Professor Ke Lu

Senior Fellow of Hong Kong Institute for Advanced Study, City University of Hong Kong

Director of the Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science, China

Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

Member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences

Professor Ke Lu

Contact Information

Phone: (86) 24 2397 1508

Research Interests

  • Nanostructured materials (metals and alloys): synthesis and processing, microstructure characterization, deformation and mechanical properties, tribological properties, physical properties, chemical reactivity, thermal stability, and phase transformation
  • Amorphous alloys: crystallization, glass transition, pressure effect on thermal stability
  • Non-equilibrium processing: rapidly quenching and rapidly heating, plastic deformation, metastable phase transformation (thermodynamics and kinetics)
  • Melting and superheating of low-dimensional materials: nanoparticles, nano-granular structures, multilayer thin films, computer simulations.


  • Jan. 1990 Ph.D. (Materials Science)Institute of Metal Research, CAS, Shenyang,
  • Jan. 1988 M.Sc. (Materials Science)Institute of Metal Research, CAS, Shenyang
  • Aug. 1985 B.Sc. (Materials Science)Nanjing University of Science & Technology, Nanjing
Professor Ke Lu (B. S. in materials science and engineering, Nanjing University of Science & Technology, 1985; PhD in MSE, Institute of metal Research of CAS, 1990) is a professor and the founding director of Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science (SYNL). He was a visiting professor in Max-Planck-Institut für Metallforschung (Stuttgart, Germany) and in University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA).

Professor Lu's icon scientific achievements include two parts:

(1) Discovery of nano-twinned materials and development of the nano-twin strengthening methodology. Traditional strengthening methodologies of materials (such as alloying, strain-hardening, dispersion strengthening, etc.) invariably suffer from an undesirable consequence that strength increases at an expense of ductility and thermal and/or electrical conductivity. Professor Lu and his co-workers discovered that by generating high density of nano-scale twins in grains, pure copper is strengthened by one order of magnitude while keeping its high electrical conductivity and a considerable ductility. They identified that the high density of twin boundaries may effectively block dislocation motions to strengthen materials, and at the same time, twin boundaries may act as dislocation slip planes to accommodate strains. With this discovery, Professor Lu and his collaborators developed a novel strengthening methodology, i.e., nano-twin strengthening, overcoming the conventional property trade-offs.

(2) Development of surface nanocrystallization of metals, from concept and principles to processing technology. Based on plastic deformation induced grain refinement mechanism, Professor Lu and his collaborators invented mechanically-driven surface nanocrystallization processes such as surface mechanical attrition treatment (SMAT) and surface mechanical grinding treatment (SMGT) techniques to transform the coarse-grained structures into gradient nano-grained structures in surface layers on bulk metals. Such an elastic-homogeneous and plastic-heterogeneous gradient architecture provides a unique structure to upgrade the overall properties and performance of the bulk materials, including mechanical properties, surface chemical reactivity, and tribological behaviors of engineering materials. They discovered that with a gradient nano-grained surface layer, strength of a pure Cu bar can be doubled while its tensile ductility remains unchanged. The extraordinary intrinsic plasticity of gradient nano-grained structures offers a great potential for use as advanced coatings of bulk materials. Recently, by means of SMGT processing of nickel Professor Lu discovered ultra-hard and ultra-stable nano-laminated structures with low-angle boundaries, which offers a novel strong-and-stable nanostructure in metals.

He authored and co-authored more than 380 international peer-reviewed journal publications, held 30 patents, and presented over 100 invited lectures at international conferences and symposia. His publications received more than 20000 ISI citations. He is a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2003), a member of German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (2005), and a member of TWAS (2004). He is an editor of Progress in Materials Science (Elsevier) and a reviewing editor of Science (AAAS). He received Humboldt Research Award (AvH Foundation, Germany, 2011), THERMEC Distinguished Award (Canada, 2006), TWNSO Award in Technology (TWAS, 2000), Kelly Lecturer (University of Cambridge, UK, 2010). He is a Fellow of the AAAS (USA), MRS (USA), and APAM.

Professional Experience

July 2001-PresentDirector, Institute of Metal Research, CAS
March 2001-Present

Director, Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science
Institute of Metal Research, CAS

Jan. 2005-Dec 2007Dean, School of Materials Science & Engineering, Shanghai Jiaotong University
July 1997-Mar. 2001Director, State Key Laboratory for Rapidly Solidified Non-equilibrium Alloys Institute of Metal Research, CAS
April 1999-Present

Leader, MPG (Max-Planck Society, Germany) C CAS Partner Group on materials science

Jan. 1993-PresentProfessor, Institute of Metal Research, CAS

Associate professor, Institute of Metal Research, CAS

Jan.1990-Oct. 1991

Assistant research professor, Institute of Metal Research, CAS

Sept.1991-Mar.1993Visiting scientist, Max-Planck-Institut fr Metallforschung (Stuttgart)

Oct. 1994-Mar.1995
& Sept-Nov. 1996

Visiting Professor, Max-Planck-Institut fr Metallforschung (Stuttgart)

Mar. -July 1996
& May-July 1997

Visiting Professor, Dept. Materials Science & Engineering 
University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA)
Nov-Dec., 1997Visiting Professor, National University of Singapore (Singapore)
August, 1999Visiting Professor, University of Technology of Troyes (France)
Mar.-June, 2000Visiting Professor, City University of Hong Kong

Service for Academic Journals

2006-presentReviewing Editor, Science (AAAS)

Editor, Scripta Materialia (Acta Materialia Inc.)

