Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDyson School of Design Engineering

Senior Lecturer in Energy Storage and Bioelectronics Design



yunlong.zhao Website




1M04ADyson BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Dr Yunlong Zhao is an Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) at the Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College London. He also holds a joint appointment at the National Physical Laboratory (UK) as a Senior Scientist and a visiting academic position at the University of Surrey. Yunlong carried out his postdoctoral and doctoral research at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, where he conducted research in bioelectronic materials and devices, and nano-bio interface. He also received his undergraduate and postgraduate research training at the Wuhan University of Technology, with a focus on electrochemical energy storage and electrochemical probing.

Yunlong gained highly multidisciplinary research experience in material science, electrochemistry, electrophysiology, electronic engineering, biomedical engineering and nano-bio interface. His research philosophy is to identify key challenges/problems in complex electrochemical and biomedical systems by rational designing and engineering devices capable of simulating, monitoring and regulating complex electrochemical and physiological processes, performing root cause analysis and proposing innovative solutions/optimisation strategies for the applications in Sustainability and Healthcare.

Yunlong has developed a series of novel bioelectronics, sensors, energy storage devices, and their integration into 2D on-chip and 3D soft systems for the in-depth studies of electrophysiology and electrochemical energy storage, with over 90 publications published in peer-reviewed journals such as Nature, Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Materials, Nature Communications, Nature Reviews Materials, PNAS, etc. His work has attracted widespread attention from academics, media and industries. Due to his academic contributions, Yunlong has received numerous prestigious awards, e.g., the Second-Class Prize of State Natural Science Award, the Wiley-VCH Rising Stars, the Top 5 finalist for the USERN prize, etc.

Currently, he leads the Electrochemical and Bioelectronic Interface group at the Dyson School of Design Engineering, as well as a member of the Electrochemical Science and Engineering group, Centre for Processable Electronics, etc.

A list of all of Yunlong's papers can be found on his Google Scholar page.

research interests

1. On-chip and flexible implantable devices for electrochemical and physiological interrogation.

2. Advanced electrochemical energy storage technologies for Sustainability and Future Electronics.

3. Wearable and implantable bioelectronics for Healthcare and the Human-Machine Interface.

4. Micro-power sources and bioelectronics integrated 3D soft system.


Applications are welcome from outstanding prospective PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. Please contact Yunlong directly if you wish to be considered for a position.

Additional information: Imperial College entry requirementsImperial College President's PhD Scholarship, Design Engineering ScholarshipCSC Scholarship, and other scholarship schemes.

