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Yanwen Zhang

Associate Professor


Dr. Yanwen Zhang was awarded a Ph.D. in Engineering Physics from Lund University (Sweden) and a Ph.D. in Science from Beijing Normal University (China). After earning two Ph.D. degrees, she held positions as a Postdoctoral Fellow (1999) and Assistant Professor (2000-2002) at Uppsala University (Sweden), and as senior/staff scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) from 2003 to 2010. Dr. Zhang was awarded Honorary Docent from Lund University in 2004 after a rigorous evaluation of scientific achievements and pedagogical skills. Since 2006, she has held a guest professor appointment at Peking University (China), where she supervises graduate students in the field of materials research. She currently has served as a member of the Advisory Editorial Board for Nuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research, Section B since 2009. Dr. Zhang joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory in June 2010 with a joint faculty appointment in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee.

Dr. Zhang’s notable experience and accomplishment over the years is highlighted by her publication record, which includes more than 130 journal articles (lead author on 57), and 15 peer-reviewed conference papers. She is an author of an invited chapter: MeV Ion beam Modification of Materials in the book Electrostatic Accelerators – Techniques and Applications, and is a co-editor for a book on Ion Beams in Nanoscience and Technology. She has given more than 70 presentations at universities, research institutions, scientific conferences and workshops, including 35 invited presentations. In recognition of her professional and personal achievements, community service and exemplary leadership, she was awarded a 2005 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and DOE Office of Science Early Career Scientist and Engineer Award. Dr. Zhang has organized several society symposia and international conferences, serves as a reviewer for international journals, and has been active in mentoring of students at the high school, undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels.


Dr. Zhang’s research experience covers a range of topics in both theoretical and experimental materials science and engineering. The central aspect of Dr. Zhang’s research has been the interaction of ions and electrons with materials and how these interactions can be applied to the analysis and modification of materials, as well as the detection and characterization of charged particles. Her work has included radiation effects in materials, ionization-induced recrystallization, electronic stopping in solids, radiation detector physics, nanoscale defect/interface engineering, ion-beam modification and synthesis of materials, impurity diffusion in solids, environmental degradation of materials, numerical simulation, and applications of ion-beam analysis techniques. Her research has also included developing automatic instrumentation control programs for accelerator beam lines and end-stations, as well as the computational capabilities for multi-dimensional data acquisition and fast data analysis in association with high-resolution time-of-flight spectroscopy and ion-channeling. Dr. Zhang has experience with various ion sources, tandem accelerators, ion implanters, vacuum systems, channel plate, solid-state detectors, gas ionization detectors and electronics.


Ph.D. in Engineering Physics, Department of Nuclear Physics, Lund Institute of Technology (LTH), Sweden: Applications of Ion Beam Methods in Silicide/Si and Silicide/GaAs Nanometer Structures

Ph.D. in Science, Institute of Low Energy Nuclear Physics, Beijing Normal University (BNU), China: Application and Modeling of Ion Beam in Nanometer Science: Elastic Recoil Detection, Silicide Film by Low Energy Ion Beam Synthesis, Stoichiometry Disturbance by MeV Ion Implantation

Professional Service

  • Co-organizer for the 16th International Conference on Radiation Effects in Insulators (REI-2011) to be held in Beijing, China (August 14-20, 2011).
  • Named to the advisory editorial board of Nuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research, Section B.  Zhang will serve in this role for a 3-year period, beginning January 1, 2009 with a possibility to extend to a total of 6 years.
  • Co-organizer for a symposium on “Materials Research Needs to Advance Nuclear Energy” for the 2009 MRS Fall meeting in Boston.
  • Served on the committee for MRS Women’s Development Workshop for the Materials Research Society, 2008 and 2009.
  • Member of Materials Research Society since 2003.
  • Member of local organizing committee for the 9th International Conference on Computer Simulation of Radiation Effects in Solids, Beijing, China, from October 12 to 17, 2008.
  • Session Organizer at 20th International Conference on the Application of Accelerators in Research and Industry on Novel Applications of Ion-Solid Interactions (2008)
  • Co-organizer for a symposium on Ion Beam Modification and Synthesis in Solids for the 2006 Material Science and Technology Conference held in Cincinnati, OH, USA (October 14-17, 2006).
  • Session organizer and session chairs for 19th International Conference on the Application of Accelerators in Research and Industry (CAARI), Fort Worth, Texas USA, August 20 – 25, 2006
  • Member of local organizing committee for the 8th International Conference on Computer Simulation of Radiation Effects in Solids, Richland, WA, June 19-23, 2006.
  • Member of local organizing committee for the 13th International Conference on Radiation Effects in Insulators, Santa Fe, NM, August 28-September 2, 2005.

