission, and the potential consequences for photovoltaic devices.  In addition, he has used advanced femtosecond techniques to investigate the ultrafast dynamics associated with multiple exciton generation, exciton-plasmon coupling, exciton delocalization, and charge and energy transport in both molecular systems and a variety of quantum-confined nanostructures and their assemblies. Most recently, he has worked on developing covalent organic frameworks for optoelectronics and gas storage and has investigated novel spin systems for quantum information applications.

Research Interests

Solar photochemistry


Hydrogen production and storage


Ph.D., Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

B.S., Chemistry and Physics, Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota

Professional Experience

Staff Scientist, NREL (2007–present)

U.S. Department of Energy Detailee (2018–2020)

Postdoctoral Associate, NREL/University of Colorado, Boulder (2005–2007)

Associations and Memberships

Joint Appointee, Colorado School of Mines Department of Chemistry

Fellow, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute

Featured Work

Conversion between Triplet Pair States Is Controlled by Molecular Coupling in Pentadithiophene Thin Films, Chemical Science (2020)

Thermal Activation of a Copper-Loaded Covalent Organic Framework for Near-Ambient Temperature Gas Storage and Delivery, ACS Materials Letters (2020)

Spatial Separation of Triplet Excitons Drives Endothermic Singlet Fission, Nature Chemistry (2020)

Triplet States Generated Through Singlet Fission Exhibit a Marcus-like Optimum in Photoinduced Electron Transfer Yield, Nature Chemistry (2020)

Sensitizing Singlet Fission of Pentacene Molecules on Perovskite Nanocrystals, Journal of the American Chemical Society (2020)

Direct Measurements of Carrier Transport in Polycrystalline Methylammonium Lead Iodide Perovskites Films with Transient Grating Spectroscopy, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters (2018)

Control of Energy Flow Dynamics between Tetracene Ligands and PbS Quantum Dots by Size Tuning and Ligand Coverage, ACS Nano (2018)

Polymorphism Influences Singlet Fission Rates in Tetracene Thin Films, Chemical Science (2016)

Photocurrent Enhanced by Singlet Fission in a Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces (2015)

Coherent Exciton Delocalization in Strongly Coupled Quantum Dot Arrays, Nano Letters (2013)


Nanowires and Nanoribbons as Subwavelength Optical Waveguides and Their Use as Components in Photonic Circuits and Devices,  U.S. Patent No. 8,280,214

Awards and Honors

NREL President’s Award (2018)

NREL Outstanding Performance Staff Award (2015)