Prof. Qian Chen (CV)

Associate Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Department of Chemistry (Affiliated), Materials Research Laboratory (Affiliated), Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology (Affiliated), and Carle Illinois College of Medicine (Affiliated)

Prof. Chen received her BS in Chemistry from Peking University (2007), and her PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from UIUC with Prof. Steve Granick (2012). She then won the prestigious Miller fellowship and worked with Prof. A. Paul Alivisatos at UC Berkeley. She joined MatSE at UIUC as an assistant professor in 2015. In 2021, she was promoted to Associate Professor with Racheff Scholarship.

chiral pinwheel superlattice
symmetry-breaking in patch formation on triangular NP
oriented phase domains in compositionally uniform cathode NPs
nonclassical nucleation pathway
self-assembly of spherical iron oxide nanoparticles
lquid-phase TEM to reveal hidden dynamics
polyamide membranes structure reconstruction

  Research

We are “film-makers.” We videotape how tiny machineries of materials and living cells move, interact, assemble and transform in a fluid medium to perform their functions. Sometimes atomic resolutions are involved to track the paths of ions and atoms in charge conduction or chemical reactions. We also utilize deep learning-based analysis to extract the underlying physical rules encoding such dynamics. The systems are diverse, ranging from batteries, separation membranes, colloids to membrane proteins (click here to watch a recent video of Prof. Chen’s Beckman Director’s Seminar in 2020 and read more).

  News (more here)

October, 2022: Lehan’s work on machine-learning based shape fingerprint for heterogeneous nanomaterials got accepted by Nanoscale. Congratulations, Lehan!

October, 2022: Ahyoung’s work on symmetry-breaking patchy nanoparticles got accepted by Nature Communications. Congratulations, Ahyoung! Great collaboration with Sharon Glotzer’s group at University of Michigan.

October, 2022: Shan and Jiahui’s work on chiral optically active pinwheel superlattice got accepted by Nature. Congratulations, Shan and Jiahui! Great collaboration with Nick Kotov’s group at University of Michigan.

September, 2022: Wenxiang’s work on using 4D-STEM to map the oriented phase domains in cathode nanoparticles got accepted by Nature Materials. See the news story here. Congratulations, Wenxiang!

August, 2022: Falon Christina Kalutantirige, 4th-year PhD student in our group, won the annual fellowship competition of Chemistry Department. Congratulations, Falon!

August, 2022: Oliver Lin, 4th-year PhD student in our group, the Government Scholarships for Studying Aboard from Ministry of Education of Taiwan. Congratulations, Oliver!

August, 2022: Oliver Lin, 4th-year PhD student in our group, won the Drickamer Research Fellowship from Chemistry Department. Congratulations, Oliver!

August, 2022: Jiahui Li, 3rd-year PhD student in our group, won the PPG-MRL graduate student fellowship award. Congratulations, Jiahui!

June, 2022: Prof. Chen won the 2022 Hanwha-TotalEnergies IUPAC Young Scientist Award. Read the news here. Congratulations to Prof. Chen!

March, 2022: Prof. Chen won the 2022 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research. Read the news and the interview here. Congratulations to Prof. Chen!

February, 2022: Wenxiang’s invited spotlight on ACS Applied Nano Materials on particle size engineering for multivalent ion intercalation got published online. Congratulations to Wenxiang!

February, 2022: Falon Christina Kalutantirige, 3rd-year PhD student in our group, got the Robert M. Joyce Travel Award from the Department of Chemistry! Congratulations, Falon!

February, 2022: Zhichu’s paper on the reaction mechanism of λ-MnO2 particle cathodes in aqueous zinc-ion batteries got published on Energy Material Advances! Congratulations, Zhichu!

December, 2021: Our paper on the synthetic morphogenesis of polyamide membranes got accepted by Science Advances. Congratulations to the group!

December, 2021: Our invited Viewpoint on Nano Letters on “Heterogeneous nanomaterials” got published online. Congratulations to the group!

November, 2021: Our group’s research was selected as the cover story of the Limitless magazine of the Grainger College of Engineering. Congratulations to the group!

September, 2021: Dr. Hyosung An, postdoctoral alumni of our group, got selected as ACS PMSE Future Faculty Scholar! Congratulations, Hyosung!

September, 2021: Falon Christina Kalutantirige, 3rd-year PhD student in our group, got the Chia-Chen Chu Fellowship recognizing great work from the Department of Chemistry! Congratulations, Falon!

September, 2021: Ahyoung Kim, 6th-year PhD student in our group, got the College’s dissertation completion fellowship! Congratulations, Ahyoung!

September, 2021: John Crockett, 1st-year PhD student in MatSE, joined the group. Welcome, John!

June, 2021: Ahyoung Kim, 5th-year PhD student in our group, won the Langmuir Graduate Oral Presentation Award! Congratulations, Ahyoung!

