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Kai Liu

Professor, Physics


One Shields Avenue
Physics Department
Davis, CA 95616

Office: 207 Phy/Geo
Phone: +1 (530) 752-4109
Fax: +1 (530) 752-4717
Email: kliu@physics.ucdavis.edu

Personal web site

Professor Kai Liu joined U. C. Davis in 2001. His research interest is in experimental studies of nanostructured materials for nanomagnetism, spin-transport, and advanced energy explorations. Due to their intricate nanostructures, extremely small length scales, rich surfaces and interfaces, low dimensionality, and interplay among constituents, nanostructured materials often exhibit new and enhanced properties over their bulk counterparts. Additionally, these novel properties can be tailored through extra degrees of freedom, such as structure and material. Professor Liu is particularly interested in magnetic nanostructures where the electron spin coherence may be preserved and exploited, providing a spin-based vision for electronics of the future. This is of critical importance as downscaling of CMOS-based devices face huge uncertainties regarding power consumption and dissipation, resulting in a catastrophic power crisis that has stalled progress across all scales. Spin-based applications represent potentially paradigm-shifting innovations and transformative opportunities that can address the grand challenges of our time.

Current research topics in the group include:
  • Nanosynthesis of artificially structured materials
  • Vortices in nanomagnets
  • Spin-transport in multilayered nanowires and other systems
  • Perpendicular magnetic anisotropy
  • Exchange bias
  • Si-based half-metals

Career History

  • Ph.D., The John Hopkins University, 1998
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, The John Hopkins University, 1999
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Diego, 1999-2001
  • Assistant Professor, University of California, Davis, 2001-2005
  • Associate Professor, University of California, Davis, 2005-2008
  • Professor, University of California, Davis, 2008-Present


  • Chancellor's Fellowship, University of California, Davis, 2007-2012
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, 2005-2007
  • Junior Faculty Research Fellowship, University of California, Davis, 2003
  • Chien-Shiung Wu & Luke Chia-Liu Yuan Scholarship, 1991
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