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Photo of Yu, Guihua
Office Location: ETC 9.178

Guihua Yu


Temple Foundation Endowed Professorship No. 2

Department Research Areas:
Advanced Materials Science and Engineering
Clean Energy Technology
Nano and Micro-scale Engineering

Dr. Yu earned his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University in 2009, after graduating from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) with the highest honor in 2003. With three years' postdoctoral research at Stanford University, Dr. Yu joined the faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin in Fall 2012 as an assistant professor of Materials Science.

Dr. Yu has received many prestigious national and international awards and honors for outstanding research achievements and teaching excellence, including 2023 Blavatnik National Awards Honoree, 2023 RSC Horizon Prize, 2023 AAAS Fellow, 2023 ‘Atmospheric Water Harvesting Technology’ Featured by Nature Magazine, 2023 Top 10 UT-Austin Annual Research Highlights, 2023 Top Research Breakthroughs by Texas Engineers, 2023 UN World Food Programme Innovation Award Finalist, 2023 Texas Global Engagement Research Highlight, 2022 MRS Fellow, 2022 Blavatnik National Awards Honoree, 2022 Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research by The Welch Foundation, 2022 Viskanta Lectureship (Purdue University), 2022 Top Research Breakthroughs by Texas Engineers, 2021 Top 10 UT-Austin Annual Research Highlights, 2021 Blavatnik National Awards Honoree, 2021 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award by Texas Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science, 2021 TMS Brimacombe Medalist Award, 2021 IAAM Medal Award, 2021 IAAM Fellow, 2020 Polymer International - IUPAC Award for Creativity in Applied Polymer Science, 2020 Outstanding Young Scientist by World Laureates Forum (WLF), 2019 ‘Solar Water Purification Technology’ Featured by Science Magazine, 2019 Fellow of Institute of Physics, 2019 IUPAC Periodic Table of Young Chemists worldwide, 2019 Nano Energy Young Innovator Award, 2018 DOE Early Career Award, 2018 Nano Letters Young Investigator Award, 2018 ACS ENFL Division Emerging Researcher Award, 2018 Caltech's Resnick Young Investigator, 2018 Advanced Energy Materials Excellence in Energy, 2017 Royal Society of Chemistry Fellow, 2017 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, 2017 SMALL Young Innovator Award, 2017 TMS Society Early Career Faculty Award, 2016 Chemical Society Reviews Emerging Investigator Lectureship, 2016 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and 2016 Emerging Investigator by American Chemical Society. In 2015, he received 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award and American Chemical Society's ACS-PRF Young Investigator Award. He was recognized as one of the global 2014 Top Innovators under Age 35 by MIT Technology Review and 2014 Emerging Investigator by Royal Society of Chemistry. Additionally, Dr. Yu was awarded 2013 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Award, 2010 International Prize for Young Chemists by International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) for best thesis research, 2007 MRS Outstanding Graduate Student Award by Materials Research Society, and 2005 Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award by Harvard University.

Dr. Yu's research has been broadly centered on creative design and synthesis of functional nanomaterials, fundamental understanding of their chemical and physical properties, and development of large-scale assembly and integration methodologies to enable their technologically important applications in energy, environment, and sustainability technologies. He has published ~320 papers in many prominent scientific journals including Science, Nature, PNAS, Nature Reviews Materials, Nature Reviews Chemistry, Nature Materials, Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Energy, Nature Catalysis, Nature Sustainability, Nature Water, Nature Synthesis, Nature Communications, Science Advances, Chemical Reviews, Chemical Society Reviews, Accounts of Chemical Research, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie, Advanced Materials, Energy & Environmental Sciences, Chem, Joule, Nano Letters, ACS Nano, ACS Central Science, Applied Physics Reviews, Materials Today, Nano Today, Advanced Energy Materials, Advanced Functional Materials, Materials Horizons, etc. His publications have received total citation of ~90,000 times with H-index ~170. He is consistently ranked as one of the global Top Highly Cited Researchers in both fields of Materials Science and Chemistry by Thomson Reuters (Web of Science) since 2017. His research works have been featured in over 200 major science and technology media worldwide, such as Nature News, Science News, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC News, Fox News, BBC News, Bloomberg, Axios, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Discovery, National Geographic, Scientific American, Thomson Reuters, World Economic Forum, Business Standard, Daily Mail (UK), The Times (UK), Sueddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), Frankfurter Allgemeine (Germany), La Repubblica (Italy), Al Jazeera (Arabic), France News, USA Today, XINHUA (China), SINA (China), SOHU (China), Tencent (China), The Indian Express, Times of India, Irish Times, Daily Telegraph (Australia), The Australian, (Australia), DailyPost (Korea), National Post (Canada), Science Daily, R&D Magazine, MIT Technology Review, Popular Science, Ars Technica, Futurism, New Scientist, Reddit, Yahoo!, C&EN, Gizmodo, Gizmag, IEEE Spectrum, E&T, Design News, Phys.Org, SciTech Daily, Chemistry World, Materials World, Physics World, MRS Bulletin, Chemistry Views, Materials Views, Popular Mechanics, Texas Monthly, Daily Texan, Austin American-Statesman, Houston Chronicle, The Alcalde, etc. Currently, his main research interests include:

