Principal investigator

Yimin A Wu

Professor Yimin Wu is the Tang Family Chair in New Energy Materials and Sustainability. His research focuses on the design of new energy materials for solar fuels and batteries, and novel electronic, photonic, responsive materials for flexible electronics and soft robotics, and energy efficient neuromorphic computing through a deep understanding of energy transduction processes at interfaces. Wu is responsible for the Materials Interfaces Foundry (MIF) at the University of Waterloo. Wu has authored and co-authored over 70 peer-reviewed journal papers, which includes Nature, Nature Energy (x2) and Nature communications. Wu is also listed as an inventor on one US/international patent. Wu has delivered over 20 invited lectures across the world in last five years. Professor Yimin Wu also serves on the editorial board of Energy and Environmental Materials, and board of directors in Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology.

Wu obtained his PhD in Materials from the University of Oxford in 2013, focusing on two-dimensional quantum materials, thin film devices, and aberration corrected (scanning) transmission electron microscopy. He went to work as a SinBeRise postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and Materials Science Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, focusing on batteries and in situ multimodal characterizations using liquid phase transmission electron microscopy and synchrotron X-ray microscopy. Then, he joined the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM) at Argonne National Laboratory under Argonne Integrated Imaging Initiative, focusing on catalysis, battery and in situ multimodal characterizations using gas/liquid phase transmission electron microscopy, synchrotron X ray nanoprobe, and ultrafast X ray microscopy and spectroscopy. After that, he joined the faculty of University of Illinois at Chicago as a professor of physics (research) and held a joint appointment at the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) at Argonne National Laboratory. In 2019, he joined the University of Waterloo as a professor at Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering and Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology. He has been awarded several prizes including UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) Doctoral Prize, Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad, and SinBeRise postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley.

His research was featured in >350 international news outlets, including Canadian Press, CBC news, Fast company, BNN Bloomberg, and French Science Magazine.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Tang Family Chair in New Energy Materials and Sustainability

  • 2022 Waterloo Institute of Nanotechnology (WIN) Research Leaders Awards 

  • 2022 Nanoscale (Journal) Emerging Investigator Award, Royal Society of Chemistry

  • 2021 Ontario Center for Excellence Voucher for Innovation and Productivity Grant

  • 2021 Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3) Seed Fund

  • 2020-2022 MITACS Accelerate Grants

  • 2020 Waterloo Institute of Nanotechnology (WIN) Research Leaders Awards 

  • 2020 MIT Technology Review: 35 Innovators Under 35 Award Finalist

  • 2020-2022 National Research Council, Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge Grant

  • 2020-2025 Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery Grant

  • 2013-2014 SinBeRise Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley 

  • 2012 Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPRSC) Doctoral Prize, UK 

  • 2012 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Students Abroad 

  • 2010-2012 Overseas Research Scholarship, UK

  • 2010 Graduate Student Travel Grant, St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford

  • 2008-2012 EPSRC International Doctoral Scholarship, UK

  • 2008-2010 Wolfson China Scholarship, Wolfson Foundation

  • 2008-2013 China Oxford Scholar, China Oxford Scholarship Fund 

  • 2008 First Class Honors for B. Eng. Degree 

  • 2007 National Scholarship, China 

Research interests

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Materials Interfaces
  • Energy Materials
  • Solar Fuels
  • Batteries
  • In situ Multimodal Characterizations
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Connectivity and Internet of Things
  • Electronic and Photonic Materials
  • Responsive Materials
  • Sensing
  • Healthcare
  • Nanotechnology


  • 2013, Doctorate, Materials, University of Oxford
  • 2008, Bachelor's, Materials Science and Engineering, Wuhan University of Technology

