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The Australian National University

Professor Yun Liu

ARC Future Fellow, ANU Professor, Head of the Functional Materials Research Group, Research School of Chemistry
ANU College of Science
T: 0061 2 612 51124

Areas of expertise

  • Functional Materials 091205
  • Solid State Chemistry 030206
  • Condensed Matter Physics 0204
  • Electrical And Electronic Engineering 0906
  • Nanotechnology 1007
  • Macromolecular And Materials Chemistry 0303

Research interests

Dr. Yun Liu's group aims to use materials chemistry as a tool to design and develop novel functional materials for uses in electronic components, sensors,  various catalysis technologies for waste water treatment, solar and H2 energy generation, storage and recoveryas well as their utlise. 

Her group focuses on the investigation of the correlation between defect clusters, local structure and property of functional materials though various spectral techniques (e.g. ERS and XPS) and diffraction techniques (including electron diffraction, neutron diffraction and synchrotron radiation), and then to design new materials or further optimize/develop the materials with novel functions for uses in charge/energy storage, photocatalysis for water splitting, waste water treatement using solar energy, novel bulkPV materials and devices, H2 energy generation/storage /reconvery, sensors, actuators and transducers etc.

She is also interested in the researches related to nanomaterials and 2D materials in both synthesis and characterisation.  


Publication Links:

Google Scholar:


Group News/Research Highlights

2017.09: Congratualtion to Wen Dong for receiving his PhD degree.

2017. 09: Congratualtion to Bethany McBride to be a runner, the first time ever from the RSC,  in the  ANU 3 Minute-Thesis Competition Final 2017.

2017.01: Congratulation to Qingbo Sun and David Cortie for their papers published in recent Advanced Materials.

2016.12: Congratulation to Bethany McBride to be a Winner of popular choice vote for best presentation in one symposium of the RSC Celebration of HDR Chemistry.

2016.12: Congratulation to Bethany McBride to win 2016 Director’s PhD student award.

2016.12: Congratulation to Bethany McBride as 1 of 2 people selected from 32 Australian applicants to attend the 37th Berlin School on Neutron Scattering 2017.

2016.09: Congratulation to Prof Yun Liu to be awarded a big renewable energy research program as one of the ANU team members.

2016.02: Congratulation to Jian Wang on receiving his PhD degree. Jian  is currently working at US-based FEI  Company in Canberra as an senior engineer. 

2016.01: Congratulation for Dr Wanbiao Hu on receiving the fellowship from the Thousand Talents Plan program (for Young Professionals), China, 2016. He is a full professor at Yunnan University, China 

2016.01: ANU successfully hosted the Australia-China Joint Symposium on Colossal Permittvity Materials and Applications in Energy Storage.

2015. 09: Congratulation to Prof Ray Withers for his paper published in recent Nature Materials.

2015.06: Two Postdocs Positions Open now (close date: 19th July, 2015)

The Australian National University currently opens two postdoc positions (in my group) for the applications. One is a position for the people have a strong theoretical simulation and/or neutron scattering experience on functional materials, especially oxides. (

Another is a position supported by the industry, which requires the potential candidate has strong background in dielectric materials, LTCCs and MLCCs. ( 

2015.03: Fenghua invests to the ANU for hte development of single layered ceramic capacitors

2014.12: Congratulation to Bethany McBride on receiving a University Medal in Chemistry for 2014.

2014.10: ANU successfully hosted the RACI/MA Materials Chemistry Symposium at ANU Kioloa Campus.

2014. 05: Congratulation to Qian (Cheney) Li for receiving 2013 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad.

2014.03: Congratulation to Bethany McBride for receiving the AINSE Honours Scholarship to support her research activity at the ANSTO in 2014.

2013. 12:  Congratulation to Qian (Cheney) Li for receiving his PhD degree. Cheney has already got an offer from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory ( US)  and he will work at the ORNL as a postdoctoral Research Fellow. 

2013.08: publication in " Nature Materials”, entitled "Electron-pinned defect-dipoles for high-performance colossal permittivity materials". info: Nature Materials:;  New material holds big energy hope 


Current Group Memebers:

Emerius Professor Ray Withers

Dr Narendirakumar (Naren) Narayanan (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2017-)

Dr Dehong Chen (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2016-) 

A/professor Lingling Wei (Visiting Fellow, 2017-)

Mr. Kenny Lau (PhD candidate)

Mr. Weng Dong (PhD Cadidate, 2013-)

Mr. Teng Lu (PhD Student, 2014-)

Mr. Qingbo Sun (PhD cadidate, 2014-)

Miss Bethany McBride (PhD Student, 2015-)

Mr. Haoxin (Mac) Mai (PhD Student, 2016-)

Mr. Xiaozhou Liao (PhD Student, 2016-)

Miss Jianmei Li (PhD Student, 2017-)

Mr Zhen Liu (PhD Student, 2017-)

Mr Longhai Yang (Visiting Scholar, 2017-)

Miss Lilit Jacob (Visiting Scholar, 2017-) from the ADFA, UNSW

Mr.Christopher Zhang (Undergraduate student, 2017-)

Mr. Masashige Morishita (visiting Scholar, exchanging program, Japan, 2017-)


Previous Group Members:


Dr Lasse Noren (Research Officer -2016)

Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr David Cortie (ANU/ANSTO Joint Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2016-2017), currently Research Fellow at the University of of wollongong.

