Aiping Yu

Professor, Chemical Engineering

Research interests: nanomaterial synthesis and functionalization (nanotubes/nanowires/ nanoparticles) for nanocomposites; solar cells and sensors


Aiping Yu portrait
Professor Aiping Yu is an expert in carbon nanotubes and graphene, enabling her to design the proper porosity and polarity of nanomaterials for the highest energy storage supercapacitor and ultra-strong nanocomposites.

Yu is the Director of the Carbon Nanomaterials Laboratory for Renewable Energy and Multi-functional Composites. The research goal is to develop light weight, high energy density and long cycle life hybrid supercapacitors which combine the advantages of battery and supercapacitors for automobile and electronic devices.

Yu is renowned for her contributions to nanotube processing and applications in composites and electronic devices. Her work was well-recognized by peer-viewed journals, like Science, Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), Nano Letters, Langmuir and Advanced Materials. Yu joined the University of Waterloo’s Department of Chemical Engineering in 2010.


  • PhD, Chemical & Environmental Engineering, University of California-Riverside

  • MSCHe, Chemical Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology

  • BS, Chemical Engineering, Nanjing University of Technology


Applying vast industry experience

Professor Aiping Yu applies her extensive experience in industry to her research at the University of Waterloo. Her interdisciplinary background plus previous work in the GE plastics and carbon solutions industries and has led her to dedicate the research towards developing the nanomaterials for practical applications. Her research group is interested in applying carbon nanotubes and graphene with a variety of metal oxides and conducting polymers for supercapacitors. In addition, the group is studying the energy storage mechanisms for the new hybrid system.

Carbon nanotubes and graphene

In the absence of widespread applications, nanotechnology will remain a niche industry. Professor Yu’s patent in graphene nanomaterials has far-reaching impact on this field for providing a cost-effective way to produce these materials. Her work has been featured by major media reports such as Nature Nanotechnology, Photonics, and A to Z of Nanotechnology. As the leading nanomaterials in nanotechnology field, carbon nanotubes and graphene received high attention upon their discovery. A nanotube is often viewed as a rolled-up piece of graphene; conversely, graphene can also be considered as unrolled nanotube sheets. For these new types of materials, the research mostly focuses on developing new routes to fabricate them and supply a cost-effective way acceptable by industry for large scale production. Meanwhile, for practical applications, dispersion of these nano-structured materials is another big challenge. Dr Yu’s research group can tailor the surface of the carbon nanotubes and graphene with organic or inorganic or bio-groups for a variety of systems.

Research interests

  • Nanomaterials synthesis and processing (nanotubes/nanowire/nanopalatets/nanoparticle)
  • Nanomaterials for supercapacitors
  • Nanomaterials for engineering nanocomposites
  • Nanomaterials for solar cell