Selected Publications

  1. Huanxin Li, Yi Gong, Haihui Zhou, Jing Li, Kai Yang, Boyang Mao, Jincan Zhang, Yan Shi, Jinhai Deng, Mingxuan Mao, Zhongyuan Huang, Shuqiang Jiao, Yafei Kuang, Yunlong Zhao* & Shenglian Luo*, Ampere-hour-scale soft-package potassium-ion hybrid capacitors enabling 6-minute fast-charging. Nature Communications, (2023) 14.6407.
    Note: Extreme fast charging of Ampere-hour (Ah)-scale electrochemical energy storage devices targeting charging times of less than 10 minutes are desired to increase widespread adoption. However, this metric is difficult to achieve in conventional Li-ion batteries due to their inherent reaction mechanism and safety hazards at high current densities. In this work, we report 1 Ah soft-package potassium-ion hybrid supercapacitors (PIHCs), which combine the merits of the high-energy density of battery-type negative electrodes and the high-power density of capacitor-type positive electrodes. The full cells (1 Ah) exhibit a cell voltage of up to 4.8 V, high full-cell level specific energy of 140 Wh kg−1 (based on the whole mass of the device) with a full charge of 6 minutes. An 88% capacity retention after 200 cycles at 10 C (10 A) and a voltage retention of 99% at 25 ± 1 °C are also demonstrated.Ampere-hour-scale soft-package potassium-ion hybrid capacitors enabling 6-minute fast-charging
  2. Ming Xu, Yuheng Liu, Kai Yang, Shaoyin Li, Manman Wang, Jianan Wang, Dong Yang, Maxim Shkunov, S. Ravi P. Silva, Fernando A. Castro, Yunlong Zhao*, Minimally invasive power sources for implantable electronics. Exploration (2023), 20220106. (invited)
    Note: As healthcare technology advances, there's a growing need for implantable medical devices that are less invasive. Traditional implantable power sources are bulky and can cause issues, limiting the development of smaller devices. This work explores the history of these devices and discusses promising solutions like biodegradable batteries, energy harvesters, and wireless power transfer. These innovations aim to make implantable devices more comfortable and effective for long-term health monitoring and treatment.Minimally invasive power sources for implantable electronics
  3. Manman Wang, Kai Yang *, Yuchen Ji,  Xiaobin Liao, Guangpeng Zhang, Mateus G. Masteghin, Nianhua Peng, Filipe Richheimer, Huanxin Li, Jianan Wang, Xinhua Liu, Shichun Yang, Enrico Petrucco, Paul Shearing, Fernando A. Castro, S. Ravi P. Silva, Yan Zhao, Feng Pan * and  Yunlong Zhao *, "Developing highly reversible Li-CO2 battery: from on-chip exploration to practical application". Energy & Environmental Science(2023), 16, 3960.
    Note: Li-CO2 batteries (LCBs) have received extensive attention as a promising alternative to solve both energy crises and CO2 emission issues. In this work, we developed a versatile on-chip electrochemical testing platform to simultaneously achieve efficient catalyst screening and in-situ probing of product chemical composition and morphology evolution of reaction products in LCBs. Following the on-chip platform results, LCB pouch cells were fabricated for practical applications. These results demonstrate the practical competitive advantages of LCBs, and more generally, the demonstrated multimodal platform can be broadly applied to other systems, thereby opening up new opportunities for rapid catalyst screening, mechanism investigation, and the development of practical applications.Developing highly reversible Li–CO2 batteries: from on-chip exploration to practical application
  4. Xuhui Yao, Xuekun Lu, Yundong Zhou, Tomáš Šamořil, Jinxin Bi, Mateus Gallucci Masteghin, Huixing Zhang, Leslie Askew, Jeong Won Kim, Fangyu Xiong, Jianan Wang, David Cox, Tan Sui, Ian Gilmore, S. Ravi P. Silva, Liqiang Mai, Gareth Hinds, Paul Shearing*, Juyeon Park*  and Yunlong Zhao* "Rectifying Interphase for Preventing Li Dendrite Propagation in Solid-State Electrolytes", Energy & Environmental Science, 16, (2023) 2167-2176.
    Note: Solid-state lithium (Li) batteries are considered to be one of the most promising solutions for the future generation of batteries due to their excellent potential energy density and the nonflammability of solid-state electrolytes (SSEs), but the formation and propagation of Li dendrites seriously restrict their practical applications. In this work, we present a conceptual and experimental breakthrough to fundamentally overcome the inevitable dendrite propagation by introducing electronic rectifying interphase on the SSE without compromising the electrochemical reactions.Rectifying interphases for preventing Li dendrite propagation in solid-state electrolytes
  5. Roey Elnathan*, Maria Grazia Barbato, Xiangfu Guo, Anna Mariano, Zixun Wang, Francesca Santoro*, Peng Shi*, Nicolas H. Voelcker*, Xi Xie*, Jennifer L. Young*, Yunlong Zhao*, Wenting Zhao* & Ciro Chiappini*, "Biointerface design for vertical nanoprobes" Nature Reviews Materials(2022), 7, 953–973.
    Note: Biointerfaces mediate safe and efficient cell manipulation, which is essential for biomedical innovations in advanced therapies and diagnostics. This Review discusses how the design of a vertical nanoprobe biointerface determines its ability to interrogate and control a cell. Selected as Cover for Volume 7 Issue 12, December 2022.Biointerface design for vertical nanoprobes