April, 2021: Prof. Chen has been officially promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure and with the Racheff Faculty Scholarship. Congratulations to the group’s years of hard work!

April, 2021: Ahyoung Kim, 5th-year PhD student in our group, got highlighted by Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Read the “Student Research Spotlight” here. Congratulations, Ahyoung!

March, 2021: Lehan Yao, 2nd-year PhD student in our group, won the Yee fellowship of the College of Engineering! Congratulations, Lehan!

December, 2020: Chang Liu, 4th-year PhD student in our group, won the Grad College Fall 2020 Conference Presentation Award! Congratulations, Chang!

November, 2020: Ahyoung Kim, 5th-year PhD student in our group, passed her Preliminary exam. Congratulations, Ahyoung!

October, 2020: Our review paper on liquid-phase TEM cinematography got accepted by Accounts of Materials Research! Congratulations to the group!

September, 2020: Our paper on imaging thermal capillary waves got accepted by Nature Communications! Congratulations to the group! Read here for our “behind the paper” blog on this work!

September, 2020: Our invited review on liquid cell TEM got published on the September issue of MRS bulletin. Congratulations to the group!

September, 2020: Ahyoung Kim, 5th-year PhD student in our group, got selected as the Rising Stars in Soft and Biological Materials. Congratulations, Ahyoung!

August, 2020: Johnny’s review paper on liquid-phase electron microscopy imaging of cellular and biomolecular systems got published on Journal of Materials Chemistry B! Congratulations, Johnny!

August, 2020: Hyosung’s paper, “Charting the quantitative relationship between two-dimensional morphology parameters of polyamide membranes and synthesis conditions”, was selected by Molecular Systems Design & Engineering (MSDE) Editors as a HOT MSDE article. Congratulations, Hyosung!

August, 2020: Wenxiang Chen won the opportunity to present in the inaugural North American Materials Colloquium Series as the representative of Illinois MatSE. Congratulations, Wenxiang!

August, 2020: Falon Kalutantirige, 2rd-year PhD student in our group, won the Lester E. and Kathleen A. Coleman Fellowship from the Department of Chemistry. Congratulations, Falon!

July, 2020: Our paper on machine learning got accepted by ACS Central Science! Congratulations to the group!

June, 2020: Chang’s news and views on interfacial crystallization under DNA control got published on Nature Materials! Congratulations, Chang!

June, 2020: Our paper on assembly dynamics of gold nanoarrows got accepted by Journal of the American Chemical Society! Congratulations to the group!

May, 2020: Zihao Ou, 5th-year PhD student in our group, won the Racheff-Intel Presentation Award for 2020! Congratulations, Zihao!

April, 2020: Cong Xu, Binbin Luo and Zihao Ou, 3 PhD students in our group, have successfully passed the thesis defense! Congratulations, Dr. Xu, Dr. Luo and Dr. Ou!

February, 2020: Prof. Chen received the 2020 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research. Congratulations to the group!

February, 2020: Prof. Chen got selected as the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by their students for her teaching of MSE 480.

October, 2019: Hyosung was selected to receive the 2019 Hanwha Travel Award at the Emerging Junior Investigator Open Innovation Forum in the 2019 AIChE Annual Meeting! Congratulations, Hyosung!

September, 2019: Our paper on liquid-phase TEM imaging of nanoparticle crystallization pathways got accepted by Nature Materials! Congratulations to the group! Read the paper here. Watch the animation for the wiggling nanoparticles at their lattice sites in our liquid chamber.

September, 2019: Falon Kalutantirige, 1st-year Chemistry PhD student joined our group. Welcome, Falon!

September, 2019: Johnny’s paper on the mechanism of polymer assisted fragmentation and association of amyloid fibrils got published on ACS Applied Nano Materials! Congratulations, Johnny!

September, 2019: Prof. Chen got selected as the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by their students for her teaching of MSE 450.

August, 2019: Chang (Chris) Qian, 1st-year MatSE PhD student joined our group. Welcome, Chris!

July, 2019: Ahyoung Kim, 3rd-year PhD student in our group, won the PPG-MRL graduate student fellowship award. Congratulations, Ahyoung!

July, 2019: Our paper on tip-patched nanoprisms from formation of ligand islands got accepted by Journal of the American Chemical Society! Congratulations to the group!

June, 2019: Our paper on effects of particle size on ion intercalation into cathode materials got accepted by Nano Letters! Congratulations to the group!

April, 2019: Binbin Luo, 4th-year PhD student in our group, won the Fall 2019 Racheff Teaching Fellowship. Congratulations, Binbin!

March, 2019: Our paper on how ordering can emerge from polydisperse building blocks got accepted by Nature Communications! Congratulations to the group!

Join us!

We have openings for undergrads, PhD students, and postdocs with background in TEM, nanoscience or biology. Interested candidates can send your CV to Prof. Chen at qchen20[at]illinois[dot]edu