Dr Mike Tebyetekerwa

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology


Mike is currently a UQ Dow Centre postdoctoral research fellow working with Prof Xiwang Zhang (Endowed Dow Centre Chair Professor) and Prof George Zhao (ARC Australian Laureate Fellow). Mike completed his PhD in Engineering at The Australian National University, Canberra in 2022 with his work focused on developing tools and techniques for advanced characterization of semiconducting materials (2D Materials, Perovskites, and Silicon) and their devices. Mainly for understanding their underlying performance and light-matter interactions for energy technologies working with Prof Daniel Macdonald, Dr Hieu T. Nguyen, Prof Zongyou Yin, and Prof Yuerui (Larry) Lu. Before that, he obtained his Masters in Materials Processing Engineering (CGPA 91.6/100) from Donghua University, Shanghai-China in 2018 with his thesis focused on fibrous materials for flexible energy storage applications under Prof. Meifang Zhu (Academician Chinese Academy of Science) and Dr Shengyuan Yang. Mike's current research at UQ is inter and multidisciplinary and lies in the integration of high-performance fibrous materials and 2D materials in various applications. For example, as catalysts for water oxidation/reduction for the production of H2O2 and H2, membranes for water treatment, electrodes for battery energy storage/capacitive desalination/CO2 capture, and advanced characterisation of 2D materials for optoelectronics with advanced tools. His work also investigates how materials can be formed to meet the strict requirements of the circular and green economy when used in several applications. Mike currently has projects for undergrads, masters and PhD students including but not limited to these specific topics.

  1. Photo/electrochemical production of H2O2 or H2 from water
  2. Reconstructed graphite for sodium-ion batteries
  3. High surface area electrospun materials for capacitive desalination
  4. Electrochemical CO2 capture using capacitive devices

Featured works

Research Interests

  • Functional fiber materials for energy and environment
    Textiles are one of the most popular and important materials to humans since creation. Fibers are the basic building units of these materials. Characterised by a high length to thickness ratios, fibers have a high surface area, can be tuned to unique morphologies, in 1D, 2D to 3D forms. Traditional fibers are insulating and spun from pure insulating polymers finding applications in mostly, apparels, upholstery, and home/industrial/office insulation use. The past few years has seen this dominance switching, with fibers now finding new functional properties for technical applications involving incorporation of several nanomaterials to fibers and hence finding new applications in industries such as the automotive, electronics, medicine, energy, water purification, construction, agro-food sectors, and many others. Infact, the global technical fiber market size was valued at USD 176.6 billion in 2019, with predicted growth of 4.5% from 2020 to 2027. Current in the EU, 27% of current fiber production are technical fibers. Therefore, finding ways to manufacture advanced technical fibers with unique properties and functions beyond clothing is critical. References [1] M. Tebyetekerwa, I. Marriam, Z. Xu, S.Y. Yang, H. Zhang, F. Zabihi, R. Jose, S.J. Peng, M.F. Zhu, S. Ramakrishna, Energy Environ. Sci., 12 (2019) 2148-2160. [2] M. Tebyetekerwa, S. Ramakrishna, Matter, 2 (2020) 279-283. [3] M. Tebyetekerwa, Z. Xu, W. Li, X. Wang, I. Marriam, S. Peng, S. Ramkrishna, S. Yang, M. Zhu, ACS Appl. Energy Mater., 1 (2017) 377-386. [4] G.Y. Chen, T. Chen, K. Hou, W.J. Ma, M. Tebyetekerwa, Y.H. Cheng, W. Weng, M.F. Zhu, Carbon, 127 (2018) 218-227. [5] S. Yu, X. Wang, H. Xiang, L. Zhu, M. Tebyetekerwa, M. Zhu, Carbon, 140 (2018) 1-9. [6] M. Tebyetekerwa, Z. Xu, S. Yang, S. Ramakrishna, Advanced Fiber Materials, 2 (2020) 161-166.
  • Light-matter interactions in low-dimension 2D transition-metal dichalcogenides
    Two-dimensional (2D) transition-metal dichalcogenide (TMD) semiconductors exhibit many important structural and optoelectronic properties, such as strong light-matter interactions, direct bandgaps tunable from visible to near-infrared regions, flexibility and atomic thickness, quantum-confinement effects, valley polarization possibilities, and so on. Therefore, they are regarded as a very promising class of materials for next-generation state-of-the-art nano/micro optoelectronic devices. To explore different applications and device structures based on 2D TMDs, intrinsic material properties, their relationships, and evolutions with fabrication parameters need to be deeply understood, very often through a combination of various characterization techniques. Among them, steady-state photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy has been extensively employed. This class of techniques is fast, contactless, and non-destructive and can provide very high spatial resolution. Therefore, it can be used to obtain optoelectronic properties from samples of various sizes (from microns to centimeters) during the fabrication process without complex sample preparation. There are many unknown properties in these materials which are yet to be discovered, and PL spectroscopy can be a leading tool to be employed. References [1] S. Manzeli, D. Ovchinnikov, D. Pasquier, O.V. Yazyev, A. Kis, Nat. Rev. Mater., 2 (2017) 1-15. [2] M. Tebyetekerwa, J. Zhang, Z. Xu, T.N. Truong, Z. Yin, Y. Lu, S. Ramakrishna, D. Macdonald, H.T. Nguyen, ACS Nano, 14 (2020) 14579-14604. [3] M. Tebyetekerwa, J. Zhang, K. Liang, T. Duong, G.P. Neupane, L. Zhang, B. Liu, T.N. Truong, R. Basnet, X. Qiao, Z. Yin, Y. Lu, D. Macdonald, H.T. Nguyen, Adv. Mater., 31 (2019) e1900522. [4] M. Tebyetekerwa, J. Zhang, S.E. Saji, A.A. Wibowo, S. Rahman, T.N. Truong, Y. Lu, Z. Yin, D. Macdonald, H.T. Nguyen, Cell Rep. Phys. Sci., 2 (2021) 100509.
  • Aggregation-induced emission (AIE)
    Traditional luminogens are highly emissive in solutions but poorly emissive in solid state. This phenomenon is what is referred to as aggregation-caused quenching (ACQ) effect, due to their intermolecular π–π stacking. Therefore, if we require to use the ACQ dyes in most solid-state applications, we have a problem of significantly diminished fluorescence signals. Interestingly, in 2001, B.Z. Tang’s group accidentally realised a unique luminogen with an opposite behaviour to ACQs. It exhibited significantly enhanced fluorescence in the aggregated state and poor emission in solutions, and, for the first time, coined the concept of aggregation-induced emission (AIE). AIE luminogens are able to be emissive at solid-state due to their unique structures made up of molecular rotors capable of restricting their intramolecular motions (RIM), including both the restriction of intramolecular rotations (RIR) and the restriction of intramolecular vibrations (RIV). Such properties of AIE molecules have led to the birth of efficient organic molecules capable of working as molecular machines, sensors, photodetectors, LEDs, paints, solar concentrators, biomarkers and many others. References [1] J. Luo, Z. Xie, J.W. Lam, L. Cheng, H. Chen, C. Qiu, H.S. Kwok, X. Zhan, Y. Liu, D. Zhu, B.Z. Tang, Chem Commun (Camb), (2001) 1740-1741. [2] Y. Hong, J.W. Lam, B.Z. Tang, Chem. Soc. Rev., 40 (2011) 5361-5388. [3] M. Tebyetekerwa, Y. Cheng, J. Zhang, W. Li, H. Li, G.P. Neupane, B. Wang, T.N. Truong, C. Xiao, M.M. Al-Jassim, ACS Nano, 14 (2020) 7444-7453. [4] W.L. Li, Y.X. Ding, M. Tebyetekerwa, Y.X. Xie, L. Wang, H.K. Li, R. Hu, Z.M. Wang, A.J. Qin, B.Z. Tang, Mater Chem Front, 3 (2019) 2491-2498.

