Yuanbing Mao

  • Department of Chemistry Chair
  • Professor of Chemistry


Ph.D. in Chemistry, State University of New York at Stony Brook
M.S. in Chemistry, Institute of Chemistry, CAS
B.S. in Chemistry, Xiangtan University

Research Interests

My research centers around designing advanced nanomaterials, achieving desirable properties and functionalities, and tackling complex interdisciplinary material challenges. Current studies focus on the development of facile and reliable synthesis methods for complex metal oxide nanomaterials, the investigation of their novel properties, and the exploration of their application potentials in the areas of optoelectronics, energy conversion, and sustainability. Specifically, we are interested to:

  • Develop and investigate metal oxide-based nanophosphors and nanoscintillators for lighting, radiation detection, and biodiagnostics, and determine their electronic structure by complementary techniques, especially X-ray spectroscopies, as a critical step in learning how to control, design, and engineer these oxides.
  • Study and understand the underlying mechanism and parameters that govern the water splitting reduction/oxidation activities and ideally discover a convenient activity descriptor(s) of strongly correlated complex transition metal oxides, e.g. delafossite oxides CuIMIIIO2.
  • Design and evaluate oxide-based nanostructured photocatalysts for photodegradation and antibacterial wastewater treatment, understand the fundamental adsorption and reactive species generation kinetics and mechanisms, and develop quantitative relationship between activity and underlying mechanism.

In the past several years after I started my independent academic career, I have established the Multifunctionalized Applications of Oxides (MAO) research group and built a vigorous, competitive and well-funded research program with sufficient external funds (several million dollars). I have led many of my proposal development efforts and built teams to secure grant cross departments, colleges, and universities. As the Principal Investigator, I have secured grants from the National Science Foundation (both regular and MRI grants), the DoD Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA, Young Investigator Award), the DoD HBCU/MI program, the Air Force of Scientific Research (AFOSR), American Chemical Society – Petroleum Research Fund (ACS PRF), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I have also served as co-PIs of an NSF PREM program and a DARPA project.

As a professor, I believe that great mentors are those who help his/her students remove barriers in their thinking and create boundaries to work within. It is our duty to advance our students’ careers and enhance their chances of success in whatever endeavors they choose to pursue. Moreover, my mentees always matter to me on a personal level. I was honored to receive the inaugural Outstanding Mentorship Award from the CUR Chemistry Division in 2019.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

American Chemical Society (ACS)
Materials Research Society (MRS)
American Ceramic Society (ACerS)
Electrochemical Society (ECS)


Outstanding Mentorship Award, the Council on Undergraduate Research 2019

Carlos & Stephanie Manrique de Lara Endowed Professorship, UTRGV 2018-2019

Faculty Excellence Award in Research, UTRGV 2018

Excellence in Research Award, College of Sciences, UTRGV 2017

Recipient of the Visiting Faculty Program at Ames National Laboratory, Department of Energy Summers 2013, 2014 & 2015

Young Investigator Award, Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), DoD 2010

Lee Myers Award for Outstanding Doctoral Chemistry Student (highest honor), SUNY-Stony Brook 2006



Santosh K. Gupta, Jose P. Zuniga#, Maya Abdou*, Melonie P. Thomas, Manisha De Alwis Goonatilleke, Beth S. Guiton, and Yuanbing Mao, Lanthanide-doped lanthanum hafnate nanoparticles as multicolor phosphors for warm white lighting and scintillators,Chemical Engineering Journal,2019,in press. DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2019.122314

Santosh K. Gupta, Maya Abdou*, Jose P. Zuniga#, Partha S. Ghosh, Enrique Molina, Ben Xu, Mircea Chipara, and Yuanbing Mao, Role of oxygen vacancies and pH induced size changes on photo- and radioluminescence of undoped and Eu3+-doped La2Zr2O7nanoparticles, Journal of Luminescence,2019, 209, 302-315.

Maya Abdou*, Santosh K. Gupta, Jose P. Zuniga#, and Yuanbing Mao, Insight into the Effect of A-Site Cations on Structural and Optical Properties of RE2Hf2O7:U Nanoparticles, Journal of Luminescence, 2019, 210, 425-434.

Santosh K. Gupta, Maya Abdou*, Partha Sarathi Ghosh, Jose P. Zuniga#, and Yuanbing Mao, Thermally induced disorder-order phase transition of Gd2Hf2O7:Eu3+nanoparticles and its implication on photo- and radioLuminescence,ACS Omega, 2019, 4, 2779-2791.

Victoria Trummel*, Santosh K. Gupta, Madhab Pokhrel, Donald Wall, and Yuanbing Mao, Investigating the impact of gamma radiation on structural and optical properties of Eu3+doped rare-earth hafnate pyrochlore nanocrystals,Journal of Luminescence, 2019, 207, 1-13.

Marisol Valdez*, Santosh K. Gupta, and Yuanbing Mao, Forcespun polydiacetylene nanofibers as colorimetric sensor for food spoilage detection,Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical,2019, 297, 126734.

