Professor, Chemistry

Research interests: chemical physics; surface chemistry; nano-materials; nano-devices; nano-biotechnology


Professor Tong Leung and his research group are investigating coreshell metal nanoparticles (Cr, Mn, Ni,Fe, Co, Ni, Cu) and metal-oxide (CrO2, ZnO, TiO2) nanostructured materials. These nanostructures range from 7 to 200 nanometres in size, and exhibit a variety of novel structures and morphologies, including nanoneedles, nanowalls, nanodisks, nanospikes, nanopillars, nanowires and nanotubes.

New fabrication methods of nanostructures are being developed on a conducting polymer (polypyrrole) substrate, single-crystal silicon, and on Indium-Tin-Oxide coated glass or plastic by both (wet) electrochemical deposition and (dry) pulsed laser deposition techniques. The research group seeks to develop a better understanding of the growth mechanism and structure-properties relationships, and the surface physics and chemistry. These studies also focus on several strategic applications, zinc oxide nanostructures on ITO including; CrO2 based spin-valve for spintronics; metal and metal-oxide based nanocatalysi; two-dimensional nanostructured ZnO field-emitters for the nextgeneration display technology; and quantum-dot photovoltaics.

Using electron beam lithography and nanolithography, Leung’s group designs and builds simple nanodevices, with the specific goal to investigate the substrate effects of different nanoscale geometric patterns on the growth physics and surface and electronic properties of the deposited nanostructures. Current projects also attempt to develop flexible display involving ZnO nanowalls on plastic-ITO, spin-based electronic components based on CrO2 nanoneedles/micropallets, and grid-based hybrid biosensors.

In the area of bio-nanotechnology, the focus is on biomolecular electronics and macromolecular nanodevices. Using a state-of-the-art molecular beam epitaxy instrument, the surface chemistry of DNA-based biomaterials is probed as functions of surface concentration, substrate temperature, nanocluster size and morphology. The chemical physics and surface chemistry of these biomolecular nanomolecules, particularly their electron transfer and temperature evolution behaviours, are investigated by using scanning probe and other surface science techniques. Using the MAPLE and Langmuir-Brodgett deposition bio-tools, Leung’s group is also studying the self-assembly of ferritin and cholesterol to develop applications in bioorganic data storage and chemical sensors.


  • PhD, Chemistry, University of British Columbia, 1984
  • BSc, Physics and Chemistry, University of British Columbia, 1980

Tong Leung

    University of Waterloo