  • Nano-Architected functional materials for advanced energy storage and conversion: next-generation lithium batteries and beyond-lithium batteries, supercapacitors, electrocatalysis, thermoelectrics, fuel cells
  • Sustainable organic nanomaterials for solar water purification and atmospheric water harvesting: solar desalination, atmospheric water harvesting, wastewater treatment, sustainable agriculture
  • Self-assembled nanostructures and bio-inspired materials for advanced energy, healthcare and sensor technologies
  • Hybrid inorganic-organic nanomaterial systems for functional interfaces with biological systems

The nature of research program in Dr. Yu's group is highly interdisciplinary, and it explores the basic principles in chemistry, physics, materials science and engineering to enable both fundamental understanding of novel materials with designed nano-architectures, and exciting development of their technological applications. Truly motivated graduate and undergraduate students and postdoc researchers are warmly welcome!

Most Recent Publications
  1.  M. Jiang, C. Jing, C. Lei, X. Han, Y. Wu, S. Ling, Y. Zhang, Q. Li, H. Yu, S. Liu, J. Li, W. Chen, G. Yu, “A Bio-based Nanofiber Hydrogel Filter for Sustainable Water Purification”, Nature Sustainability, 2024, 7, 168.
  2. H. Li, Z. Hu, F. Zuo, Y. Li, M. Liu, H. Liu, Y. Li, Q. Li, Y. Ding, Y. Wang, Y. Zhu, G. Yu, J. Maier, “Real-Time Tracking of Electron Transfer at Catalytically Active Interfaces in Lithium-Ion Batterie”, PNAS, 2024, 121, e2320030121.
  3. F. Zuo, H. Zhang, Y. Ding, Y. Liu, Y. Li, H. Liu, F. Gu, Q. Li, Y. Wang, Y. Zhu, H. Li, G. Yu, 'Electrochemical Interfacial Catalysis in Co-based Battery Electrodes Involving Spin-Polarized Electron Transfer', PNAS, 2023, 120, e2314362120.
  4. T. Li, T. Yan, P. Wang, J. Xu, X. Huo, Z. Bai, W. Shi, G. Yu, R. Wang, 'Scalable and Efficient Solar-driven Atmospheric Water Harvesting Enabled by Bidirectionally Aligned and Hierarchically Structured Nanocomposites', Nature Water, 2023, 1, 971.
  5. W. Guan, Y. Zhao, C. Lei, G. Yu, “Molecularly Confined Hydration in Thermoresponsive Hydrogels for Efficient Atmospheric Water Harvesting”, PNAS, 2023, 120, e2308969120.
  6. K. Yan, F. Zhao, L. Pan, Y. Jiang, Y. Shi, G. Yu, “High-Throughput Clean-up of Viscous Oil Spills Enabled by A Gel-Coated Mesh Filter”, Nature Sustainability, 2023, 6, 1654.
  7. Z. Ju, S. Checko, X. Xu, J. Calderon, K. Raigama, K. Takeuchi, A. Marschilok, E. Takeuchi, G. Yu, “Densified Vertically Lamellar Electrode Architectures for Compact Energy Storage”, PNAS, 2023, 120, e2308009120.
  8. P. Li, L. Liao, Z. Fang, G. Su, Z. Jin, G. Yu, “A Multifunctional Copper Single-Atom Electrocatalyst Aerogel for Smart Sensing and Producing Ammonia from Nitrate”, PNAS, 2023, 120, e2305489120.
  9. Y. Zhu, Y. Guo, K. Cao, S. Zeng, G. Jiang, W. Liu, W. Cheng, W. Bai, X. Weng, W. Chen, D. Zhao, H. Yu, G. Yu, “A General Strategy for Creating Biomacromolecular Ionogel Membranes via Solvent-Induced Self-Assembly”, Nature Synthesis, 2023, 2, 864.
