Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Affiliates – Gong Gu

Prof. Gong Gu
[email protected]

Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Research focus: Synthesis and manipulation of 2D materials and other emerging electronic materials, with an emphasis on interface interactions with substrates and surroundings; novel applications of these materials and their properties  



Gong joined the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UTK in 2010 to explore the more fundamental aspects of emerging electronic materials, after venturing into the world of 2D materials while working at Sarnoff Corporation in Princeton, NJ. He received his PhD degree in Electrical Engineering in 1999 from Princeton University, where his research was on organic semiconductor devices. Gong is an undergraduate alumnus of the Department of Electronic Engineering of Tsinghua University. 

Research Description

The Gu group works at the interdisciplinary junction connecting electrical engineering, physics, and materials science. They synthesize 2D materials (or simply peel them off van der Waals layered crystals), explore their exotic behaviors, and come up with novel applications. With two surfaces but not much of a bulk, a 2D material usually loses its intrinsic properties if not in stringently controlled conditions, hindering experimentation, let alone applications. To this end, the group explores ways to retain the desired intrinsic properties of these atomically thin sheets or to leverage their interactions with the surroundings. In these endeavors, Gong has found the chemical bonding picture of solids useful and become interested in bridging the complementary chemical and physical pictures. 

Recent research (see also

Research Image

In a graphene liquid cell, beryllium oxide can crystallize in a rare sp2-coordinated, hexagonal BeO polymorph. The thickness of the crystals produced this way is beyond the thermodynamic ultra-thin limit above which the wurtzite phase is energetically more favorable. Calculations show that the energy barrier of the phase transition is responsible for the observed occurrence of hexagonal layers. Credit: Angewandte Chemie
“A common method for creating a thin single-crystal layer of a semiconductor for use in an electronic device is heteroepitaxy—growing the layer on the face of a single crystal of a different material that acts as a template for assembly. Liu et al. (p. 163) now describe a similar process in which the edge of a graphene layer that was grown on a copper surface directs the assembly of a monolayer of hexagonal boron nitride. The boron nitride grew from inside edge of holes created in the graphene layer. The interface and the relative orientation of the two layers were determined by a variety of scanning microscopy and surface diffraction techniques.”