Chemical and structural analysis of functional materials: complexity and challenges

Professor Yun Liu
Head, Functional Materials Research group
Research School of Chemistry, The Australian National University

Properties and functions of materials are determined by the defect, structure and their evolution on every relevant time, length, field and energy scale. A comprehensive understanding of the chemical and structural complexation of materials has therefore become critical in the material study. In this talk, I will first present several case-studies to show you (1) how the local structure and local chemistry of materials determine their property, and (2) how the alien atom stays in materials and how they locally alter surrounding chemical environment as well as material properties. Based on the sufficient understanding of chemical composition, defect, structure and property of existing materials, a new chemistry strategy is then proposed for the design and development of new materials, such as colossal permittivity materials, highly efficient visible light catalysts and new bulk photovoltaic materials. In the end I will briefly discuss the challenges and technical difficulties to attain precise chemical and structural analyses, giving my personal perspectives on general material design and characterisation.

Professor Yun Liu received her PhD from Xian Jiaotong University, China,,in 1997. She then worked at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan and moved to Australia in 2001 as a postdoctoral fellow at the RSC, ANU. She was awarded National Fellowships of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (1998-2001), the ARC QE II (2006-2010), Future (2011-2016) and Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellowship (2021). She is current President of the Australian Neutron Beam User Group (ANBUG), Chair of the Materials Chemistry Division of the Royal Australian Chemistry Instituted (RACI), president (2023-2025) of the Asian ElectroCeramics Association (AECA) and Executive board member of the Asia-Oceania Neutron Scattering Association (AONSA). At the RSC, her research focuses on using complex materials chemistry to achieve novel functional properties for various applications in electronical technology, energy and environment. She has filed/issued 41 patents and published over 250 publications in top-tier journals, including Science and Nature Materials.

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