Chuan Zhao

Chuan Zhao

Chuan Zhao

Ph.D. (Northwest), 2002, CChem, MRACI

Associate Professor

Contact details

Phone: +61 2 9385 4645


Room 127, Dalton Building
UNSW, Kensington, 2052

Research Group Website


Biographical Details

Graduate of Northwest University (Ph.D., 2002), Postdoctoral Fellow, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg (2002-2006), Research Fellow, Monash University (2006-2010), Professor, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, One Hundred Talents Program (2010), Australian Research Fellow, Australian Research Council (2010), Appointed Lecturer at UNSW (2010), Senior Lecturer (2011), Associate Professor (2014).

Research Interests

My research interest focuses on developing nanoelectrochemistry technologies, and discovering novel carbon nanomaterials, and their implications for clean energy and biomedicine applications. We are also interested in ionic liquids chemistry and their applicaitons for electrochemical energy conversion and storage. We are exploring these new electrode and electrolyte materials for water splitting for generation of hydrogen fuel, oxygen reduction for fuel cells and lithium-air batteries, and for smart electrocrystallization and photocrystallization (high efficiency, high quality, low pollution) of nanostructured metals and semiconductors.

Fundamental to these research programs is the investigation of kinetics of electron transfer processes occurring at microscopic electrolyte/material interfaces. Our approaches involve a number of electrochemical, microscopic and spectroscopic methods. We specialise in scanning micro- and nano-probe electrochemistry techniques such as scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) and AFM which provide the basis for such local characterisation. The scope of our research includes neural prosthesis for bionic ears and eyes, imaging activity of biomolecuels coupled to artificial systems, evolution of photoelectrons at illuminated semiconductor/electrolyte interfaces, micro- and nano-fabrication at surfaces, cell adhesion, and cellular analysis.

Professional Interests

  • Secretary of Electrochemistry Division Royal Australian Chemical Institute (EDRACI)
  • Chartered Member of Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI)
  • Member of International Society of Electrochemistry (ISE)
  • Member of American Chemical Society

Selected Publications

  1. Bryan Suryanto, Xunyu Lu and Chuan Zhao, Layer-by-layer assembly of transparent amorphous Co3O4 nanoparticles/graphene composite electrodes for sustained oxygen evolution reaction, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2013, 1, 12726-12731 
  2. Xunyu Lu and Chuan Zhao, Highly efficient and robust oxygen evolution catalysts achieved by anchoring nanocrystalline cobalt oxides onto mildly oxidized multiwall carbon nanotubes, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2013, 1(39), 12053-12059.
  3. Gianluca Bernardini, Anthony G. Wedd, Chuan Zhao and Alan M.Bond. Photochemical oxidation of water and reduction of polyoxometalate anions at interfaces of water with ionic liquids or diethylether, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci., 2012, 109(29), 11552-11557
  4. Chuan Zhao, Alan M. Bond, Xunyu Lu, Determination of water in room temperature ionic liquids by cathodic stripping voltammetry at a gold electrode, Anal. Chem. 2012, 84 (6), 2784-2791.
  5. X. Qu, J. Lu, C. Zhao, J. F. Boas, B. Moubaraki, K. S. Murray, A. Siriwardana, A. M. Bond and L. L. Martin, (Pro2H+)2(TCNQ.–)2·TCNQ: an amino acid derived semiconductor. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2011, 50, 1589-1592
  6. C. Zhao, D. R. MacFarlane and A. M. Bond, Modified thermodynamics in ionic liquids for controlled electrocrystallization of nanocubes, nanowires and crystalline thin films of silver-tetracyanoquinodimethane. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 16195-16205.
  7. C. Zhao and A. M. Bond, Photoinduced oxidation of water to oxygen in ionic liquids BMIMBF4 as a counter reaction for fabrication of exceptionally long semiconducting polymeric AgTCNQ nanowires. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 4279-4287.
  8. G. Wittstock, M. Burchardt, S. E. Pust, Y. Shen and C. Zhao, Scanning electrochemical microscopy for direct imaging of reaction rates. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2007, 46, 1-35.
  9. C. Zhao, I. Witte and G. Wittstock, Switching on cell adhesion with microelectrodes. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2006, 45, 5469-5471.
  10. C. Zhao and G. Wittstock, An SECM detection scheme with improved sensitivity and lateral resolution: detection of galactosidase activity with signal amplification by glucose dehydrogenase. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2004, 43, 4170-4172.