Awards and Recognitions

Director, DOE Energy Frontier Research Center on Dissipation to Defect Evolution

Deputy Director, UT-ORNL Ion Beam Materials Laboratory

2008 Invited to participate in the 14th annual German-American Kavli Frontiers of Science (GAFOS) symposium in Potsdam, Germany on June 11-14, 2008. The symposium, co-sponsored by the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation and the U.S. National Academy of Science (NAS), is the Academy’s premiere activity for distinguished young scientists. Attendees are selected by a committee of Academy members from among young researchers who have already made recognized contributions to science. Since its inception in 1989, more than one hundred of its “alumni” have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and eight have received Nobel Prizes.

2008 Invited to participate at the 2008 German-American Frontiers of Engineering (GAFOE) Symposium, in Irvine, CA, April 24 -27, 2008 that is hosted by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The invitation-only GAFOE aims to bring together outstanding, early-career German and American engineers to facilitate an interdisciplinary transfer of knowledge and methodology that could eventually lead to collaborative networks of engineers from the two countries.

2006 Recipient of the 2005 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). This is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent career.

2006 Recipient of the 2005 DOE Office of Science Early Career Scientist and Engineer Award with 5 years of research funding.

2006 PNNL/Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory Director Award, PNNL 2006.


  1. Y. Zhang, W.J. Weber, The Role of Energy Partitioning on Electron-hole Recombination, Trapping and Detection in Silicon Detectors, Physical Review B 82 (2010) 075202.
  2. Y. Zhang, I.-T. Bae, K. Sun, C. Wang, M. Ishimaru, Z. Zhu, W. Jiang, and W.J. Weber, “Damage Profile and Ion Distribution of Slow Heavy Ions in Compounds” Journal of Applied Physics, 105 (2009) 104901.
  3. Y. Zhang, B.D. Milbrath, W.J. Weber, M. Elfman, and H.J. Whitlow.   “Radiation detector resolution measurements over a continuous energy range”, Applied Physics Letters91(2007) 094105.
  4. Y. Zhang, J. Lian, C. M. Wang, W. Jiang, R. C. Ewing, and W. J. Weber, “Ion-induced Damage Accumulation and Electron-beam-enhanced Recrystallization in SrTiO3”, Physical Review B 72 (2005) 094112.
  5. Y. Zhang, W. J. Weber and C. M. Wang, “Electronic Stopping Powers in Silicon Carbide”, Physical Review B 69 (2004) 205201.
  6. Y. Zhang, F. Gao, W. Jiang, D. E. McCready and W. J. Weber, “Damage Accumulation and Defect Relaxation in 4H Silicon-Carbide”, Physical Review B 70 (2004) 125203.
  7. Y. Zhang, W. J. Weber, V. Shutthanandan, R. Devanathan, S. Thevuthasan, G. Balakrishnan and D. M. Paul, “Damage Evolution on Sm and O Sublattices in Au-implanted Samarium Titanate Pyrochlore”, Journal of Applied Physics, 95 (2004) 2866.
  8. Y. Zhang, W. J. Weber, W. Jiang, C. M. Wang, V. Shutthanandan, and A. Hallén, “Effects of Implantation Temperature on Damage Accumulation in Al-Implanted 4H-SiC”, Journal of Applied Physics, 95 (2004) 4012.
  9. Y. Zhang, and W. J. Weber, “Validity of Bragg’s Rule and SRIM Predictions for Heavy Ion Stopping in Silicon Carbide”, Physical Review B 68 (2003) 235317.
  10. Y. Zhang, and W. J. Weber, “Electronic Stopping of He, B, N and Al in SiC”, Applied Physics Letters 83 (2003) 1665.

Contact Information

  • 203 Fibers & Composites Manufacturing Facility-Engineering Annex 1321 White Ave. Knoxville, TN 37996-1950
  • Phone: 865-974-0482
  • E-mail: