Zhaoju Yu is a full professor in the College of Materials at the Xiamen University, China. She received her PhD in Polymer Chemistry and Physics at the Wuhan University in 2004. Since then, she joined the Xiamen University as a staff. Between 2012 and 2013, she held a scholarship at the Materials and Geosciences Department of the Technische Universität Darmstadt with Prof. Ralf Riedel, which was funded by China Scholarship Council (CSC) for Visiting Professors. She has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed papers and 8 patents. In addition, she presented 33 invited talks at international academic conferences. These talks highlight her interests, covering a variety of different hot topics in materials chemistry as well as in materials science and nanotechnology ranging from synthesis of preceramic polymers to polymer-derived nanoscaled ceramics and characterization of their structural and functional properties.

Yu is the recipient of a Humboldt Research Fellowship awarded in 2016 and is guest professor in the frame of an international scientist exchange program with the research group “Disperse Feststoffe” at the Materials and Geosciences Department of the Technische Universität Darmstadt. She serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Ceramic Society and Ceramics International and was Guest Editor-in-chief for the Journal of the European Ceramic Society. Additionally, she is on the editorial boards for several journals such as Journal of Advanced Ceramics, Materials, and Advanced Powder Materials. She is the deputy director of the Key Laboratory of High Performance Ceramic Fibers (Xiamen University), Ministry of Education, China.

Yu’s research fields include ceramic nanocomposites, ceramic fibers and silicone-based polymer materials. In particular, her research work is focused on i) advanced Si-based ceramic nanocomposites containing nanocarbon phase by molecular approach; and ii) the correlation of the molecular structure of preceramic polymers with the microstructure and properties of the ceramic materials obtained therefrom.

Title:  Putting metals into polymer derived ceramics: What happens?

Abstract:  SiC-based ceramic nanocomposites modified with transition metals such as Mo, Fe and Co, are effectively synthesized via the molecular approach. The resultant ceramics exhibit advanced properties including catalytic activity and electromagnetic (EM) properties, which have to be considered as potential candidate materials for environmental applications.

Depending on the transition metal, in-situ formed carbon nanophases as well as (multinary) ceramic phases are generated. The introduction of Mo offers the final ceramic nanocomposites outstanding electrocatalytic properties towards water splitting. Besides, the resultant Mo4.8Si3C0.6/C/SiC nanocomposites were for the first time discovered to show excellent EM absorbing properties. The introduction of Fe or Co results in the in-situ formation of complex core-shell microstructure together with turbostratic carbon dispersed within the ceramic matrix. Due to the enhanced dielectric and magnetic loss, the obtained Fe or Co containing SiC-based nanocomposites possess versatile designability and excellent EM absorbing performance, which shows substantial progress beyond the state of the art. The relationship between the obtained nano/microstructure of the synthesized SiC-based ceramic nanocomposites and their property features will be highlighted.