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Professor Zhigang Chen

Professor Zhigang Chen
Name Zhigang Chen
Position Professor (Energy Materials)
Section Centre for Future Materials (Operations)
Office B320
Location Springfield Campus
Phone +61 7 3470 4103
Extension 4103
Qualifications GCertHigherEd Qld , PhD ChineseAcadSci
Languages Mandarin (accredited translator)
The views expressed on staff homepages may not reflect the views of the University.

Professor Chen is a distinguished Professor in Energy Materials at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), one of youngest Professors in the field of engineering at Australia when he was promoted to be a Professor at the 38-years old in 2018. Before Prof. Chen moved to USQ at 2016, Dr Chen had worked at the University of Queensland (UQ) as an ARC Australian Postdoctoral Fellow (2009), QLD Smart Future Fellow (2012), Senior Research Fellow (2016), and Honorary Associate Professor (2016). Dr Chen is also an Honorary Professor at UQ. His expertise is in functional materials for thermoelectrics and nanoelectronics, and advanced microscopy. His research has been well awarded by receiving a few competitive research grants, as well as prestigious awards/fellowships, all at national, state and university levels. In total, Dr Chen received ~A$15,000,000 in research grants to support the research. Currently, Dr Chen is leading 2 ARC discovery projects, 1 sub project at ARC Research Hub, and 3 industry investments. Dr Chen is one Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher (Top 0.1% researcher in the world). He has authored over 280 high-impact journal publications including 1 Nature Energy, 1 Nature Nanotechnology; 3 Nature Communications; 1 Chemical Reviews; 2 Progress in Materials Science; 4 Energy & Environmental Science; 1 Joule; 11 Advanced Materials; and 4 Journal of the American Chemical Society. These publications have attracted >16500 times (Scopus, and H index of 64. His google scholar citation is >20,600 with an H index of 70 ( Particularly, in the last three years, Dr Chen has published more than 35 articles per year and attracted over 2,500 citations per year. Dr Chen has delivered over 40 plenary/keynote/invited talks in the international/national conferences. Dr Chen has authored four commercialized patents, which have been attracted industry investments.

Fields of Research (FoR)

  • Compound Semiconductors ( 091203 )
  • Functional Materials ( 091205 )
  • Nanotechnology ( 100700 )
  • Compound Semiconductors ( 401603 )
  • Nanotechnology ( 401800 )
  • Functional Materials ( 401605 )
  • Materials Engineering ( 401600 )

Research interests
His research concentrates in smart materials for thermoelectrics and optoelectronics from synthesizing materials to understanding their underlying physics and chemistry.

His research project (attracting PhD students) is focusing:

1. Design cost-effective and high-efficiency thermoelectric materials and devices

Thermoelectric materials directly convert thermal energy into electrical energy, offering a green and sustainable solution for the global energy dilemma. This project aims to develop inexpensive, abundant, and low-toxic metal selenide nanomaterials for high-efficiency energy conversion using novel industry-level approach, coupled with nanostructure and band engineering strategies. The key breakthrough is to design high performance thermoelectric nanomaterials with engineered chemistry and unique morphology for new generation thermoelectrics. The expected outcomes of this project will lead to an innovative technology for harvesting electricity from waste heat or sun light, which will place Australia at the forefront of energy technologies.

2. Development of Topological Insulators for high speed chips

Topological Insulators (TIs) are a class of quantum materials that exhibit topological surface states. These materials are usually small band gap semiconductors where the bulk of the material is insulating, but they exhibit special surface states that are conducting and topologically protected. The materials are usually made of heavy atoms that give rise to strong spin-orbit coupling and this leads to the formation of surface states that are not destroyed by scattering or impurities. TIs are proving to be ideal materials for study in condensed matter physics, as the physics of these materials is novel and they offer huge scope for developing new theories and for the discovery of new materials.

In this proposal, we describe the methodology to be adopted to obtain high quality materials, for the different experiments proposed. We propose to synthesize a range of materials, some of which are already known to be Topological Insulators and other new materials such as Dirac semimetals and Wyles semimetals.

Professional memberships
Dr Chen serves as the associate editor for Journal of Materials Science and Technology (Elsevier, IF=6.1) and editorial board member in several journals, including Progress in Natural Science (Elsevier, IF=4.000); Rare Metals (Springer IF= 2.161); Journal of Advanced Ceramics, Electronics (Springer IF= 2.889); Electronics (MDPI, IF=2.412); Energies (MDPI IF=2.702); and Energy Materials Advances (Science partner journal).
Member of International Thermoelectric Society;
Member of American Chemistry Society;
Member of Australian Microscopy Society
Member of Australian Nanotechnology Network
Member of Australian Materials Research Society

USQ Research affiliations

  • Centre for Future Materials (CFM)

Currently teaching courses/programs
the University of Queensland
• CHEE 4301: Nanomaterials and their characterization
• CHEE 4302: Electrochemistry and corrosion
• MATE7013: Advanced Manufacturing

Teaching experience(Tertiary)
5 Years

Research most recent
Z.-G. Chen,* X. L. Shi, L.-D. Zhao, and J. Zou*, (Corresponding author)
High-performance SnSe thermoelectric materials: progress and future challenge
Progress in Materials Science 10.1016/j.pmatsci.2018.04.005 (2016 IF=31.140)
W.-D. Liu, Z.-G. Chen* and J. Zou* (Corresponding author)
Eco-Friendly and Low-Cost Higher Manganese Silicide Thermoelectric Materials: Progress and Future Challenge
Advanced Energy Materials 2018, 8, 1800056 (2016 IF=16.721)
M. Hong, Z.-G. Chen*, L. Yang, Y. Zou, M. Dargusch, H. Wang, and J. Zou* (Corresponding author)
Realising zT of 2.3 in p-type Ge1-x-ySbxInyTe by reducing the phase-transition temperature and introducing resonant energy doping
Advanced Materials 2018, 30, 1705942. (2016 IF=19.791)

Research most notable
1. *M. Hong, Z.-G. Chen*, L. Yang, and J. Zou* (Corresponding author)
BixSb2-xTe3 nanoplates with enhanced thermoelectric performance due to sufficiently decoupled electronic transport properties and strong wide-frequency phonon scatterings
Nano Energy 2016, 20, 144–155.