2007-presentMember of Editorial Committee, Annual Review of Materials Research

Vice-Chairman, Editorial Committee
Journal of Materials Science & Technology (Allerton Press Inc.)


Advisory Board Member 
Zeitschrift Fuer Metallkunde (Hanser, Germany)


Scientific Advisory Board Member
Journal of Metastable and Nanocrystalline Materials (Trans. Tech. Publ.)


Editorial Advisory Board Member
International Journal of Non-equilibrium Processing (UK)

1997-1999Associate Editor
Nanostructured Materials (Acta Metallurgica Inc.)

Editorial Board Member
Chinese Journal of Materials Research

Professional Societies

1998-presentMember (2008-2011: Chairman), International Committee on Nanostructured Materials
2002-presentVice Chairman, The Chinese Society of Metals (CSM)

Vice President, Chinese Materials Research Society (C-MRS)

1998-presentMember, The Asia-Pacific Academy of Materials (APAM)

International Advisory Committee Member 
International Symposium on Metastable, Mechanicallly Alloyed and Nanocrystalline Materials (ISMANAM)

2003-presentInternational Advisory Committee Member, International Conference on Rapidly Quenched & Metastable Materials (RQ)

Member, TMS (USA)

2000-presentMember, MRS (USA)

Honors and Awards

  • 2005 Member of The German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina (elected)
  • 2004 Member of The Third World Academy of Sciences (elected)
  • 2003 Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences (elected)
  • 2006 THERMEC Distinguished Award (Canada)
  • 2002 Hasiguti Foundation Prize
  • 2000 The Third World Academy TWNSO Technology Prize
  • 2000 SCI Citation Classic Award (ISI, USA)
  • 1999 Ho-Leung-Ho-Lee Technology Science Award (Hong Kong)
  • 1999 Shenyang Science and Technology Zhenxing Award
  • 1998 ISMANAM98 Gold Medal and Junior Scientist Award (Australia)
  • 1997 National Nature Science Award
  • 1996 CAS Nature Science Award
  • 1996 The Distinguished Young Scientists Award of China
  • 1995 Qiushi Distinguished Young Scientist Award (Hong Kong)
  • 1993 CAS Nature Science Award
  • 1992 Youth Science & Technology Award of China
  • 1991 Distinguished Young Scientists Award of CAS
  • 1990 The Best Paper Award of the Chinese Association of Metals

Publications, Patents, and Invitied Talks

  • Authored and co-authored 305 international peer-reviewed journal papers (Publication List)
  • Held 25 patents (Patent List)
  • Presented 51 invited lectures at international conferences and symposia (Invited Presentation List).

Ten 10 Representative Publications

  1. K. LU 
    Nanocrystalline materials crystallized from amorphous solids: Nanocrystallization, structure, and properties (Invited review article)
    Materials Science & Engineering R: Reports16, (1996), 161-221.
  2. Q.S. MEI, K. LU
    Melting and superheating of crystalline solids: From bulk to nanocrystals (Invited review article)
    Progress in Materials Science52 (2007) 1175-1262.
  3. L. LU, M.L. SUI, K. LU 
    Superplastic extensibility of nanocrystalline copper at room temperature 
    Science, 287, (2000), 1463-1466.
  4. W.P. Tong, N.R. Tao, Z.B. Wang, J. Lu, K. Lu
    Nitriding iron at lower-temperatures
    Science299, (2003) 686-688.
  5. L. Lu, Y.F. Shen, X.H. CHEN, L.H. QIAN, K. Lu
    Ultrahigh strength and high electrical conductivity in copper
    Science304, (2004) 422-426.
  6. K. LU, Y. LI
    Homogeneous nucleation catastrophe as a kinetic stability limit for superheated crystal
    Physical Review Letters80, (1998), 4474-4477.
  7. L. ZHANG, Z.H. JIN, L.H. ZHANG, M.L. SUI, K. LU 
    Superheating of confined Pb thin films 
    Physical Review Letters, 85, (2000), 1484-1487.
  8. Z.H. Jin, P. Gumbsch, K. Lu, E. Ma 
    Melting mechanisms at the limit of superheating
    Physical Review Letters87, 5 (2001) 5703
  9. N.R. Tao, Z.B. Wang, W.P. Tong, M.L. Sui, J. LU, K. Lu 
    An investigation of surface nanocrystallization mechanism in Fe induced by surface mechanical attrition treatment
    Acta Materialia, 50 (2002) 4603-4616
  10. K. LU, J.T. WANG, W.D. WEI
    A new method for synthesizing nanocrystalline alloys
    Journal of Applied Physics69, (1991), 522-524.