Ph.D., Fudan University
My group’s research is focused on fundamental understanding of organic nanomaterials and their applications in the areas of alternative energy, smart materials, and biomedical materials and devices. We seek to use Nature’s assembling rules in conjunction with synthetic organic/polymer chemistry, supramolecular/bioconjugate chemistry and nanotechnology to design and synthesize nanostructured materials with synergistic multifunctionality.
Nanoengineering Stable Carbon Nanotube Aerogels
This research project aims to advance the fundamental knowledge and process technology for manufacturing of novel stable carbon nanotube (CNT) aerogels. By combining the extraordinary properties of CNTs with those of aerogels, a new class of materials becomes accessible with superior multifunctional material properties in a single material system, which will potentially lead to applications in multifunctional composites, fuel cells, super capacitors, 3-D batteries, advanced catalyst supports, energy absorption materials, chemical and biological sensors, etc. We have successfully prepared stable CNT aerogels with excellent electrical, mechanical, and porous texture properties.
Carbon Nanotube-Liquid Crystalline Elastomer Nanocomposites
This project aims to advance the fundamental understanding of novel CNT-liquid crystalline elastomer (LCE) nanocomposites. The major innovation is to couple the CNTs to the LCEs using a unique nanotube chemistry platform to achieve strong synergies among CNTs, mesogenic units, and LCE networks. The strong synergies between CNTs with various characteristics and LCEs could generate many novel properties and functions. The advances in fundamental understanding of CNT-LCE composites will have a significant impact on the field of smart materials and lead to potential applications such as artificial muscles, mini- and microrobots, “smart skins”, pumps and valves in microfluidic systems for drug delivery, ventricular assist devices for failing hearts, and sensors for mechanical strain, humidity, and gases. Our recent study has demonstrated the reversible infrared actuation of CNT-LCE nanocomposite films with only 0.1-0.2 wt% nanotube loadings.
Advanced Carbon Nanotube-Polymer Composite Infrared Sensors
Organic electronic materials offer ease of materials processing and integration, low cost, physical flexibility and large device area as compared to traditional inorganic semiconductors. Optoelectronic materials that are responsive at wavelengths in the near-infrared (NIR) region (e.g. 800-2000 nm) are highly desirable for various demanding applications such as telecommunication, biomedical imaging, remote sensing (e.g. night vision), thermal photovoltaics and solar cells. The objective of this research project is to develop a new class of advanced CNT-polymer composite IR sensors with ultra-high sensitivity at room temperature in the air. We have discovered that the IR photoresponse in the electrical conductivity of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) is dramatically enhanced by embedding SWNTs in an insulating polymer matrix. We also demonstrate that both SWNT types and nanotube-matrix polymer-nanotube (NT-P-NT) junctions have profound impact on the IR photoelectrical property of SWNT-polymer composites.
- NASA Space Act Award, 2008
- Graduate School/UWM Foundation Research Award, 2007
- NASA Space Act Tech Brief Award, 2007
- Best 25 Micro- and Nanotechnologies, 2006; R&D 100 Award, 2005.
(selected from 61 publications with over 6500 citations; *as corresponding author)