General Lab Information

Mingzhao Liu

Senior Scientist, Interface Sciences/Catalysis, Center for Functional Nanomaterials

Mingzhao Liu

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Center for Functional Nanomaterials
Bldg. 735
P.O. Box 5000
Upton, NY 11973-5000

(631) 344-2569

Preferred Gender Pronouns (PGPs): he, him, his

Dr. Mingzhao Liu received his bachelor degree from Peking University in 2002 and his doctoral degree from The University of Chicago in 2007, both in chemistry. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, he joined the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) of Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) as a Staff Scientist in 2012 and was promoted to Senior Scientist  in 2019. Since 2014 Dr. Liu has been appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the Department of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering of Stony Brook University.

Expertise | Research | Education | Appointments | Publications | Highlights | Awards


  • Artificial Photosynthesis
  • Electrochemistry and Photoelectrochemistry
  • Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD)
  • Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD)
  • X-ray fine structure spectroscopy (XAFS)
  • Numerical simulation for nanophotonic/plasmonic structures

Research Activities

Current research focuses on thin film materials fabrication for applications in solar energy conversion and quantum information science. For solar energy conversion, the goal is to find a photoelectrode material that utilizes solar radiation with high efficiency while enjoying decent chemical stability against the harsh PEC environment, through an integrated approach of material synthesis, photoelectrochemical studies, theoretical modeling, and advanced optical characterizations. More recently, Dr. Liu has joined the Co-design Center for Quantum Advantage (C2QA), to lead a subthrust in correlating material properties with superconducting qubit device characterization. Other interests include the experimental/theoretical studies of nanophotonic/plasmonic nanostructures for improving light absorption in solar energy devices and applications in chemical/biochemical sensing.


  • B.S.: Peking  University, 2002
  • PhD: The University of Chicago, 2007
    • James Franck Institute. Advisor:  Prof. Philippe Guyot-Sionnest
    • Dissertation: Localized Surface Plasmon of Quasi-One-Dimensional Metallic Nanostructures

Professional Appointments

  • Postdoctoral Fellow: Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University (2008-2011)
  • Staff Scientist, Center for Functional Nanomaterials, Brookhaven National Laboratory (2012 - Present)
  • Adjunction Professor, Department of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering, Stony Brook University (2014 - Present)