Research Impacts

Mike's work on fibers, AIEgens, 2D materials, and other semiconducting materials has been reported in various high-quality peer-reviewed journals such as Science, Advanced Materials, Energy and Environmental Science, Advanced Energy Materials, Advanced Functional Materials, Matter, ACS Nano, etc. demonstrating and explaining the science and engineering of solving various global issues related to energy and environment. Some key results include, to first-ever "to quantify the maximum limit of the open‐circuit voltage (Voc) that a solar cell fabricated from 2D monolayer semiconductors can achieve" (in Advanced Materials https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.201900522), being part of the group that "demonstrated the first certified 21.6% solar cell efficiency in perovskite solar cells larger than one square centimeter in size." (in Science https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.abb8687), first-ever to propose the new approach "to measure fiber/wearable batteries and capacitors performance by integrating the standard textile measurement of Denier and Tex" (in Energy and Environmental Science https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2017/sc/c8ee02607f), and many others. Most of Mike's research has been featured by over 60 media channels worldwide.

Some International Media Releases.


View all Publications


  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision


Book Chapter

  • Marriam, Ifra, Tebyetekerwa, Mike, Chathuranga, Hiran, Yang, Shengyuan and Yan, Cheng (2022). Fabrication techniques for wearable batteries. Smart and flexible energy devices. (pp. 397-415) Boca Raton, FL USA: CRC Press. doi: 10.1201/9781003186755-22

  • Lugoloobi, Ishaq, Tebyetekerwa, Mike, Memon, Hafeezullah and Sun, Chao (2020). Advanced chemical applications of modified cotton. Textile science and clothing technology. (pp. 501-527) edited by Hua Wang and Hafeezullah Memon. Singapore: Springer Singapore. doi: 10.1007/978-981-15-9169-3_20

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Nguyen, H. T., Truong, T. N., Yan, D., Samundsett, C., Basnet, R., Tebyetekerwa, M., Guthrey, H., Al-Jassim, M. M., Li, Z., Li, L., Kremer, F., Cuevas, A. and MacDonald, D. (2019). Luminescence from poly-Si films and its application to study passivating-contact solar cells. 2019 IEEE 46th Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), Chicago, IL United States, 16-21 June 2019. Piscataway, NJ United States: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. doi: 10.1109/PVSC40753.2019.8980949

  • Tebyetekerwa, Mike, MacDonald, Daniel and Nguyen, Hieu T. (2019). Predicting open-circuit voltages in atomically-thin monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides-based solar cells. Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), Chicago, IL, United States, 16-21 June 2019. Piscataway, NJ, United States: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. doi: 10.1109/PVSC40753.2019.8980641

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision