Patrick Holland

2013 Regional Award Winner — Faculty

Patrick Holland

Current Position:
Professor of Chemistry

Yale University (Previously at the University of Rochester)

Inorganic & Solid-State Chemistry

Recognized for: Creating iron-containing compounds that help to understand nature's strategies for breaking strong bonds

Areas of Research Interest and Expertise:  Inorganic chemistry, environmental chemistry, nitrogen fixation, catalysis

Patrick Holland


PhD, University of California at Berkeley
AB, Princeton University

Patrick Holland uses environmentally friendly iron complexes to form and transform energy-relevant molecules like nitrogen and hydrogen. His work features the isolation of rare and sensitive new compounds, thorough characterization of their properties, and elucidation of the mechanisms through careful study. His research has changed chemists’ thinking about inorganic chemistry and extends to the fields of solar energy, agricultural nitrogen fixation, and “green” catalysis.

Much of Holland's work has focused on how to transform nitrogen from the air into useful compounds, which is done on a huge scale in the chemical industry, but is not understood in detail. Holland has shown that cooperation between iron atoms helps to break the strong bond of nitrogen, providing insight into a variety of natural and industrial processes. His lab has also developed new organometallic catalysts from inexpensive metals like iron and cobalt.

“I develop renewable and environmentally-responsible methods for chemical production.”

Key Publications:

  1. Han Z, Qiu F, Eisenberg R, Holland PL & Krauss TD. Robust Photogeneration of H2 in Water Using Semiconductor Nanocrystals and a Ni Catalyst. Science. 2012; 338:1321-1324.
  2. Holland PL. Electronic Structure and Reactivity of Three-Coordinate Iron ComplexesAcc. Chem. Res. 2008; 41:905-914.
  3. Rodriguez MM, Bill E, Brennessel WW, & Holland PL. N2 Reduction and Hydrogenation to Ammonia by a Molecular Iron-Potassium Complex. Science. 2011; 334:780-783.

Other Honors:

NSF CAREER Award, 2002
Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, 2003
Fulbright Scholar, 2012