Department of Applied Physics

Doctor of Philosophy / Master of Philosophy

Sept 2019 Entry


Research in the Department of Applied Physics (AP) can be categorised into the following five areas: (1) Energy Materials and Devices, (2) Nanomaterials, (3) Photonics, Plasmonics and Optoelectronics – Materials and Devices, (4) Smart Materials and Devices and (5) Theoretical and Computational Physics. Owing to our long-term commitment to striving for academic excellence, AP has achieved outstanding results, including publications in internationally renowned journals, awards by local and international institutes, patents and grants from various government and industrial bodies. For more information, please download our Departmental Leaflet.


Strengths of the Department


AP is well recognised by both students and employers for its continuous provision of high-quality tertiary education. The research quality of our staff members and postgraduate students has also received recognition through research awards, grants and fellowships and scholarships.


According to the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2014 conducted by the University Grants Council of Hong Kong, AP attained the highest proportion of world leading (4*) research work at PolyU. AP ranks 1st in the Materials Science cost centre and 2nd among all Physics Departments in Hong Kong. 


Outcome-based Research Postgraduate Programmes for PhD and MPhil Studies Programme Booklet
Programme Leader: Dr HUANG Haitao


Research Areas

Energy Materials and Devices

Piezotronics; energy harvesting; energy generation and storage; new generation of solar cells; thermal energy; batteries; supercapacitors.

  • Energy storage materials, metal-ion batteries
  • Light sources based on piezotronics and piezo-photonics; colossal permittivity materials for energy-storage; triboelectric nanogenerator
  • Organic photovoltaics, solar cells based on perovskite materials
  • Photocatalysts, ferroelectric photovoltaics and energy storage, electrodes for batteries; supercapacitors


Two-dimensional materials; graphene; graphene oxide; MoS2, WS2, and black phosphorus for optoelectronic devices; graphene quantum dots for deep ultraviolet devices; TiO2 nanotubes for supercapacitors; perovskite for laser devices; multifunctional rare-earth doped nanoparticles; nanomaterials for gas sensing; Mn2O3 nanostructures for waste treatment.

  • In situ TEM and low dimensional materials
  • TEM and material characterisation techniques at the atomic scale
  • Two-dimensional materials and devices, carbon-based electronics

Photonics, Plasmonics and Optoelectronics - Materials and Devices

White-light light-emitting diodes (LEDs); Oxide-based LEDs and laser diodes; graphene-based electronics and optoelectronics devices, organic photovoltaic and thin film transistors; fibre lasers; photonic crystals; and terahertz spectroscopy. Graphene plasmonics and 2D materials-based nanophotonics; plasmonic chiral nanostructures-based biochemical sensor; plasmon-enhanced photocatalysis and photovoltaics. Laser development and applications, novel glasses development for photonic applications.

  • Design and fabrication of lasers
  • Laser photonic devices
  • Nanoplasmonics and metamaterials for sensing, imaging and energy
  • Photocatalysis, optofluidics, artificial photosynthesis, micro-/nano-optics
  • Raman spectroscopy, optical characterisation, pulsed laser deposition

Smart Materials and Devices

Processing, characterisation and applications of various types of ferroelectric and piezoelectric smart materials; the study of nanocomposites consisting of nanosized ceramic or metallic particles in a polymer matrix, nanotubes and nanowires, and high-k dielectrics; the study of electrical, piezoelectric, pyroelectric, optical, magnetic, mechanical, magnetostrictive, and magnetoelectric properties of materials; and the design and fabrication of smart devices, including ultrasonic motors, piezoelectric transformers, actuators, transducers and sensors.

  • Ferroelectric materials, piezoelectric transducer, pyroelectric materials and devices
  • Microelectromechanical devices, gas sensor, thin film
  • Nanofabrication techniques, magnetic and spintronics materials
  • Semiconductor materials and devices
  • Smart materials and devices

Theoretical and Computational Physics

Analytical modeling and numerical simulation of electromagnetic waves; transient analysis of semiconductor lasers; wave dynamics in active and passive plasmonic devices, photonic crystals, phononic crystals, and structured nanomaterials; dispersion analysis of nano-optical waveguides; control of light absorption and emission by plasmonic nanostructures; effective medium theory for metamaterials; wave transport in non-reciprocal media; calculations of optical force on complex particles; first-principles calculations on electronic properties of semiconductors and oxide materials; flow of glassy polymer nanofilms; electron transport in solid-state quantum devices; formation of nano-structures in strained thin films.

  • First principles calculation, Molecular dynamics, 2D materials, Interface and Heterostructures, Ferroelectrics, Phonon vibration and Raman spectroscopy
  • Flow of glassy polymer nanofilms; electron transport in solid-state quantum devices; formation of nano-structures in strained thin films
  • Molecular dynamics, density functional theory, atomistic electrochemistry, high-throughput calculations, electronic structure
  • Photonic crystals, plasmonic nanostructures, metamaterials, structured nanomaterials, phononic crystals

Research Facilities

Advanced Physics Laboratory

Biosensors Laboratory

Centre for Electron Microscopy

Chemical Vapour Deposition Laboratory 

Departmental Clean room

Field Emission Electron Microscopy

Foundation Physics Laboratory

Intermediate Physics Laboratory

Laser-MBE Laboratory

Magnetoelectric Laboratory

Metamaterials Laboratory

Material Processing Laboratory

Materials Research Centre

Microfluidics Laboratory

Multimedia Physics Laboratory

Optoelectronics Laboratory

Organic Electronic Laboratory

Pulsed Laser Deposition Laboratory

Raman Spectroscopy Laboratory

Sensor and Transducer Laboratory

Spectroscopy Laboratory

Thin Film Fabrication Laboratory

UMF Clean Room

VSM Laboratory

Other Information

No information is available at present.

Supporting Documents

Academic Referee's Report

Optional - Two Academic Referee's Reports are required

Curriculum Vitae


Personal Statement


Research Proposal


Transcript / Certificate