Our Mission


The central theory behind materials science involves correlating the dynamic behaviors of atoms and atomic assemblies at nanoscales to their macroscopic physical and chemical properties. Our research aims at understanding this fundamental correlation by utilizing and developing new electron microscopy methods and related techniques. In particular, we employ in-situ environmental TEM (ETEM) and Deep Learning-based computer vision to address fundamental questions concerning the dynamic and collective response of functional and structural materials to their operation conditions, which hold promises for the advancement in more robust heterogeneous catalysts, safer fusion energy, and a sustainable future.

Our lab aims to be a highly collaborative, nurturing, diverse and motivated team that is driven by a real passion for Materials Science and an intense curiosity about Why materials work the way they do, and How to make them work better. We strongly encourage bold ideas and open discussions, craftsman spirit in experiments and critical thinking in data interpretation, a sense of urgency, and the determination to find the missing part of the puzzle.

  • Dr. Zhu receives the 2022 DOE Early Career Award
  • Congratulations to Rajat Sainju for winning the 2022 M&M Student Scholar Award
  • Congratulations to Rajat Sainju for his new paper in ACS Nano
  • Dr. Zhu leads the Interdisciplinary Multi-Investigator Materials Program on “Machine Learning-Assisted Ground Truth Labeling for High-Volume In-situ TEM Videos” 2021-2022
  • Dr. Zhu co-organized and gave an invited talk at TMS2022 in the symposium “NUCLEAR MATERIALS: Materials systems for the future of fusion energy”
  • Dr. Zhu gave an invited talk at MS&T2021 in the symposium “Advanced Characterization of Materials for Nuclear, Radiation, and Extreme Environments”
  • Welcome Bharath Krupa Teja Mekala and Jingjing Yang for joining us as Ph.D. Research Assistants
  • Rajat Sainju presented at M&M2021 on “Tracking and Understanding Nanocatalyst Sintering and Regeneration using Deep Learning-assisted In Situ Environmental TEM”
  • Dr. Zhu gave an invited talk at M&M2021 in the symposium “Defects in materials: how we see and understand them”
  • Welcome Steiny Duong for joining us as an Undergrad Researcher on the topic of “Computer Vision for Irradiation Defects”
  • Dr. Zhu gave an invited talk at TMS2021 in the symposium “Advanced Characterization of Materials for Nuclear, Radiation, and Extreme Environments”
  • Congratulations to Maanas Togaru and Rajat Sainju for their new paper in Materials Characterization
  • Welcome Dr. Monia Nielsen for joining us as a Postdoc Researcher
  • Congratulations to Dr. Zhu for winning the 2020 Doctoral New Investigator Award, American Chemical Society

Research Highlights