Dr Yang Xu

Dr Yang Xu

Lecturer in Electrochemical Energy Storage


I was born in a city called Hefei, the capital of Anhui Province in China. The city is close to the east coast, sitting a bit west of Shanghai by 470 km. Growing up in a city like Hefei, which is not as international as Shanghai but still has the benefits of being the capital of the province, gave me a pretty relaxing environment to enjoy little things in life. I fell in love with chemistry when I had my first class at the age of 15. I was fascinated by the magic that little atoms can form millions of different things. I still have that fascination more than 20 years later.

I went to the University of Science and Technology of China in 2002, where I chose chemistry as my major, and I stayed there for 9 years from a college freshman to a PhD. I was very interested in nanostructures as an undergraduate student and spent 1.5 years working on the hydrothermal synthesis of PbSe and V2O5 nanostructures as my undergraduate research project. I continued on vanadium based nanostructures in the same lab to complete a 5-year master-PhD integrated program, during which I started working on batteries – aqueous Li-ion batteries.

My university is in my home city and so I spent the first 27 years of my life in the same city. This made me want to move to a place far away and explore the world. As a result, I carried out my first and second postdoctoral research at Boston College (US) and University of Alberta (Canada), respectively. The two positions widely broadened my research to photoelectrochemical water splitting and Na-ion batteries. They also allowed me to experience two North American countries that may seem to be very similar but actually are very different from each other. In 2013, I moved to a small town called Ilmenau in Germany and took up a Senior Scientist position at the Technical University of Ilmenau, where I continued working on Na-ion batteries and also took on K-ion batteries, both of which still are a big part of my independent research at UCL. As a result of my position at Germany, I was able to travel in Europe and experience various cultures, which I always wanted to do after my PhD. In 2019, I moved to London and started my independent research group at UCL, and the rest is pretty much what you can read from this website (so dig around!)

Having lived in 5 countries on 3 different continents, I consider myself very lucky and I am very grateful for the freedom and autonomy that working in academia allows me to have.

Academic appointments

    • Lecturer, UCL, 2019
    • Senior Scientist, TU Ilmenau, Germany, 2013-2019
    • Postdoc, University of Alberta, Canada, 2012-2013
    • Postdoc, Boston College, US, 2011-2012


    • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), 2022
    • PhD in Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China, 2011
    • BSc in Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China, 2006


    • CHEM0005 Chemistry Foundations (workshops)
    • CHEM0014 Inorganic Chemistry (tutorials)
    • CHEM0024/6 Synthetic Chemistry and Instrumentation (lab course lead)
    • CHEM0039 New Directions in Materials Chemistry (lectures, module organizer)
    • CHEM0080 SARPIC panel

    Professional membership

      • Advisory Board Member of Journal of Materials Chemistry A (2023-)
      • Advisory Board Member of Materials Advances (2023-)
      • Youth Editorial Board Member of Science China Materials (2023-)
      • Editorial Board Member of Journal of Physics: Materials (2022-present)
      • Youth Editorial Board Member of eScience (2022-present)
      • Member of the EPSRC Peer Review College
      • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)