• 1.45 Chemistry

Accepting PhD Students

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


Scopus Author IDORCiD; MendeleyResearcher IDLoop

Click here for current PhD opportunities in CHE. But feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.

Yimin Chao obtained his PhD in Nanosciences from Newcastle University in 2004. He held postdoctoral research fellowship at the Wolfson Chemical Nanosciences Centre at Newcastle between 2004 and 2007. He joined UEA in 2007.

Yimin Chao’s research interest is in investigating nanostructured systems, from the basic physical and chemical mechanisms of synthesis, through their optical and electronic properties to energy conversion, energy storage and biomedical applications. Current research themes include functionalization and characterization of Si quantum dots (Si-QDs); applications in lithiun-ion batteries and thermoelectric modules. His research is carried out both at his laboratories at the University of East Anglia and in central facilities in Europe. These include Diamond Light Source (DLS) and ISIS muon source in the UK, PSI in Switzerland. 

Research opportunities

I always welcome enquiries from potential PhD students. I would be particularly keen to recruit someone to work on energy materials, but will seriously consider applicants wanting to work on one of my other areas of interest. 

Selected Publications

Yixin Li, Li Liu, Xiaoyang Liu, Yi Feng, Beichen Xue, Liyun Yu, Lijie Ma, Yanchao Zhu, Yimin Chao, and Xiaofeng Wang

Extracting Lignin-SiO2 Composites from Si-Rich Biomass to Prepare Si/C Anode Materials for Lithium ions Batteries

Materials Chemistry and Physics, 2021, 262, 12433


Yi Feng, Li Liu, Xiaoyang Liu, Yifei Teng, Yixin Li, Yutong Guo, Yanchao Zhu, Xiaofeng Wang, Yimin Chao

Enabling the ability of Li storage at high rate as anodes by utilizing natural rice husks- based hierarchically porous SiO2/N-doped carbon composites

Electrochimica Acta, 2020, 359, 136933

DOI: 10.1016/j.electacta.2020.136933

Wenyu Zhao, Zhiyuan Liu, Ping Wei, Qingjie Zhang, Wanting Zhu, Xianli Su, Xinfeng Tang, Jihui Yang, Yong Liu, Jing Shi, Yimin Chao, Siqi Lin, and Yanzhong Pei.
Magnetoelectric interaction and transport behaviours in magnetic nanocomposite thermoelectric materials
Nature Nanotechnology, 2017, 12, 55-60.
DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2016.182

Ting Wang, Hangang Li, Shaojun Shi, Ting Liu, Gang Yang, Yimin Chao, and Fan Yin.

2D Film of Carbon Nanofibers Elastically Astricted MnO microparticles: A Flexible Binder-Free Anode for Highly Reversible Lithium Ion Storage. 
Small, 2017, 13(20), 1604182
DOI: 10.1002/smll.201604182


Key Research Interests

We have developed both top down and bottom up routes to generate silicon nanoparticles in the past decade. The research in the group has been naturally emerged into two competitive arenas: energy materials and nanomedicine. In particular, cross linked with conductive ligands, functionalized silicon nanoparticles possess the potential to become the next generation of thermoelectric materials, and energy storage materials. In other hand, functionalized with carbohydrates, and co-encapsulated with anti-cancer drugs, silicon nanoparticles should play important roles in targeted and monitored drug delivery.

Current research interests include the following themes:

  • developing functionalization methods further for silicon nanoparticles and exploring the applications in nanomedicine;
  • cross linked silicon nanoparticles for thermoelectrics: materials generating and processing;
  • 3D ordered silicon micro-channel structures for catalysts in biomass conversion;
  • Nanoparticles as a scaffold for light harvesting molecules and catalysts in aqueous media
  • Nanostructured silicon as anodes in batteries

Research Group or Lab Membership

Photo of Yimin with his students
Current group members

  • Dr Qi Wang, PDRA
  • Dr Chenghao Yue, PDRA
  • Mr Alireza Fereydoonisefiddashti, PhD student
  • Miss Qinfeng Li PhD student