Dr. Wanbiao Hu  (Postdoctoral ResearchFellow, 2011-2016), Currently Professsor at the Yunnan University, China ( the acceptor of 1000Plan Professorship for Young Talents)

Dr Adam Berlie   (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2014-2015), ISIS-RIKEN Instrument Scientist, UK

Dr. Chunming Wang  (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2011-2013). Currently Assoicate Professor in Shangdong University.

Dr. Yuanlie Yu (Visiting Fellow from CAM, ANU, 2010-2013).

Dr Yiping Guo ( Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2009-Sept 2010). He is currently holding a Professor position in Shanghai Jiaotong University)

Dr. Yinghong Xiao (Endeavour Cheung Kong Research Fellow, 2009). She is currently professor at the Nanjing Normal University.

Dr. Jinbao Xu (Endeavour Research Fellow and ANU postdoctoal research Fellow, 2008-2009). He is a Senior Research Fellow in Xinjiang Institute of Physics, CAS     (Awarded “100 Talents program” in China)

Visiting Fellows

Mr. Ye Tian (Visiting Scholar, 2016-2017)

A/Prof Zhuxi Li (Visiting fellow, 2016-2017), A/Professof in Norhtwest UNiversity, China (2016-2017).

Prof Zhifu Liu, Shanghia Insitute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Science, 2016.

Mr. Qadeer Awan (Visiting Scholar, 2014-2015), Pakstain

Prof Huarong Zeng, Shanghia Insitute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Science, 2014.

Prof. Changming Li, (Craig Lecturer), 2011. China

A/Prof. Kai Chen (Dec.2011-Dec 2012).

Prof. Hui Yang (2009-2010). CHina


Graduated Students

Miss Wenjun Wang  (undergraduate student, 2016).

Miss Joanna Chu (Honours Student, 2016-2017), 1st class

Ms. Amanda Snashell (PhD candidate), currently working at the ANU 

Mr. Yoke Yeong Fung (Honours Student, 2015-2016), 1st class

Mr. Jonathon Lieschke (Honours Student, 2015),  1st class

Mr. Benjamen Wang (PhB student, 2015)

Dr. Jian Wang (2010-2014), Senior Engineer in Fei in Norway

Miss Tyler Olney (Summar Scholar, 2014/2015)

Miss Bethany McBride (Honours Student, 2014),1st class, University Medal.

Dr. Qian (Cheney) Li (2010-2013), now working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Oak Ridge National laboratory, USA (2013-2017), move to the Argonne National Laboratory (2017-)

Mr. Teng Lu (honours Student, 2013), 1st class

Dr. Jason Schiemer (Joint PhD student, 2009-2012, now working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in University of Canbridge, UK).




Yun Liu received her PhD degree from the Xian Jiaotong University in 1997. She has since held the AIST fellow and STA Fellow positions at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Kyushu, Japan (1998-2001) before the commencement of her Postdoctoral Fellow position at the Australian National University in 2001. She is currently a tenured academic staff as a chair Professor, and the Head of the Functional Materials Research Group at the Australian National University.

She was awarded fellowships of the AIST (1998-1999) and the STA(1999-2001, now renamed as the Fellow of JSPS) in Japan, the Australian Research Council (ARC) Queen Elisabeth II (2006-2010) and ARC Future Fellow (2011-2016) in Australia. She is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Physics (FAIP). She is a national board member  and  a Certified Materials Professional (CMatP) of the Materials of Australia (MA). She is also a member of the Society of Crystallographers in Australia and New Zealand (MSCANZ) as well as the Society of Australian Ceramics.


Undergraduate Teaching:

1, CHEM2213 -  Materials Chemsitry

2, CHEM3202 - Advanced Physical & Materials Chemsitry

3, CHEM4005 - Chemsitry IV Honours:Microscopy & Materials Characterisation

4, CHEM 3060 - Research Project in Chemsitry

5, ENGN4200- Individual Project

Researcher's projects

we use materials chemistry as a tool to design and develop novel functional materials for uses in electronic components, smart devices, energy conversion and storage as well as green enviornement. The research will cover one or more aspects as follows:  (1) Material synthesis in the forms of nanomaterials, thin films and bulk ceramics as well as organic/inorganic composites via a solid state reaction, wet chemical approach or PLD/PED;  (2) Structural and defect analyses via various diffraction (X-ray, neutron and electron) and spectral (XPS, ESR, Raman and FTIR) techniques;  (3) Functionality characterisation from nanometre to centimetre length scale, in particular dielectric, piezoelectric and ferroelectric properties, photocatlystic and photovoltaic effects;  (4) catalysts for H2 energy generation, storage and recovery; And (5) Device fabrication, such as capacitros, sensors, transducers, actuators, energy harvesting and storage devices/facilities. 

