Dr. Zhao is a lecturer, research scientist and director of the Electron Microbeam Laboratories (E-Beam Lab), which includes the electron microprobe, ESEM, SEM, EBSD and XRD facilities. He is responsible for training new and existing users, maintaining the facilities at state-of-the-art conditions, and implementing and improving analytical routines.

Dr. Zhao's research interests range from geological and materials sciences to applications of electron Microbeam and X-ray techniques to issues in science and engineering. They include thermodynamics and geothermobarometry, mantle petrology and diamond deposits, metasomatism of subcontinental lithospheric mantle, magmatism and ore deposits of large igneous provinces, emplacement and origin of intraplate large igneous intrusions, uranium mineralogy and deposits, application of mineral materials in reducing air pollution, nuclear waste management and environmental remediation, glasses and ceramics as nuclear waste forms, and bimetallic Pt alloy or non-Pt nanoparticles as fuel cell catalysts.

Dr. Zhao teaches the Electron Microbeam Techniques course (GEO 390R). This course covers scanning electron microscopy (SEM), environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM), electron microprobe analysis (EMPA), transmission electron microscopy (TEM/STEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), methods of sample preparation, and hands-on-practices with both hardware and software. Also included are energy dispersive spectrum (EDS) of characteristic X-ray, electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD), and electron energy loss spectrometry (EELS). Laboratory work will be assigned each week and operational instructions for each instrument will be available to students.

Areas of Expertise

Electron microbeam and X-ray techniques, mantle mineralogy and petrology, environmental mineralogy, nuclear waste management, and materials science.


Scott Turner Award - University of Michigan (1998)

Scott Turner Award - University of Michigan (1996)

Scott Turner Award - University of Michigan (1995)

Science and Technology Award - Ministry of Geology and Mineral Resources, China (1993)

Elected Outstanding Researcher - Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing (1991)

Elected Outstanding Researcher - Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing (1985)

Elected Excellent Student - Nanjing University, Nanjing, China (1982)

Member of the Appalachian Regional Electron Microscopy Society, (2007)

Instructor for workshop on Scanning Electron Microscopy, Transmission Electron Microscopy and Electron Microprobe analysis, July 3 to 5, 2007, Guizhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences. (2007)

Instructor for workshop on Scanning Electron Microscopy and Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy, July 4 to 6, 2005, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2005)

Member of the Southeastern Microscopy Society, (2004)

Co-Chair of the General Session, IGCP 479 Hong Kong Workshop on Recent Advances in Magmatic Ore Systems Associated with Mafic-ultramafic rocks, (2004)

Member of the Microscopy Society of America, (2001)

Dean Staff Advisory Committee, College of Sci. and Math, Univ. South Carolina, (2001 - 2003)

Member of the Materials Research Society, (1999 - 2006)

Reviewer of new mineral proposals, Chinese Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names, (1998 - 1990)

Member of the Mineralogical Society of America, (1996)

Co-Chair of the Metamorphic Petrology Session, AGU Fall Meeting, (1996)

Member of the American Geophysical Union, (1993)

Member of the Commission on Mineralogy, Geological Society of China, (1991)

Member of the Chinese Commission on New Minerals and Mineral Names, (1990 - 1991)

Member of the Geological Society of China, (1990 - 1991)

Member of the Chinese Society of Mineralogy, Petrology, and Geochemistry, (1989 - 1991)

GEO 390R Electron Microbeam Techniques (Grad-Undergrad Combined)