Our group receives a Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) Award for a Nanoscopic Imaging and Analysis Platform. Congratulations to everyone!
This highly competitive award augments research capabilities at universities conducting cutting-edge research of interest to the Department of Defense. See the news report here.


Prof. Chen is named Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, featured in New York Times. Congratulations to Prof. Chen!
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, with a full-page advertisement in today’s New York Times, named Qian Chen one of the 2018 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellows in Chemistry. Read the news highlight here @ ILLINOIS NEWS BUREAU.
The Sloan Fellowship recognizes distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to the Fellow’s field.
Alfred P. Sloan Fellow


Our group received the NSF CAREER award on “Imaging and Understanding the Kinetic Pathways in Shape-Anisotropic Nanoparticle Self-Assembly”. Thank NSF for the support!


We got awarded with the ACS Petroleum Research Fund. Great thanks to ACS for the precious support!


Prof. Chen gave an invited talk in the Department of Chemistry at Ohio State University. Great thanks to Prof. Robert Baker for the invitation and hosting!


Dr. Wenxiang Chen and First-year MatSE PhD student Chang Liu joined our group. Welcome!


Our paper on liquid-phase TEM imaging of how multi-valent nanoparticles polymerize got accepted by Nature Communications! Congratulations to the group!
Read the news highlight here @ ILLINOIS NEWS BUREAU.


Prof. Chen gave an invited talk at the topical workshop on “Active Matter at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences” held at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Great thanks to Dr. Miguel Fuentes-Cabrera for the invitation!


The Chen group gave demonstrations on “squishy soft materials” to students from Chicago Public Schools, in collaboration with the ICANEXSEL (Illinois-ChiS&E Alliance for Nurturing Excellence in STEM Education and Leadership) outreach program.


Our paper on the polymerization-like co-assembly of nanoplates and patchy colloids got accepted by ACS Nano! Congratulations to the group!


Prof. Chen gave talks as a keynote speaker in UK Colloids 2017, an invited speaker at the New Frontiers in Colloid Science workshop at University of Birmingham, and a keynote speaker at the 10th liquid matter conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Great thanks to Dr. Dwaipayan Chakrabarti (Birmingham), Prof. Stefano Sacanna (NYU), Prof. Vinny Manoharan (Harvard), Prof. Roel Dullens (Oxford) for the invitations.


Valerie Cravens, the Science Teacher in Albuquerque High School in New Mexio, joined our group for summer research through the nano@illinois RET program. Welcome, Valerie!


Zihao, Binbin, Johnny, Ahyoung and Brian (junior MatSE undergraduate) presented at 2017 Midwest Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics Conference (MTSM) held at University of Notre Dame.


Johnny and Ahyoung passed their qualifying exams. Congratulations on becoming PhD candidates!


Our paper on the geometric packing of beveled prisms got accepted by Nano Letters! Congratulations to the group! Read the news highlight here.


Our review on seeing is believing for nanoparticle self-assembly dynamics got accepted by Accounts of Chemical Research! Congratulations to the group!


Prof. Chen gave an invited talk for the CSI² Seminar at the Wyandotte site of BASF incorporation. Thank Dr. Josh Speros for the invitation and hosting!


March, 2017: Juyeong, Xiaohui, Cong, Zihao and Binbin presented talks at the 2017 APS March meeting in New Orleans! Click the names for our talk abstracts.


Prof. Chen visited Imperial College, University of Oxford, University of Edinburgh and University of Manchester under the support of Distinguished Visiting Fellowship by RAEng. Many thanks for Prof. Janet Wong, Prof. Roel Dulles, Prof. Wilson Poon, and Prof. Grace Burke for hosting! See her talk details here.


Prof. Chen received the 2017 AFOSR YIP award. Many thanks to AFOSR for the support! See the announcement here.


Our first paper on liquid-phase TEM imaging and modulation of nanoparticle superlattices is accepted by ACS Nano! Congratulations to the group!


Prof. Chen gave an invited talk in the Chemical and Biological Engineering department seminar of University of Wisconsin, Madison. Thank Prof. Nick Abbott for the invitation!


Prof. Chen was selected as The SN 10: Scientists to Watch by Science News Magazine. Read the article featuring our work here.



First-year MatSE PhD students Ahyoung Kim and Johnny Smith joined our group. Welcome!


Binbin passed the qualifying exam of MatSE. Congratulations to Binbin for becoming a PhD candidate!


Prof. Chen was awarded a Distinguished Visiting Fellowship by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) of UK. This fellowship will support her visits to UK to present our recent research and build international collaborations. Read the full story here.

royal academy of engineering


Dr. Xiaohui Song joined our group as a postdoc. Welcome!


Dr. Nicole Ice, currently a math teacher in Wheeler High School (Marietta, GA) joined our group for the nano@illinois RET program this summer. Welcome, Nickey!


Prof. Chen was invited to give a talk in the CNST 14th Annual Nanotechnology Workshop, Urbana, IL.


Zihao passed the qualifying exam of MatSE. Congratulations to Zihao for becoming a Ph.D. candidate!


Prof. Chen was invited to give a talk titled, “Surprises in nanoscale self-assembly” in CECAM workshop in EPFL, Switzerland.


Prof. Chen was named to the 2016 Forbes 30 under 30 Science List. See the awardees and news report.



Dr. Juyeong Kim, Zihao Ou, and Binbin Luo joined our group. Undergrads Bonan, Yuka and Brian joined our group. Welcome!


Prof. Chen won the national American Chemical Society young investigator award, Victor LaMer award. She gave a LaMer planetary lecture titled, “Dynamics in colloidal self-assembly: From patchy spheres to anisotropic nanocrystals” at the 2015 ACS Colloids and Surface Symposium.

Victor LaMer


Prof. Chen gave an invited talk at ICAM Annual Conference 2015 at Argonne National Laboratory, which covers the science of emergence in quantum matter, biological matter, soft matter and energy matter.


The Chen lab officially started! Dr. Fangfang Chu and Yuxiao Wu joined the group. Welcome!


Dr. Chen officially accepted the offer to rejoin MatSE of UIUC. The Chen group on active soft matter will continue bringing new bonds to traditionally discrete areas and finding surprises in materials science.