Energy - Micro-/Nanotechnology

Hall of Fame Highlight: Xun Wang

Prof. Xun Wang reflects on a moment of inspiration, his current research on sub-nanomaterials, and other research inspiring him today.

Xun Wang is a full professor in the Chemistry Department at Tsinghua University, who has received numerous prizes and awards for his work on synthetic methodology, self-assembly, and properties of inorganic nanocrystals.

Prof. Wang first became interested in science in December 1997, when he came across a fascinating textbook named “Nanomaterial and Nanostructure” by Lide Zhang. The contents of this book intrigued him, opening his eyes to the world of nanostructures. Since then, Xun has devoted his career to developing new methods towards the synthesis of novel nanostructures and their size-related properties.

Prof. Wang’s current work focuses on synthetic nanocrystals with feature sizes of sub-1-nm. He is exploring their macromolecule-analogue properties with the aim of establishing “sub-1-nm ultrathin nanocrystals” as a new research direction in materials science. He believes flexible inorganic nanomaterials could revolutionize the shapes of novel devices in the future.

As conventional nanostructures, including inorganic nanocrystals, nanoparticles, and nanowires, can be fragile and often require careful treatment to assemble into complex structures, Wang’s group uses simple solution-based methods to create a series of sub-nm flexible materials. “These ultrathin structures may help researchers to bridge the gap between organic and inorganic nanomaterials, providing insights into superstructure self-assembly and polymer crystallization,” comments Xun.

But Prof. Wang’s interests are not limited to the sub-nanoworld, as he considers aeronautical and space-related technologies to be among the most important scientific achievements of all time. In the same way that his imagination was excited back in 1997 by “Nanomaterial and Nanostructure”, space-related research fascinates him and has had a tremendous impact on his understanding of the world and universe.

To find out more about some of the research that intrigues Prof. Wang, please take a look at this his recent review article on sub‐1-nm-scale materials in the Advanced Materials Hall of Fame virtual issue.


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