Selected/Recent publications

  • Cheng Du, Xiyang Wang, Wei Chen, Shouhua Feng, John Wen, Yimin A. Wu, CO2 transformation to multicarbon products by photocatalysis and electrocatalysis, Materials Today Advances, 6, 2020
  • Bai Sun, Guangdong Zhou, Tao Guo, Norman Zhou, Yimin A. Wu, Biomemristors as the next generation bioelectronics, Nano Energy, 2020
  • Bai Sun, Ming Xiao, Guangdong Zhou, Zhijun Ren, Y. Norman Zhou, Yimin A Wu, Non–zero-crossing current-voltage hysteresis behavior in memristive system, Materials Today Advances, 6, 2020
  • Rongyue Wang, Dongguo Li, Sandip Maurya, Yu Seung Kim, Yimin A. Wu, Yuzi Liu, Dusan Strmcnik, Nenad Markovic, V Stamenkovic, Ultrafine Pt cluster and RuO2 heterojunction anode catalysts designed for ultra-low Pt-loading anion exchange membrane fuel cells, Nanoscale Horizons, 5, 2020, 316 - 324
  • Bob Jin Kwon, Ka-Cheong Lau, Haesun Park, Yimin A Wu, Krista L Hawthorne, Haifeng Li, Soojeong Kim, Igor L Bolotin, Timothy T Fister, Peter Zapol, Robert F Klie, Jordi Cabana, Chen Liao, Saul H Lapidus, Baris Key, John T Vaughey, Probing Electrochemical Mg-ion Activity in MgCr2-xVxO4 Spinel Oxides, Chemistry of Materials, 32(3), 2020, 1162 - 1171
  • Chen, Zhaowei and Zhang, He and Guo, Peijun and Zhang, Jingjing and Tira, Gregory and Kim, Yu Jin and Wu, Yimin A and Liu, Yuzi and Wen, Jianguo and Rajh, Tijana and others, Semi-Artificial Photosynthetic CO2 Reduction Through Purple Membrane Re-engineering with Semiconductor, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 141(30), 2019, 11811 - 11815
  • Yimin A. Wu, Ian McNulty, Cong Liu, Kah Chun Lau, Qi Liu, Arvydas P. Paulikas, Cheng-Jun Sun, Zhonghou Cai, Jeffrey R. Guest, Yang Ren, Vojislav Stamenkovic, Larry A. Curtiss, Yuzi Liu, Tijana Rajh, Facet-dependent active sites of a single Cu2O particle photocatalyst for CO2 reduction to methanol, Nature Energy, 4, 2019, 957 - 968
  • Liu, Q. and Su, X. and Lei, D. and Qin, Y. and Wen, JG. and Guo, F. and Wu, YA. and Rong, Y. and Kou, R. and Xiao, X. and others, Approaching the capacity limit of lithium cobalt oxide in lithium ion batteries via lanthanum and aluminium doping, Nature Energy, 3, 2018, 936 - 943
  • Nagaoka, Y. and Tan, R. and Li, R. and Zhu, H. and Eggert, D. and Wu, Y.A. and Liu, Y. and Wang, Z. and Chen, O., Superstructures generated from truncated tetrahedral quantum dots, Nature, 561, 2018, 378 - 382
  • Wu, Yimin A. and Yin, Zuwei and Farmand, Maryam and Yu, Yong-Sang and Shapiro, David A and Liao, Hong-Gang and Liang, Wen-I and Chu, Ying-Hao and Zheng, Haimei, In-situ Multimodal Imaging and Spectroscopy of Mg Electrodeposition at Electrode-Electrolyte Interfaces, Scientific Reports, 7, 2017
  • Wu, Yimin A. and Li, Liang and Li, Zheng and Kinaci, Alper and Chan, Maria K. Y. and Sun, Yugang and Guest, Jeffrey R. and McNulty, Ian and Rajh, Tijana and Liu, Yuzi, Visualizing Redox Dynamics of a Single Ag/AgCl Heterogeneous Nanocatalyst at Atomic Resolution, ACS Nano, 10(3), 2016, 3738 - 3746
  • Wu, Yimin A and Fan, Ye and Speller, Susannah and Creeth, Graham L and Sadowski, Jerzy T and He, Kuang and Robertson, Alex W and Allen, Christopher S and Warner, Jamie H, Large single crystals of graphene on melted copper using chemical vapor deposition, ACS nano, 6(6), 2012, 5010 - 5017
  • Robertson, Alex W and Allen, Christopher S and Wu, Yimin A and He, Kuang and Olivier, Jaco and Neethling, Jan and Kirkland, Angus I and Warner, Jamie H, Spatial control of defect creation in graphene at the nanoscale, Nature Communications, 3, 2012