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Simple Chemistry for Complex Nanomaterials
The Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering,
School of Chemistry & Biochemistry,
and School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
Abstract: The first documented synthesis of nanocrystals can be traced back to the beautiful work by Michael Faraday in 1856 when he demonstrated the preparation of gold colloids with a ruby color. Ever since, many different methods have been developed for preparing nanocrystals, but essentially all the products were troubled by problems such as irregular shapes, broad size distributions, and poorly defined morphologies. Only within the last decade has it become possible to generate nanocrystals with the quality, quantity, and reproducibility needed for a systematic study on their properties as a function of size, shape, and structure. I will briefly cover some of these developments in this talk, with a focus on solution-phase syntheses of noble-metal nanocrystals. While the synthetic methods only involve simple redox reactions, we have been working diligently to understand the complex physics behind the simple chemistry – that is, the nucleation and growth mechanisms leading to the formation of nanocrystals with well-controlled sizes, shapes and properties. The success of these syntheses has enabled us to tailor the plasmonic and catalytic properties of noble-metal nanocrystals for a range of applications including photonics, sensing, imaging, biomedicine, catalysis, and fuel cell technology.
Younan Xia is the Brock Family Chair and GRA Eminent Scholar in Nanomedicine in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, with joint appointments in School of Chemistry & Biochemistry and School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. His research interests include development of new methodologies for controlling the synthesis of nanomaterials and exploration of their applications in biomedical and energy research. He received a Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry from Harvard University in 1996. He has received a number of awards, including most recently MRS Fellow (2009), NIH Director's Pioneer Award (2006), and ACS Leo Hendrik Baekeland Award (2005). He has co-authored more than 480 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and he was ranked a Top 10 Chemist and Materials Scientist based on the number of citation per paper. He is an Associate Editor of Nano Letters.