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Wu Ping

Associate Professor

Telephone: +65 6499 4576
Research Areas:
Material Science

Pillar / Cluster: Engineering Product Development


After graduate education, postdoc training and working in Canada and Australia, Ping Wu moved to Singapore in 1995 and established a Computational Materials Science Department in NSTB (the former A*star); serving continuously as its director till accepting a faculty position with tenure in SUTD. He has a few adjunct academic appointments; associated editor of the international journal Calphad, associate Professor in Nanyang Technological University (2005-2011), associate Professor in National University of Singapore (2000-2003), and Faculty Fellow in the Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA, 2002-2004).

Ping Wu supervised over 10 PhD theses and more than 20 postdoc researchers in Singapore, published over 250 papers in peer-review international journals and holds a number of US/Singapore patents on new engineering product development. He has been awarded numerous external research grants from various sources including hospitals, public research funding agencies and industry like Rolls Royce in the United Kingdom, Dupont, Hewlett Packard and Battelle in the United States; Saint Gobine Research in France; Noranda and Cominco in Canada; Mont Isa and WMC in Australia; and Hewlett Packard, Delphi, Siemens, GE Aviation in Singapore. He is a recipient of the MOE Tier 2, NRF, Temasek Lab, Smart, MOE Tier 1, Singapore-Japan, Singapore-China, and a four-time recipient of the Singapore-Canada joint research grants. Among the awards is the over three million Singapore dollar grant (2007-2010) on the development of CMOS-Compatible ZnO UV/Blue LEDs.

In the area of commercialisation of intellectual output, a thermo-chemistry expert database created by Ping Wu and his former colleagues has been licensed to all major universities and many industrial companies in North America, Europe and Australia. The tool is packaged within a Canadian software system: Facility for the Analysis of Chemical Thermodynamics (FACT). For industrial management in Singapore, he was a founding Board Director (independent) for China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (Solar Cells, Singapore) in 2010.

Ping Wu is interested in the development of both theory and applications for materials chemistry, with a goal to design and fabricate new chemicals, structures and products through a combined approach of computation and experiment. The focus is on the establishment of fundamental understanding of the electrochemical behaviours at the metal-semiconductor interface, as well as the thermodynamic and chemical kinetics principles governing the rectifying interface properties. Fabrication of nanostructures using affordable techniques is explored for applications in sustainable energy and environment.


  • Postdoc, University of Queensland, Australia, 1991-1993
  • PhD, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, University of Montreal, Canada, 1987-1992

Research Interests

  • Theory
    • Solid state chemistry
    • Thermodynamics
    • Electrochemistry (metal-semiconductor interfaces)
  • Modeling
    • Computational thermo-chemistry
    • Computational quantum chemistry
    • Materials informatics
  • Design & Fabrication
    • Green energy devices (solar cells, fuel cells and batteries)
    • Coatings for anti-corrosion
    • Electrospinning (nanostructures)

Research Projects

A few selected design examples are listed below:

  1. Design of chemical additives for zinc galvanizing process in Cominco (Canada)(1999-2001, funded by the Singapore-Canada joint research Program) – New simulation tools were developed and new chemical additives were designed. Data mining techniques were first applied to identify key structural parameters of known additives that control the coating quality, and then a simplified physical model (to represent the structure of the additives in the molten steel) was constructed based on the newly gained knowledge. Finally quantum chemistry computations were carried out to design new chemical additives which were proven experimentally in University of Toronto (Canada).
  2. Design of dye molecules for inkjet printer funded by a MNC (USA)(2000-2002) – New simulation tools were developed and new dyes were designed successfully using these tools. Quantum chemistry computations were first conducted to characterize a set of known dyes provided by the company, then pattern recognition was conducted using an in-house developed software package to identify the key dye structure and ink compositions that control the printing quality, and at last a simplified dye-paper interaction model was developed using molecular dynamic simulation techniques. The developed computational tool box not only reproduces the known experiments but also successfully design new dyes.
  3. Design and fabrication of p-type ZnO and p-n homojunction ZnO(2002-2003) – A ZnO based UV LED was successfully fabricated guided by computer simulations. Quantum chemistry computations were first carried out to identify the potential dopants that may lead to p-type conduction, and further to identify the role of oxygen partial pressure in the p-type conduction. Thermochemistry calculations were then applied to evaluate thermal effects to the acceptors in ZnO. And finally the model predicted that p-type conduction is likely in ZnO only under an oxygen poor and high temperature condition if using Zn3P2 as dopant.
  4. Design and fabrication of lead-free solder alloys(2001-2003) – New lead-free solder alloys were designed and fabricated. The alloy design was based on computational combinatory chemistry and thermodynamics laws, and verified by experiments. The computer model predicted eutectic temperature agrees well with the experimental value (within 1 degree). Two patents are filed and one of them has been granted by the US patent office.
  5. Prediction of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) performance funded by a MNC (UK)(2005-2008) – Molecular modeling techniques were used to predict the electronic and ionic conductivity of cathode components. For the first time that this company is able to quantify the performance degradation caused by impurities in the SOFC cathode. This simulation tool was timely since there was no real unit for testing. The computer simulation was the only available option.

Research Opportunities

  • New theory on the electrochemistry of metal-semiconductor interfaces
  • New design principles of anti-corrosion interface structures
  • Computational materials science
  • Fabrication of nanostructures for sustainable energy and environment applications

Awards & Achievements

  • China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (Solar Cells, Singapore), founding Board Director (independent), 2010
  • China Foundation for Foreign Talent, Visiting Professor, 2010-2011
  • Adjunct Professor appointments, Singapore (NUS, NTU, SMA), China (Shanghai University, Nanjing University, Guangxi University, Chinese Academy of Sciences), 1993-2011
  • Mont Isa (Australia), Postdoc Research Grant, 1991-1993
  • Dupont (USA), Research Scholarship, 1990-1991
  • Quebec (Canada) Scholar Exchange Foundation, Tuition Scholarship, 1987-1992
  • Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, University of Montreal, Research Scholarship, 1987-1992

Key Publications

  1. Doping-Enhanced Lithium Diffusion in Lithium-Ion Batteries
    • G. Wu, S.N. Wu, and P. Wu, Phys Rev. Letts, 2011, 107 (11), 118302
  2. Transforming C(60) molecules into graphene quantum dots
    • J. Lu, P.S. Yeo, C.K. Gan, P. Wu, K.P. Loh, Nature Nanotech. 2011, 6 (4), 247-252
  3. Unusual Transport and Strongly Anisotropic Thermopower in PtCoO2 and PdCoO2
    • P.K. Ong, D. Singh, P. Wu, Phys Rev Letts, 2010, 104 (17), 176601
  4. Quantifying the relationship between interface chemistry and metal electronegativity of metal-semiconductor interfaces
    • P. Wu, YZ Zeng, invited paper, J Mater Chem., 20, 10345-10350, 2010
  5. Coupled thermodynamic phase diagram assessment of the rare earth oxide – aluminum oxide binary systems
    • P. Wu and A.D. Pelton, J. Alloys & Comp, 179, 259 287 (1992)