2. *Z.-G. Chen*, C. Zhang, E. Zhang, Y.C. Zou, L. Yang, H. Min, F. Xiu*, and J. Zou* (Corresponding author)
Scalable Growth of High Mobility Dirac Semimetal Cd3As2 Microbelts
Nano Letters, 2015, 15 (9), pp 5830–5834.

3. *L. Yang, Z.-G. Chen*, G. Han, H. Min, Y.C. Zou and J. Zou* (Corresponding author)
High-Performance Thermoelectric Cu2Se Nanoplates through Nanostructure Engineering
Nano Energy 2015, 16, 367–374

4. *G. Han, Z.-G. Chen*, J. Drennan and J. Zou*
Indium Selenides: Structural Characteristics, Synthesis and Their Thermoelectric Performances
(Corresponding author)
Small, 2014, 10, 2747–2765.

5. *Z.-G. Chen,* G. Han, L. Yang, L. Cheng, and J. Zou*
Nanostructured thermoelectric materials: current research and future challenge
(Corresponding author)
Progress in Natural Science: Materials International, 2012, 26, 535-549

6. *L. Cheng, Z.-G. Chen,* S. Ma, Z. Zhang, Y. Wang, H. Xu, L. Yang, G. Han, K. Jack, G. Lu and J. Zou*
High Curie Temperature Bi1.85Mn0.15Te3 Nanoplates
(Corresponding author)
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2012, 134, 18920-18923.

7. *F. X. Xu, L. He, Y. Wang, L. Cheng, L. Chang, M. Lang, G. Huang, X. Kou, Y. Zhou, X. Jiang,
Z.-G. Chen, J. Zou, A. Shaolos, K. L. Wang
Manipulating Surface States in Topological Insulator Nanoribbons
Nature Nanotechnology, 2011, 6, 216-220

8. *Z.-G. Chen, L. Cheng, H. Xu, J. Liu, J. Zou,* T. Sekiguchi, G. (Max) Lu* and H. Cheng*
ZnS Branched Architectures as Optoelectronics and Field Emitters
Advanced Materials 2010, 22, 2376.

9. *Z.-G. Chen, J. Zou, G. Liu, X. Yao, F. Li, X. Yuan, T. Sekiguchi, G. Lu* and H. Cheng*
Growth, Cathodoluminescence and Field Emission of ZnS Tetrapod Tree-Like Heterostructures
Advanced Functional Materials 2008, 18, 3063.

10. *Z.-G. Chen, J. Zou, G. Liu, Y. Wang, X. Yuan, F. Li, L. Wang, T. Sekiguchi, G. Lu* and H. Cheng*
Novel Boron Nitride Hollow Nanoribbons
ACS Nano 2008, 2, 2183.

Publications in ePrints

Chen, Hua-Jun and Yang, Yan-Ling and Zou, Xin-Xin and Shi, Xiao-LeiORCID: and Chen, Zhi-GangORCID: (2022) Flexible hollow TiO2@CMS/carbon-fiber van der Waals heterostructures for simulated-solar light photocatalysis and photoelectrocatalysis. Journal of Materials Science & Technology, 98. pp. 143-150. ISSN 1005-0302

Liang, Lirong and Lv, Haicai and Shi, Xiao-LeiORCID: and Liu, Zhuoxin and Chen, Guangming and Chen, Zhi-GangORCID: and Sun, Guoxing (2021) A flexible quasi-solid-state thermoelectrochemical cell with high stretchability as an energy-autonomous strain sensor. Materials Horizons, 8. ISSN 2051-6347

Meng, Weixu and Liu, Xingjiang and Song, Haoqiang and Xie, Yu and Shi, XiaoleiORCID: and Dargusch, Matthew and Chen, Zhi-GangORCID: and Tang, Zhiyong and Lu, Siyu (2021) Advances and challenges in 2D MXenes: from structures to energy storage and conversions. Nano Today, 40:101273. ISSN 1748-0132

Cao, Tianyi and Shi, Xiao-LeiORCID: and Zou, Jin and Chen, Zhi-GangORCID: (2021) Advances in conducting polymer-based thermoelectric materials and devices. Microstructures, 1:2021007. pp. 1-33.

Bi, Yaxin and Yang, Yanling and Shi, Xiao-LeiORCID: and Feng, Lei and Hou, Xiaojiang and Ye, Xiaohui and Zhang, Li and Suo, Guoquan and Chen, Jingeng and Chen, Zhi-GangORCID: (2021) Bi2O3/BiVO4@Graphene Oxide van der Waals Heterostructures with Enhanced Photocatalytic Activity toward Oxygen Generation. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 593. pp. 196-203. ISSN 0021-9797

View full listing in ePrints

Approved research supervisor in the area of:

  • Compound Semiconductors ( 091203 )
  • Functional Materials ( 091205 )
  • Compound Semiconductors ( 401603 )
  • Nanotechnology ( 401800 )
  • Functional Materials ( 401605 )

Research topics