Department of Applied Physics

Doctor of Philosophy / Master of Philosophy

Sept 2020 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 visit our departmental website:


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
Programme Leader: Dr HUANG Haitao


Research Areas

Energy Materials and Devices

Materials and devices for various kinds of energy conversion and storage, including but not limited to

  • ferroelectric/dielectric materials for energy conversion and storage: colossal permittivity materials for energy storage, ferroelectric photovoltaics, electro-caloric cooling and ferro-catalysts
  • light sources based on piezotronics and piezo-photonics; triboelectric nanogenerators
  • materials for electrochemical energy conversion and storage: metal-ion batteries and supercapacitors
  • organic photovoltaics; perovskite solar cells
  • photocatalysts and electrocatalysts


Various kinds of low dimensional materials for devices and advanced in-situ and operando characterisation techniques.

  • Advanced materials characterisation techniques at the atomic scale, in-situ, and real-time
  • Emerging memories for neuromorphic computing
  • Low dimensional materials: quantum dots, nanowires, nanotubes, and two-dimensional materials
  • Micro/nano electronic devices; carbon-based electronics
  • Nanomaterials for bioelectronics and flexible electronics

Photonics, Plasmonics and Optoelectronics - Materials and Devices

Processing and characterisations of photonic, plasmonic and optoelectronic materials and their applications in devices.

  • Design and fabrication of fibre lasers and white-light LEDs
  • Laser photonic devices
  • Nanoplasmonics and metamaterials for sensing, imaging and energy applications
  • Nanomaterials and organic semiconductors for broadband photodetectors
  • Plasmon-enhanced photocatalysis, optofluidics, artificial photosynthesis, micro-/nano-optics
  • Raman spectroscopy, optical characterisations, pulsed laser deposition

Smart Materials and Devices

Processing, characterisations and applications of various types of ferroic and multiferroic smart materials and composites.

  • Ferroelectric, piezoelectric, pyroelectric and multiferroic materials and devices
  • Microelectromechanical devices, gas sensors, thin films
  • Nanofabrication techniques, magnetic and spintronics materials
  • Semiconductor materials and devices
  • Smart materials and devices (piezoelectric transformers, actuators, transducers and sensors)

Theoretical and Computational Physics

Various kinds of computational calculations (including but not limited to first-principles DFT, effective medium theory, molecular dynamics, analytical modelling, and numerical simulations, etc.) to predict materials properties and structures, with an emphasis on the following topics.

  • Flow of glassy polymer nanofilms; electron transport in solid-state quantum devices; formation of nanostructures in strained thin films
  • First-principles DFT calculations and molecular dynamics studies on 2D materials, interface and heterostructures
  • Machine learning and high-throughput calculations
  • Phonon vibration and Raman spectroscopy of ferroelectrics
  • Photonic crystals, topological photonics, plasmonic nanostructures, metamaterials, transformation optics, optomechanics of structured nanomaterials, and phononic crystals

Research Facilities

Advanced Physics Laboratory

Biosensors Laboratory

Centre for Electron Microscopy

Chemical Vapour Deposition Laboratory 

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

Optional - A standard form must be used for the submission of research proposal.  Please click here to download the form.

Transcript / Certificate