Héctor A. De Santiago*, Santosh K. Gupta, and Yuanbing Mao, On high purity fullerenol obtained by combined dialysis and freeze-drying method with its morphostructural transition and photoluminescence,Separation and Purification Technology,2019, 210, 927-934.

Swati Mohanand Yuanbing Mao, Dependence of (photo)electrochemical properties on geometry factors of hydrothermally synthesized delafossite copper gallium oxide CuGaO2toward oxygen evolution reaction,Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 2018,165(10), H607-H613.

Maya Abdou*, Santosh K. Gupta, Jose Zuniga#, and Yuanbing Mao, On structure and phase transformation of uranium doped La2Hf2O7nanoparticles as an efficient nuclear waste host,Materials Chemistry Frontiers, 2018, 2, 2201 - 2211 (cover).

Jennifer L. Bravo*, Hermes Chirino*, and Yuanbing Mao, Heterogeneous TiO2@OC core@shell photocatalysts for highly efficient waste water treatment, New Journal of Chemistry,2017,41,13600-13610.
Qiang Li#, Xing Sun#, Karen Lozano, and Yuanbing Mao, Dependence of photoelectrochemical properties on geometry factors of interconnected “caterpillar-like“ ZnO networks, Electrochimica Acta, 2016, 222,232-245.

Jahangeer Ahmedand Yuanbing Mao, Ultrafine iridium oxide nanorods synthesized by molten salt method toward electrocatalytic oxygen and hydrogen evolution reactions,Electrochimica Acta, 2016, 212, 686-693.

Madhab Pokhrel, Kareem Wahid*, and Yuanbing Mao, Systematic studies on RE2Hf2O7:5%Eu3+(RE = Y, La, Pr, Gd, Er, and Lu) nanoparticles: effects of the A-site RE3+cation and calcination on structure and photoluminescence, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2016, 120,14828-14839.

Lin Wei#, and Yuanbing Mao, Enhanced hydrogen storage performance of reduced graphene oxide hybrids with nickel or its metallic mixtures based on spillover mechanism,International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 2016, 41, 11692 - 11699.

MadhabPokhrel, Carolina Valdes*,and Yuanbing Mao, Ultraviolet upconversion enhancement in triply doped NaYF4:Tm3+,Yb3+particles: the role of Nd3+or Gd3+co-doping,Optical Materials,2016, 58, 67 - 75

Bhupendra B. Srivastava, Anxiu Kuang, and Yuanbing Mao, Persistent luminescent sub-10 nm Cr doped ZnGa2O4nanoparticles by a bi-phasic synthesis route, Chemical Communications, 2015,51, 7372 - 7375.

*UG coauthor; #graduate coauthor; †postdoctoral or visiting scholar coauthor.


Yuanbing Mao, Hisham Abdou, Kusy Zarzosa, and Evan Braswell, Using insects to carry nanocides for therapeutics, U.S. Patent Provisional Appl. no. US 62816939 (filed on March 12, 2019).

Karen Lozano, Yuanbing Mao, Carlos Hernandez, Misael E. Martinez, Mark Anthony Ruiz, Jorge Ernesto Vidal, Jose Zuniga, Mechanoluminescence polymer doped fabrics and methods, PCT Int. Appl. (2019), WO 2019049085 A1 20190314.

Yuanbing Mao, Core@shell particles composed of sensitizing broadband long-persistent phosphor core and upconversion shell and mehtods of making same, U.S. Patent Appl. Publication no. US 62/074,833, and PCT Int. Appl. (2016), WO 2016073447 A1 20160512.

Yuanbing Mao, Heterogeneous core@shell photocatalyst, manufacturing method therefore and articles comprising photocatayst, U.S. Patent Appl. Publication no. US 62/074,835, and PCT Int. Appl. (2016), WO 2016073449 A1 20160512.

Stanislaus S. Wong and Yuanbing Mao, Large-scale synthesis of perovskite nanostructures, U.S. Patent Appl. Publication no. US 2007/0254154 A1 and PCT Int. Appl. (2006), WO 2006085912 A2 20060817.

Stanislaus S. Wong and Yuanbing Mao, Titania and titanate nanostructures and methods of making same, U.S. 8,440,162, issued May 14, 2013.

Stanislaus S. Wong and Yuanbing Mao, Metal oxide and metal fluoride nanostructures and methods of making same, U. S.7,575,735, issued August 18, 2009.

Stanislaus S. Wong and Yuanbing Mao, Hydrothermal synthesis of perovskite nanotubes, US 7,147,834 B2, issued December 12, 2006.

Bizhong Li, Yuanbing Mao, Junhui Ji, Qing Yan, and Xiaoxu Dong, Preparation of antibacterial antifungal resin composition, Chinese Patent CN 1,294,145, issued May 9, 2001.


Achieving desirable properties and functionalities of nanomaterials

Interdisciplinary material challenges

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