Brookhaven Lab Physicist Receives Microanalysis Society's Peter Duncumb Award

The Microanalysis Society award recognizes Yimei Zhu's contributions to materials research through electron microscopy advancements

Photo of Yimei Zhu enlarge

Yimei Zhu

UPTON, NY–Yimei Zhu, a senior physicist and leader of the Electron Microscopy and Nanostructure Group at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, is the 2021 winner of the Microanalysis Society’s (MAS) 2021 Peter Duncumb Award for Excellence in Microanalysis–the organization’s highest honor.

The award, which includes a plaque and a cash award, recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of microanalysis through technical accomplishment, leadership, and educational and professional activities. Zhu will be recognized at the annual Microscopy and Microanalysis meeting in August.

In letters supporting his nomination, members of MAS and the science community referred to Zhu as pioneer in the field who has pushed the envelope of electron microscopy through groundbreaking discoveries, advancements in electron microscopy techniques, and development of instrumentation and analysis tools.

“I’m honored to receive this prestigious ‘living legend’ award,” Zhu said. “Peter Duncumb has been an inspiration for me for the development of electron microscopy instrumentation and methods at Brookhaven Lab.”

Zhu uses advanced electron microscopy tools to study the atomic structure of materials to understand how to improve quantum materials such as superconductors and energy materials such as catalysts, batteries, and thermoelectric materials.

“In order to be at the forefront of characterization of matter at unprecedented time and length scales we have to push the instrumentation,” Zhu said. “The purpose is to understand the matter and see how it can change people’s lives, and change society. The tools enable the science.”

Zhu and his team from Brookhaven Lab's Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science Division are credited for the groundbreaking discoveries in materials research using electron microscopy and extracting microanalytical information from some of the most difficult of materials in addition to seminal advances in electron microscopy technique development.

Zhu is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Distinguished Scientist Award from the Microscopy Society of America, two R&D 100 Awards, and four Microscopy Today Innovation Awards. Over his career, he has served on various government review panels, committees, institutional advisory boards, and editorial boards of microscopy journals, published 600 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and holds many patents. He is Fellow of American Physical Society, American Association for Advancement of Science, Materials Research Society, Microscopy Society of America, and Microanalysis Society. In addition to his positions at Brookhaven Lab, Zhu is an adjunct professor at Columbia and Stony Brook Universities.

Zhu received a BS in materials physics from JiaoTong University, Shanghai, and an MS and a PhD in materials physics from Nagoya University, Japan. 

Brookhaven National Laboratory is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit

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2021-18964  |  INT/EXT  |  Newsroom