Available student projects

General Guidance of the research directions for potential PhD students

Functional Materials research is a multidisciplinary area. We welcome the students, who have different background knowledge and skills (Materials chemistryApplied Physics, Computational chemistry and physics of Solids  Materials Science and Engineering) with strong innovative and creative capabilities, to join us and to work on one of the following potential fields:

Fundamental Research: 

  • Materials chemistry: building an interaction between the local/average structure and property of functional materials at the different length scales via X-ray diffraction, electron diffraction, neutron diffraction/scattering,  guiding design and development of new functional materials
  • Defect chemistry and computational chemistry: novel defect cluster design for the development of new functional materials, enriching defect chemistry theory in solids and guiding novel materials design.
  • Electrochemistry: Development of novel polar functional materials for use in renewable and green environment.   

Applied Research:

  • New materials: photocatalysts, photovoltaic materials, colossal permittivity materials, T-Hz dielectric materials, photoluminescent materials, electro-optic and optic-electric materials, muitferroic/ferroelectric and piezoelectric materials with different forms (e.g. nano particles, 2D, thin films, ceramics and crystals).
  • New devices: capacitors, energy storage devices, power storage devices, energy conversion and harvesting devices, pulse powder controllers, bi/sensors, actuators and transducers.
  • New technologies: Nano-scale in situ characterisation of chemical/biological reaction via high resolution and environmental control microscopy; polar domain engineering and its applications; Development and applications of the atomic force microscopic-based characterisation techniques; and materials synthesis and device fabrication

The detailed research project can be modified to suit the individual. For more detailed information, please contact Yun Liu directly.


Specific project available now

1, An industry project for a potential PhD candidate in the field of materials science and engineering:  The PhD scholarship is available instantly for the development of the new generation, high frequency dielectric materials.

Suitable students: materials science and engineering, applied physics and materials chemistry

2, Computational chemistry (co-supervised): this project provides an absolutely fantastic opportunity for the student who is very keen in using computational chemistry to solve experimental problem. This will be a joint co-supervised project (Principle supervisor in computational chemistry- Dr Terry Frankcombe, ADFA, UNSW and co-supervisor in materials chemistry- Prof Yun Liu, RSC, ANU). The student will be registered at ADFA, UNSW with an instantly available PhD scholarship to work in a very friendly and collaborative environment.

Suitable students: Theoretical and computational chemistry/physics, Physics, Applied Mathematics, and Materials Chemistry

2, Fabrication and characterisation of 2D and 3D structured functional thin films

We have a start-of-the art deposition facility that combines pulse electron beam and pulse laser together to provide both PED and PLD functions within one chamber, allowing to construct 2D and 3D structured thin films using metals, metal oxides, non-oxides, organic materials and polymers, including photovoltaic thin films for sole cells, photocatalytic thin films to split water for hydrogen generation.

Suitable students: Applied/Physics, Materials Science and Engineering, Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology

3, Synthesis, structure and property characterisation photo-excited functional materials for energy conversion

The research can cover one of photovoltaic, photocatalytic, optoelectric and electroptic materials.  The materials will be synthesised using either solid state reaction or wet chemical method like Sol-gel and hydrothermal reaction. Defect analysis, local/average structure and properties/functions of the resultant materials will be investigation at different lengths scale to build a correlation between chemical composition, structure and properties/functions.  Some research will expand to the fabrication of devices for practical application.

Suitable students: Materials Chemistry, physical chemistry Applied/Physics, Materials Science and Engineering, Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology


4, Preparation, structure and property of polar functional materials

This research direction will cover the dielectric, ferroelectric, piezoelectric and mutiferroic materials. The core research strategy is to figure out the strong correlation between the defect/local structure and polarisation-related properties. The X-ray diffraction, electron diffraction and in situ (with external force, i.e. electric field and pressure) neutron diffraction as well as neutron Inelastic and quasielastic scattering will be the main tools to investigate local structure, phase transition and structured evolution as well as dynamic phonon behaviour. Various spectral analyses and property characterisations at different-lengths scale will be also investigated to build a real structure –property relation of the complicated, polar functional materials

Suitable students: Materials Chemistry and Applied/Physics, Materials Science, and Functional material

5, Energy storage materials

This project aims to discover new materials that provide a solution for high density energy storage in the form of solids. The research also includes the fundamental research using the techniques abovementioned to establish the correlation between chemical compositions, defects, local and average structure, and property; and to understand the mechanism behind the energy storage capability; and subsequently to develop new, high performance energy storage materials and devices.

Suitable students: Materials Chemistry, electrochemistry, Applied/Physics, Materials Science.

6, Dielectric materials and devices for next generation electronic technology and microwave communication

This direction targets the practical application, and has a strong link with industry partners. The research includes both fundamental and applied research activities.  

Suitable students: Materials Chemistry, Applied/Physics, Materials Science and engineering




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Updated:  20 October 2017 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers