Advisory Board

Professor Jun Ni

The NewScientist article Boron nanotubes could outperform carbon said

Carbon may be losing its monopoly over the nanoworld. According to the latest calculations, tubes built out of the element boron could have many of the same properties as carbon nanotubes, the ubiquitous components of nanoengineering. And for some electronic applications, they should even be better than carbon.
Boron nanotubes will have a more complicated shape than the simple linked hexagons that work for carbon, as the chemistry of boron makes that chicken-wire pattern unstable. The first boron nanotubes to be created, in 2004, are thought to be formed from a buckled triangular latticework.
But according to Xiaobao Yang, Yi Ding and Jun Ni from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, the best configuration for boron is to take the unstable hexagon lattice and add an extra atom to the center of some of the hexagons. They calculate that this is the most stable known theoretical structure for a boron nanotube.
To actually make the boron tubes, Ni suggests chemical vapor deposition, which is a process already used to grow carbon nanotubes. This technique requires an appropriate catalyst, such as a nanoparticle of nickel, to act as a template for the nanotube. “The key issue for the growth of boron nanotubes is to find effective catalysts,” says Ni.

Jun Ni, Ph.D. is Professor, Department of Physics and Key Laboratory of Atomic and Molecular Nanoscience, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.
His primary research interest is the computational condensed matter physics with special attention paid to the relation of structures and electronic properties in low-dimensional systems and nanostructures.
He studies:
Low dimensional structure and materials

  • Growth dynamics of Nano materials
  • Confinement effects on structure and properties
Semiconductor Materials and Superlattices Materials
  • Electronic structure and properties of semiconductor alloys
  • Structure and ordering of semiconductor alloys
Phase Transitions
  • Metastable phase diagrams and kinetics of ordering-disordering
  • Calculation of phase diagrams
  • Monte-Carlo simulation
Superconductor Materials
  • Structure of vortex arrays and its static and dynamic properties
Defects in Solids
  • Internal friction
  • Interaction between point defects and dislocation
  • Dynamics of dislocation and diffusion of point defects
Jun is author or coauthor of over 60 papers published in international refereed journals. They include Kinetic-Anisotropy-Induced Ordering-Orientation Transition in Epitaxial Growth: A Method to Synthesize Ordering-Orientation Superlattices, Ground states of diatomic molecules adsorbed on single-walled carbon nanotubes, Calculations of hydrogen coverage on single-walled carbon nanotubes: Dependence on nanotube size, temperature, and pressure, Mesoscopic terahertz photoelectric switch, Tuning bistability and current hysteresis in resonant-tunneling structures, Effect of bias step on the I-V curve in double-barrier AlGaAs/GaAs/AlGaAs resonant-tunnelling devices, and Electronic properties of Single-Walled Silicon Nanotubes compared to Carbon nanotubes.
Jun earned his B.S. in Physics at Hunan University, Changsha, China in 1982, his M.S. in Solid State Physics at the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS), Hefei, China in 1985, and his Ph.D. in Solid State Physics at the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS), Hefei, China in 1989.