Former group members

  • Dr Paul Coxon, PDRA, June 2010 - June 2012
  • Dr Ke Wang, PDRA, May 2009 - May 2010
  • Dr Qi Wang, PhD, October 2008 - September 2012
  • Dr Jayshree Ahire, PhD, October 2010 - July 2014
  • Dr Shane Ashby, PhD, July 2011 - July 2015
  • Dr Mehrnaz Behray, January 2013 - July 2016
  • Dr Tiezheng Bian, October 2013 - November 2017
  • Dr Ting Li, October 2013 - January 2018
  • Dr Chenghao Yue, October 2016 - December 2020
  • Miss Ruoxi Liu, MSc by research, January 2012 - February 2014
  • Mr Guodong Yu, MSc by research, January 2010 - May 2012
  • Mr Jason Thomas, 3rd year Nat Sci student, 2012; MSc by research 2012 - 2014
  • Mr Fred Huld, MSc by research April 2013 - 2015
  • Miss Chun Li, Nuffield Foundation science scheme, 2009
  • Mr Finlay Reid, Nuffield Foundation science scheme, 2011
  • Miss Jenna Howlett, 3rd year BSc Chem student, 2010
  • Mr Ashley Senior, 3rd year BSc Chem student, 2011
  • Miss Steph Gooby, 3rd year BSc Chem student, 2012
  • Miss Tasha Newby, 3rd year BSc Chem student, 2013
  • Miss Naduni Paranagama, 4th year MChem student, 2014
  • Miss Jalpa Patel, 4th year MChem student, 2014
  • Mr Andreas Koulovasilopoulos, 4th year MChem student, 2015
  • Mr Oliver Small, 3rd year BSc student, 2015
  • Mr Pete Finn, 4th year MChem student, 2015
  • Mr Anton Avakia, 4th year MNat student, 2016
  • Miss Emma Blazeby, 4th year MChem student, 2016
  • Miss Xanthia George, 3rd year BSc student, 2017
  • Mr Kitson Lee, 3rd year BSc student, 2017,
  • Miss Karis So, 3rd year BSc student, 2017
  • Mr Michael Rignall, MChem 2018
  • Mr Luke Sweeney, MChem 2018
  • Mr Tom Wayman, MChem 2019
  • Miss Chika Chima, MChem 2019
  • Mr Max Johnson, BSc 2020
  • Miss Sydnee Dronsfield, 3rd visiting UG 2020
  • Mr Arthur Maund, MChem 2021  
  • Stephanie Violari, MChem 2022

Academic visitors:

  • Prof Xiaofeng Wang, Jilin University, July 2019- July 2020
  • Dr Li Liu, Northeast Normal University, July 2019- July 2020
  • Prof Yinghua Ye, Nanjing University of Science & Technology, July- August 2014
  • Dr Zhen Huang, Fudan University, July-September 2014
  • Prof Hualong Xu, Fudan University, June - September 2013
  • Prof Wenchao Zhang, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, April 2012 - April 2013
  • Mr Xiuzhong Yuan, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, February - June 2009
  • Prof Hongjun Ni, Nantong University, May - September 2008 

Areas of Expertise

Nanoparticles; Thermoelectrics; Spectroscopy; Bioimaging; Lithium batteries; Energy conversion; Energy storage

Teaching Interests

I teach Chemistry and Physics in the following modules:

PHY-4001 Electromagnetism, optics, relativity and quantum mechanics

CHE-4001 Chemistry laboratory

CHE-6003Y Advanced Laboratory

CHE-7201Y Advanced Topics in Physcial and Nanochemistry

CHE-6350Y Energy Materials

CHE-7001Y Year long research project

SCI7RD6Y Nano-scale synthesis and characterisation

Administrative Posts

  • Associate Director, Energy Materials Laboratory
  • Wolfson Materials & Catalyst Centre member
  • UEA China Strategy Board member
  • Examinations Board member
  • Teaching committee member
  • Plagarism officer
  • Extenuating circumstances panel member

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

External positions

Secretary, Royal Society of Chemistry

Jul 2021 → …

Treasurer, Chemical Nanoscience and Technology group, Royal Society of Chemistry

Feb 2016Jul 2021

PhD thesis examiner, Newcastle University

2014 → …


  • Chemistry
  • Nanochemistry
  • Nanomaterials
  • Nanomedicine
  • Thermoelectrics
  • Catalysts
  • Nanoparticles
  • Solar energy
  • Drug delivery
  • Quantum dots
  • Energy conversion
  • Energy storage

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or