Role in the Centre
Huai Yong Zhu devotes his effort within the Centre for Materials Science to understanding the fundamentals of light-matter interaction that can be utilised in the development of new catalytic processes for organic synthesis. These are part of long-term endeavours to transform many chemical productions by applying heat and light irradiation under mild conditions. He and his co-workers conduct research to demonstrate that photocatalysts of metal nanoparticles are efficient for a wide range of fine chemical syntheses. They develop photocatalytic systems for specific reactions one-by-one, but also identify influencing factors on the light-matter interaction in catalytic systems and propose new mechanisms.
Zhu completed his Ph. D study at University of Antwerp (UIA), Belgium in 1994, worked as a Research Associate at Hiroshima University, Japan as well as the University of Queensland. Zhu was granted a QEII Research Fellow (2000-2004) and worked as a Sesqui Lecturer at the Electron Microscopy Unit/Chemistry School, University of Sydney (2002). He joined QUT in 2005 and became a full professor in 2009. Zhu is a pioneer in photocatalysis of metal nanoparticles, the first to verify that visible-light photocatalysis with gold nanoparticles was viable in 2008. His team achieved atom-economy reduction of nitro-compounds to yield azo-compounds with the photocatalyst in 2010, and has expanded metal nanoparticle photocatalysis to over 20 reactions and discovered different mechanisms. In 2008, his team reported sorbents that can permanently trap toxic ions for safe disposal. The sorbents they reported in 2011 are the major components used for removal of radioactive ions from the Fukushima Nuclear Power station accident. Zhu’s team developed ceramic filtration membranes for separation of biomolecules in 2007. He has consecutively won 8 ARC DP grants as the first-named Chief Investigator since 2000 and authored 207 journal papers (cited over 16 600 times) and was a plenary and invited speaker at 25 conferences.
“Promoting Ni(II) catalysis with plasmonic antennas” Han, P.; Sarina, S.; Xiao, Q.; Waclawik, E.R.; Gómez, D.E.; Tana, T.; Zhu, H. Chem 2019, 5, 2879–2899.
“Plasmonic switching of reaction pathway – changing reactant concentration at Au2Co alloy catalyst with visible-light irradiation” Peiris, E.; Sarina, S.; Waclawik, E.R.; Ayoko, G.A.; Han, P.; Jia, J.; Zhu, H.Y. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 12032–12036.
“Selective oxidation of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural to 2, 5-furandicarboxylic acid using O2 and a photocatalyst of Co-thioporphyrazine bonded to g-C3N4” Xu, S.; Zhou, P.; Zhang, Z.H.; Yang, C.J.; Zhang, B.G.; Deng, K.J.; Bottle, S.; Zhu, H.Y. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 14775-14782.
“Catalytic Transformation of Aliphatic Alcohols to Corresponding Esters in O2 under Neutral Conditions Using Visible Light Irradiation” Xiao, Q.; Liu, Z.; Bo, A.; Zavahir, S.; Sarina, S.; Bottle, S.; Riches, J.; Zhu, H.Y. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137, 1956-1966.
“Viable Photocatalysts under Solar Spectrum Irradiation: Non-plasmonic Metal Nanoparticles” Sarina, S.; Zhu, H.Y.; Xiao, Q.; Jaatinen, E.; Jia, J.F.; Huang, Y.M.; Zheng, Z.F.; Wu, H.S. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 2935-2940.