Dr Mike Tebyetekerwa

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

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


Mike is an incoming Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Research Fellow at UQ Dow Centre (from 2024), working with Professor Xiwang Zhang. He completed his PhD in Engineering at The Australian National University (ANU) in July 2022, where he studied optical spectroscopy and advanced characterization of semiconducting materials and their devices for energy technologies. Mike also holds a Master's degree in Materials Processing Engineering from Donghua University, Shanghai, where his research focused on fibrous materials for flexible energy storage. His current research at UQ involves the integration of high-performance fibrous materials and 2D materials for various applications, including catalysts/membranes for water oxidation/reduction, electrodes for energy storage and CO2 capture, and AIE materials. His work also aims to realise the requirements of the circular and green economy in material formation. Mike supervises projects for undergraduate, master's, and PhD students on topics related to his research interests, including mainly.

  1. Photo/electrochemical production of H2O2 or H2 from water
  2. Reconstructed graphite for sodium-ion batteries
  3. High surface area electrospun materials for various applications
  4. Aggregation-induced emission (AIE) molecules and their engineered applications
  5. Light-matter understanding of 2D materials and semiconductor materials for optoelectronics

Featured works

Research Interests

  • Light-matter interactions in low-dimension 2D transition-metal dichalcogenides
    2D Transition-Metal Dichalcogenide (TMD) semiconductors hold immense potential as the building blocks of next-generation nano/micro optoelectronic devices. These materials possess exceptional structural and optoelectronic properties, including strong light-matter interactions, direct bandgaps that can be tuned for visible to near-infrared regions, flexibility and atomic thickness, quantum-confinement effects, valley polarization possibilities, and more. To fully understand and exploit the potential of 2D TMDs, it's crucial to study their intrinsic material properties and how they evolve with fabrication parameters. This requires a deep understanding of the material-property relationships, which can be achieved through a combination of characterization techniques. One such technique that has been widely used is Steady-State Photoluminescence (PL) Spectroscopy. This technique offers several advantages such as speed, non-contact, non-destructiveness, and high spatial resolution, allowing for the study of samples of various sizes (from microns to centimeters) without the need for complex sample preparation. PL spectroscopy can provide valuable information about the optoelectronic properties of these materials and can help unlock the unknown properties yet to be discovered. It is poised to be a leading tool in exploring the full potential of 2D TMDs. 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 have a significant challenge in solid-state applications, as they tend to emit poorly due to the phenomenon known as aggregation-caused quenching (ACQ). However, in 2001, a new class of luminogens was discovered that exhibit the opposite behavior - enhanced fluorescence in the aggregated state. These luminogens, known as aggregation-induced emission (AIE) molecules, are structured with molecular rotors that restrict their intramolecular motions, resulting in efficient organic materials suitable for a wide range of applications including molecular machines, sensors, photodetectors, LEDs, paints, solar concentrators, biomarkers, and more. The unique properties of AIE luminogens have opened up new possibilities in the field of solid-state applications, overcoming the limitations of traditional luminogens. 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.
  • Functional fiber materials for energy and environment
    Textiles have been a vital component of human civilization since the beginning of time. The building blocks of textiles are fibers, which have unique properties such as high length-to-thickness ratio, large surface area, and the ability to be shaped into various morphologies. Traditionally, fibers were used for clothing, upholstery, and insulation in homes, offices, and industries due to their insulating properties derived from pure insulating polymers. However, in recent years, the incorporation of nanomaterials into fibers has given rise to new functional properties and expanded the range of industries they are used in, including the automotive, electronics, medicine, energy, water purification, construction, agro-food sectors, and more. In fact, the global market for technical fibers was valued at USD 176.6 billion in 2019, with a projected growth rate of 4.5% from 2020 to 2027. Currently, 27% of fiber production in the EU is technical fibers. Given this growth, it's imperative that we continue to find ways to manufacture advanced technical fibers with unique properties and functions beyond just clothing. 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.

Research Impacts

In 2023, Mike was awarded an ARC DECRA fellowship (to commence in 2024), which is one of the country's most competitive fellowships for early career researchers. His ARC DECRA fellowship aims to develop new electrochemical carbon capture technology. Mike's research on fibers, AIEgens, 2D materials, and other semiconducting materials has been widely recognized and published in leading peer-reviewed journals such as Science, Advanced Materials, Energy and Environmental Science, and ACS Nano. His work focuses on solving global energy and environmental issues and has resulted in groundbreaking discoveries. Some of his notable achievements include quantifying the maximum open-circuit voltage that can be achieved by a 2D monolayer solar cell (Advanced Materials), contributing to the first certified 21.6% efficiency in perovskite solar cells larger than one square centimeter (Science), and proposing a new method for measuring fiber/wearable battery performance (Energy and Environmental Science). Mike's work has also received extensive media coverage, having been featured by over 60 media channels worldwide.

Some International Media Releases.


  • Doctoral (Research) of Engineering, Australian National University


View all Publications


View all Grants


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision


Book Chapter

  • Tebyetekerwa, Mike, Mugaanire, Innocent Tendo and Yang, Shengyuan (2023). Uganda textile education and industry: the current status and investment opportunities. Quality education and international partnership for textile and fashion: hidden potentials of East Africa. (pp. 93-119) edited by Xinfeng Yan, Lihong Chen and Hafeezullah Memon. Singapore, Singapore: Springer Nature Singapore. doi: 10.1007/978-981-99-1320-6_5

  • 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

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Note for students: Dr Mike Tebyetekerwa is not currently available to take on new students.

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors: