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Yu named AVS Fellow for 2023

Xiao-Ying Yu, a distinguished scientist at ORNL, has been named a Fellow of AVS, the American Vacuum Society. Credit: Andrea Starr/PNNL


Xiao-Ying Yu, a distinguished scientist at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been named a Fellow of AVS, the American Vacuum Society. This honor is reserved for scientists who have made sustained and outstanding scientific and technical contributions in research, engineering, technical advancement, academic education or managerial leadership in the field.

Yu was awarded Fellow status “for inventions and significant contributions to advance in situ and in operando chemical imaging of condensed-phase surfaces and interfaces using vacuum-based instruments,” according to the AVS citation.

AVS is an international community of scientists, engineers and instrument manufacturers that promotes research and knowledge in the areas of surface, interface, vacuum and thin-film science and technology.

Yu is the leader of ORNL’s Advanced Nuclear Materials group, which seeks to understand how damage affects the properties and performance of structural materials and components for fission and fusion reactors and other extreme environments.

Yu received her doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of Michigan in 2001 and conducted postdoctoral research at Brookhaven National Laboratory. She then became a staff scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. Before joining ORNL in 2022, Yu was at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for more than 16 years, as a senior staff scientist and chief engineer.

A pioneer of many chemical and atmospheric discoveries, Yu won a 2014 R&D 100 Award and a 2015 Federal Laboratory Consortium Technology Transfer award for a vacuum-based analytical instrument for molecular imaging of liquid surfaces and interfaces in native and working environments. She sits on the boards of seven scientific journals.

Yu holds three patents and another eight are pending. She has authored four books, three book chapters and more than 120 peer-reviewed papers, and she is an award-winning mentor. In addition to AVS, Yu is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Nuclear Society and ASTM International, formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials. As part of ASTM, she helps set standards for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, chemicals known to persist in the environment.  

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for DOE’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. The Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit — Lawrence Bernard