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Photo of Prof Yanqiu Zhu

Prof Yanqiu Zhu

Chair of Functional Materials


Telephone: 01392 723620 or 01392 725868

Extension: (Streatham) 3620 or (Streatham) 5868

Royal Society Industry Fellow (RSIF), Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC), Fellow of The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (FIMMM). 

Yanqiu Zhu was born in China. He received his BSc and MSc degrees in Materials Science from Harbin Institute of Technology (Harbin, China) in 1989 and 1992 respectively, then move­d to Tsinghua University (Beijing, China) to study carbon nanotubes with Prof D H Wu, and obtained his PhD degree in Materials Science in 1996. After 8 months stay in National Institute for Materials Sciences in Tsukuba, Japan, as a COE Fellow working with Prof T Sekine, he joined the Sussex Fullerene Science Centre at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England, in April 1997, working with Prof Sir H W Kroto and Dr D R W Walton. During that lengthy period Dr Zhu, as a Research Fellow, studied carbon nanotubes, inorganic nanomaterials and in particular the so-called Inorganic Fullerenes, WS2 nanoparticles and nanotubes. From December 2003, he started his EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship at the School of Materials, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Nottingham, where he became a Reader and Associate Professor in Nanomaterials from January 2008. At Nottingham, he established the Nanotubes Laboratory in the Wolfson Building, and carried out extensive research on a wide scope from nanomaterials to nanocomposites etc. He took the Chair of Functional Materials at Exeter in August 2010. Based on his Nanotubes Laboratory, Prof Zhu developed the Functional Materials Lab.

Prof Zhu is an author/co-author of over 200 peer reviewed scientific journal papers, with accumulated citations in excess of 15000 times and an h-index of 66 from SCI, and citations of over 15000 times and an h-index of 67 from Google Scholar.

His main area of expertise is experimental synthesis, characterisation of advanced nanomaterials and nanocomposites with interesting functionalities, covering fundamental nanomaterials science and applied nanocomposites development.

Research Interests

His research covers a broad spectrum across a wide range of nanomaterials and nanocomposites, with specific interests on their functionalities.

His team's fundamental research focus is on the synthesis and characterization of 1-dimentional structures, from carbon nanotubes to other transition metal oxide nanowires, sulphide nanotubes and complex functional metal oxides with 1-D, 2-D and 3-D structures, using techniques such as chemical vapour deposition, solid state and soft-chemistry synthesis. Nanocomposites fabrication using these novel nanostructures is also a main research focus. The processing parameters, structural features and interfacial reaction that underpin the physical and mechanical properties of these nanocomposites lie in this category.  Furthermore, the performance of the new nanomaterials and nanocomposites under very high pressures, dynamic and static, covers the third aspect of his team's fundamental research.

Applied research is concentrated on the application of carbon nanotubes, graphene and other ultra-thin oxide nanorods for nanodevice construction and in the detection of toxic gas and biomedical molecules, in energy generation via solar cells and in electrochemical energy storage in supercapacitors/batteries. The use of advanced lightweight and highly tough nanocomposites of both ceramics and polymer matrices for dynamic protection is yet another active research theme in the Functional Materials Laboratory.

PhD Opportunities

We welcome applications for self-spponsored PhD programme, and are happy to support quality applications for the 2023-2024 round CSC scholoship.