Selected Publications

  • Liu M, Black CT (2024) Performance analysis of superconductor-constriction-superconductor transmon qubits. Physical Review A 110:.
  • Zhou C, Mun J, Yao J, et al (2024) Ultrathin Magnesium-Based Coating as an Efficient Oxygen Barrier for Superconducting Circuit Materials. Advanced Materials.
  • Mun J, Sushko PV, Brass E, et al (2023) Probing Oxidation-Driven Amorphized Surfaces in a Ta(110) Film for Superconducting Qubit. ACS Nano 18:1126–1136.
  • Hilbrands AM, Zhang S, Zhou C, et al (2023) Impact of Varying the Photoanode/Catalyst Interfacial Composition on Solar Water Oxidation: The Case of BiVO4(010)/FeOOH Photoanodes. Journal of the American Chemical Society 145:23639–23650.
  • Li R, Jiang X, Zhou C, et al (2023) Deciphering phase evolution in complex metal oxide thin films via high-throughput materials synthesis and characterization. Nanotechnology 34:125701.
  • Zhou C, Zhang L, Tong X, Liu M (2021) Temperature Effect on Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting: A Model Study Based on BiVO4 Photoanodes. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 13:61227–61236.
  • Lee D, Wang W, Zhou C, Tong X, Liu M, Galli G, Choi K-S (2021) The impact of surface composition on the interfacial energetics and photoelectrochemical properties of BiVO4. Nature Energy 6:287–294. doi: 10.1038/s41560-021-00777-x
  • Qu X, Yan D, Li R, Cen J, Zhou C, Zhang W, Lu D, Attenkofer K, Stacchiola DJ, Hybertsen MS, Stavitski E, Liu M (2021) Resolving the Evolution of Atomic Layer-Deposited Thin-Film Growth by Continuous In Situ X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy. Chemistry of Materials 33:1740–1751. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.0c04547
  • Zhou C, Sanders-Bellis Z, Smart TJ, Zhang W, Zhang L, Ping Y, Liu M (2020) Interstitial Lithium Doping in BiVO4 Thin Film Photoanode for Enhanced Solar Water Splitting Activity. Chemistry of Materials 32:6401–6409. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.0c01481
  • Sun S, Yang S, Xin HL, Nykypanchuk D, Liu M, Zhang H, Gang O (2020) Valence-programmable nanoparticle architectures. Nature Communications. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-16157-0
  • Yan D, Topsakal M, Selcuk S, Lyons JL, Zhang W, Wu Q, Waluyo I, Stavitski E, Attenkofer K, Yoo S, Hybertsen MS, Lu D, Stacchiola DJ, Liu M (2019) Ultrathin Amorphous Titania on Nanowires: Optimization of Conformal Growth and Elucidation of Atomic-Scale Motifs. Nano Letters 19:3457–3463. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b04888
  • Zhang W, Yan D, Tong X, Liu M (2018) Ultrathin Lutetium Oxide Film as an Epitaxial Hole-Blocking Layer for Crystalline Bismuth Vanadate Water Splitting Photoanodes. Advanced Functional Materials 28:1705512. doi: 10.1002/adfm.201705512
  • Zhang W, Wu F, Li J, Yan D, Tao J, Ping Y, Liu M (2018) Unconventional Relation between Charge Transport and Photocurrent via Boosting Small Polaron Hopping for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting. ACS Energy Letters 3:2232–2239. doi: 10.1021/acsenergylett.8b01445
  • Yan D, Zhang W, Cen J, Stavitski E, Sadowski JT, Vescovo E, Walter A, Attenkofer K, Stacchiola DJ, Liu M (2017) Near band edge photoluminescence of ZnO nanowires: Optimization via surface engineering. Applied Physics Letters 111:231901. doi: 10.1063/1.5001043
  • Tian C, Cordeiro MAL, Lhermitte J, Xin HL, Shani L, Liu M, Ma C, Yeshurun Y, DiMarzio D, Gang O (2017) Supra-Nanoparticle Functional Assemblies through Programmable Stacking. ACS Nano 11:7036–7048. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.7b02671
  • Liu M, Lyons JL, Yan D, Hybertsen MS (2015) Semiconductor-Based Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting at the Limit of Very Wide Depletion Region. Advanced Functional Materials 26:219–225. doi: 10.1002/adfm.201503692
  • Liu M, Nam C-Y, Black CT, Kamcev J, Zhang L (2013) Enhancing Water Splitting Activity and Chemical Stability of Zinc Oxide Nanowire Photoanodes with Ultrathin Titania Shells. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 117:13396–13402. doi: 10.1021/jp404032p
  • Liu M, Pelton M, Guyot-Sionnest P (2009) Reduced damping of surface plasmons at low temperatures. Physical Review B. doi: 10.1103/physrevb.79.035418
  • Liu M, Lee T-W, Gray SK, Guyot-Sionnest P, Pelton M (2009) Excitation of Dark Plasmons in Metal Nanoparticles by a Localized Emitter. Physical Review Letters. doi: 10.1103/physrevlett.102.107401
  • Liu M, Guyot-Sionnest P (2005) Mechanism of Silver(I)-Assisted Growth of Gold Nanorods and Bipyramids. The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 109:22192–22200. doi: 10.1021/jp054808n

Research Highlights

Magnesium Protects Tantalum, a Promising Material for Making Qubits

Direct View of Tantalum Oxidation that Impedes Qubit Coherence

Understanding the Tantalizing Benefits of Tantalum for Qubits

Making High-Quality Materials with Mingzhao Liu 

Tuning Electrode Surfaces to Optimize Solar Fuel Production

Driving Water Splitting to Create Chemical Fuels

Optimizing the Growth of Coatings on Nanowire Catalysts

Atomic Flaws Create Surprising, High-Efficiency UV LED Materials

Designing Polarized Light Emitters with DNA

Carrying and Releasing Nanoscale Cargo with "Nanowrappers"

Sorting molecules with self-assembled nanoscale membranes

Scalable Growth of High Quality Bismuth Nanowires

Location, Location, Location: Titanium Doping Improves Hematite's Water Splitting Performance

Awards & Recognition

Mingzhao Liu

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Center for Functional Nanomaterials
Bldg. 735
P.O. Box 5000
Upton, NY 11973-5000

(631) 344-2569

Mingzhao's Links