  6. Shiqi Guo, Kaijin Wu, Chengpan Li, Hao Wang, Zheng Sun, Dawei Xi, Sheng Zhang, Mona E. Zaghloul, Changning Wang, Fernando  A. Castro, Dong Yang, Yunlong Zhao*. "Integrated contact lens sensor system based on multifunctional ultrathin MoS2 transistors." Matter4,3, (2021): 969-985.
    Note: Unlike traditional sensors and circuit chips sandwiched in the lens substrate, this work demonstrates an ultrathin and flexible serpentine mesh sensor layer that could be directly mounted onto a contact lens and maintain direct contact with tears, showing easy assembly, high detection sensitivity, good biocompatibility and mechanical robustness, and not interfering with either blinking or sight of vision. This multifunctional contact lens with ultrathin field-effect transistors can provide diversified signals from the eyes, providing personalised and accurate medical analysis for users. This work attracted widespread attention from the media (BBCThe TimesDaily Mail, etc.) and many investment intentions from industries. integrated contact lens sensor system based on multifunctional ultrathin mos2 transistors
  7. Yunlong Zhao, Siheng Sean You, Anqi Zhang, Jae-Hyun Lee, Jinlin Huang, Charles M Lieber* “Scalable ultrasmall nanowire 3D transistor probes for intracellular recording” Nature Nanotechnology 14,(2019) 783–790. 
    Note: This work represents a major step towards scalable intracellular recording. This is the first example of semiconductor devices showing the capability to record full amplitude intracellular action from primary neurons and cardiomyocytes, with the advantage of the device being scalable, causing less discomfort and no fatal damage to the cell (cytosol dilation). This device design also allows for multiplexed recording from single cells and cell networks and could enable future investigations of dynamics in the brain and other tissues. CellPress comments this ultra-small nanoprobe could be a leap forward in high-resolution human-machine interfaces.Scalable ultrasmall three-dimensional nanowire transistor probes for intracellular recording
  8. Xiao Yang, Tao Zhou, Ted Zwang, Guosong Hong, Yunlong Zhao, Robert Viveros, Tianming Fu, Teng Gao and Charles M Lieber*, “Bioinspired neuron-like electronics,” Nature Materials18, (2019): 510–517.
    Note: This work presents the first example of a bioinspired and biomimetic brain-machine interface designed such that the key building blocks mimic the subcellular structural features and mechanical properties of neurons. It is a conceptual and experimental breakthrough that, for the first time, literally blurs the ever-present and clear dissimilarities in critical structural and mechanical properties between man-made and living systems. Associated News & Views on Nature Materials comments that “this work will change the perception and power of using bioinspired design for development of integrated devices for next-generation brain-machine interfaces.Bioinspired neuron-like electronics
  9. Liqiang Mai, Mengyu Yan, Yunlong Zhao "Track batteries degrading in real-time." Nature546.7659 (2017): 469.
  10. Yunlong Zhao, Jiangang Feng, Xue Liu, Fengchao Wang, Lifen Wang, Changwei Shi, Lei Huang, Xi Feng, Xiyuan Chen, Lin Xu, Mengyu Yan, Qingjie Zhang, Xuedong Bai, Hengan Wu, Liqiang Mai "Self-adaptive strain-relaxation optimization for high-energy lithium storage material through crumpling of graphene." Nature Communications5 (2014): 4565.
  11. Yunlong Zhao, Jun Yao, Lin Xu, Max N Mankin, Yinbo Zhu, Hengan Wu, Liqiang Mai, Qingjie Zhang, Charles M Lieber "Shape-controlled deterministic assembly of nanowires." Nano Letters16.4 (2016): 2644-2650.
  12. Yunlong Zhao, Chunhua Han, Junwei Yang, Jie Su, Xiaoming Xu, Shuo Li, Lin Xu, Ruopian Fang, Hong Jiang, Xiaodong Zou, Bo Song, Liqiang Mai, Qingjie Zhang "Stable alkali metal ion intercalation compounds as optimized metal oxide nanowire cathodes for lithium batteries." Nano Letters15.3 (2015): 2180-2185.
  13. Yunlong Zhao, Lin Xu, Liqiang Mai, Chunhua Han, Qinyou An, Xu Xu, Xue Liu, Qingjie Zhang "Hierarchical mesoporous perovskite La0.5Sr0.5CoO2.91 nanowires with ultrahigh capacity for Li-air batteries." PNAS109.48 (2012): 19569-19574.



Han H, Qin C, Xu D, et al., 2024, Elevating intracellular action potential recording in cardiomyocytes: A precision-enhanced and biosafe single-pulse electroporation system., Biosens Bioelectron, Vol:246

Li H, Gong Y, Zhou H, et al., 2024, Author Correction: Ampere-hour-scale soft-package potassium-ion hybrid capacitors enabling 6-minute fast-charging., Nat Commun, Vol:15

Fan Y, Olsson E, Johannessen B, et al., 2024, Manipulation of Transition Metal Migration via Cr-Doping for Better-Performance Li-Rich, Co-Free Cathodes, Acs Energy Letters, Pages:487-496

Zhao Y, 2023, Ampere-hour-scale soft-package potassium-ion hybrid capacitors enabling 6-minute fast-charging, Nature Communications, Vol:14, ISSN:2041-1723

Wang M, Yang K, Ji Y, et al., 2023, Developing highly reversible Li-CO<sub>2</sub> batteries: from on-chip exploration to practical application, Energy &amp; Environmental Science, Vol:16, ISSN:1754-5692, Pages:3960-3967

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