  10. L. Zhang, R. Feng, W. Wang, G. Yu, "Emerging Chemistries and Molecular Designs for Flow Batteries”, Nature Reviews Chemistry, 2022, 6, 524.
  11. Z. Ju, S. King, X. Xu, X. Zhang, K. Raigama, K. Takeuchi, A. Marschilok, L. Wang, E. Takeuchi, G. Yu, “Vertically Assembled Nanosheet Networks for High-Density Thick Battery Electrodes”, PNAS, 2022, 119, e2212777119.
  12. Y. Guo, W. Guan, C. Lei, H. Lu, W. Shi, G. Yu, “Scalable Super Hygroscopic Polymer Films for Sustainable Moisture Harvesting in Arid Environments”, Nature Communications, 2022, 13, 2761.
  13. Z. Jin, P. Li, Y. Meng, Z. Fang, D. Xiao, G. Yu, "Understanding Inter-Site Distance Effect in Single-Atom Catalysts for Oxygen Electroreduction", Nature Catalysis, 2021, 4, 615.
  14. Q. Li, H. Li, Q. Xia, Z. Hu, Y. Zhu, S. Yan, C. Ge, Q. Zhang, X. Wang, X. Shang, S. Fan, L. Gu, G. Miao, J. Moodera, G. Yu, "Extra Storage Capacity in Transition Metal Oxide Lithium-Ion Batteries Revealed by In Situ Magnetometry", Nature Materials, 2021, 20, 76.
  15. C. Lv, L. Zhong, H. Liu, Z. Fang, C. Yan, M. Chen, Y. Kong, C. Lee, D. Liu, S. Li, J. Liu, L. Song, G. Chen, Q. Yan, G. Yu, "Selective Electrocatalytic Synthesis of Urea with Nitrate and Carbon Dioxide", Nature Sustainability, 2021, 4, 868.
  16. N. Wang, X. Zhang, Z. Ju, X. Yu, Y. Wang, Y. Du, Z. Bai, S. Dou, G. Yu, "Thickness-Independent Scalable High-Performance Li-S Batteries with High Areal Sulfur Loading via Electron-Enriched Carbon Framework", Nature Communications, 2021, 12, 4519.
  17. F. Zhao, Y. Guo, X. Zhou, W. Shi, G. Yu, "Materials for Solar-Powered Water Evaporation", Nature Reviews Materials, 2020, 5, 388.
  18. Y. Guo, J. Bae, Z. Fang, P. Li, F. Zhao, G. Yu, "Hydrogels and Hydrogel-Derived Materials for Energy and Water Sustainability", Chemical Reviews, 2020, 120, 7642.
  19. L. Zhang, Y. Qian, R. Feng, Y. Ding, X. Zu, C. Zhang, X. Guo, W. Wang, G. Yu, "Reversible Redox Chemistry in Azobenzene-Based Organic Molecules for High-Capacity And Long-Life Nonaqueous Redox Flow Batteries", Nature Communications, 2020, 11, 3843.
  20. Y. Zhou, Z. Zhang, Z. Fang, M. Qiu, L. Ling, J. Long, L. Chen, Y. Tong, W. Su, Y. Zhang, C.S. Wu, J.M. Basset, X. Wang, G. Yu, "Defect Engineering of Metal–Oxide Interface for Proximity of Photooxidation and Photoreduction", PNAS, 2019, 116, 10232.
  21. X. Zhou, F. Zhao, Y. Guo, J. Bae, B. Rosenberger, G. Yu, "Architecting Highly Hydratable Polymer Networks to Tune Water State for Solar Water Purification", Science Advances, 2019, 5, eaaw5484.
  22. F. Zhao, X. Zhou, Y. Shi, X. Qian, M. Alexandre, X. Zhao, S. Mendez, R. Yang, L. Qu, G. Yu, "Highly Efficient Solar Vapour Generation via Hierarchically Nanostructured Gels", Nature Nanotechnology, 2018, 13, 48.
  23. L. Peng, P. Xiong, L. Ma, Y. Yuan, Y. Zhu, J. Lu, K. Amine, G. Yu, "Holey Transition Metal Oxide Nanosheets for Efficient Energy Storage", Nature Communications, 2017, 8, 15139.
  24. F. Bonaccorso, L. Colombo, G. Yu, M. Stoller, V. Tozzini, A. Ferrari, R. Ruoff, V. Pellegrini, “Graphene, related two-dimensional crystals, and hybrid systems for energy conversion and storage”, Science, 2015, 347, 41.