Qian Chen

Qian Chen
Qian Chen
  • Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
(217) 300-1137
1005 Superconductivity Center

Aims to understand how tiny machineries of materials and living cells move, interact, assemble and transform in a fluid medium to perform their functions. 

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Academic Positions

  • 2022-present Affiliated Faculty Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
  • 2021 Jan-present Associate Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Department of Chemistry (0%), Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (0%), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2019-present Affiliated Faculty, Carle Illinois College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2018-present Affiliated part-time faculty, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2015-2021 Assistant Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2015-present Affiliated Faculty, Materials Research Laboratory University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • 2012-2015 Miller Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley; Postdoc Advisor: Prof. A. Paul Alivisatos

Research Interests

  • Materials for Energy and the Environment

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Selected Articles in Journals

  • Zihao Ou,¶ Ziwei Wang,¶ Binbin Luo, Erik Luijten*, and Qian Chen*, “Kinetic pathways of crystallization at the nanoscale,” Nature Materials 19, 450 (2020)
  • Lehan Yao, Zihao Ou, Binbin Luo, Cong Xu, Qian Chen*, “Machine learning to reveal nanoparticle dynamics from liquid-phase TEM videos” ACS Central Science 6, 1421 (2020).
  • Qian Chen*, “Beyond snowflakes: heterogeneity in nanomaterials,” Nano Letter, 22, 3 (2022)
  • Zhichu Tang, Wenxiang Chen, Zhiheng Lyu, Qian Chen "Size-Dependent Reaction Mechanism of λ-MnO2 Particles as Cathodes in Aqueous Zinc-Ion Batteries" Energy Material Advances (2022), DOI: 10.34133/2022/9765710
  • Hyosung An, John W. Smith, Bingqiang Ji, Stephen Cotty, Shan Zhou, Lehan Yao, Falon C. Kalutantirige, Wenxiang Chen, Zihao Ou, Xiao Su, Jie Feng, Qian Chen*, "Mechanism and performance relevance of nanomorphogenesis in polyamide films revealed by quantitative 3D imaging and machine learning" Science Advances 8, eabk1888 (2022)
  • Wenxiang Chen, Xun Zhan, Renliang Yuan, Saran Pidaparthy, Adrian Xiao Bin Yong, Hyosung An, Zhichu Tang, Kaijun Yin, Arghya Patra, Heonjae Jeong, Cheng Zhang, Kim Ta, Zachary W. Riedel, Ryan M. Stephens, Daniel P. Shoemaker, Hong Yang, Andrew A. Gewirth, Paul V. Braun, Elif Ertekin, Jian-Min Zuo,* Qian Chen* “Formation and impact of nanoscopic oriented phase domains in electrochemical crystalline electrodes”, Nature Materials 22, 92 (2023).
  • Ahyoung Kim, Thi Vo, Hyosung An, Progna Banerjee, Lehan Yao, Shan Zhou, Chansong Kim, Delia J. Milliron, Sharon C. Glotzer,* Qian Chen* “Symmetry-breaking in patch formation on triangular gold nanoparticles by asymmetric polymer grafting,” Nature Communications 13, 6774 (2022).
  • Shan Zhou, Jiahui Li, Jun Lu, Haihua Liu, Ji-Young Kim, Ahyoung Kim, Lehan Yao, Chang Liu, Chang Qian, Zachary D. Hood, Xiaoying Lin, Wenxiang Chen, Thomas E. Gage, Ilke Arslan, Alex Travesset, Kai Sun, Nicholas A. Kotov*, Qian Chen*, “Chiral Assemblies of Pinwheel Superlattices on Substrates”, Nature 612, 259 (2022)
  • Zhiheng Lyu, Lehan Yao, Wenxiang Chen, Falon Kalutantirige, Qian Chen* “Electron microscopy studies of soft nanomaterials," Chemical Reviews 123, 4051 (2023)
  • Binbin Luo, Ziwei Wang, Tine Curk, Garrett Watson, Chang Liu, Ahyoung Kim, Zihao Ou, Erik Luijten,* Qian Chen* “Unravelling crystal growth of nanoparticles," Nature Nanotechnology (2023) DOI: 10.1038/s41565-023-01355-w


  • Hanwha-Total Energies IUPAC Young Scientist Award (2022)
  • Dean's Award for Excellence In Research for Associate Professor, The Grainger College of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2022)
  • Racheff faculty Scholar, The Grainger College of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2021)
  • Dean's Award for Excellence in Research for Assistant Professor, College of Engineering, UIUC (Feb, 2020 )
  • Listed as Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Spring & fall, 2019)
  • Unilever Award, Division of Colloid and Surface Science, American Chemical Society (Jun, 2018)
  • The DURIP (Defense University Research Instrumentation Program) Award from department of defense (Apr, 2018)
  • Sloan Research Fellow in Chemistry, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (Feb, 2018)
  • Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, Solid State and Materials Chemistry program, National Science Foundation (Nov, 2017)
  • ACS Petroleum Research Foundation Doctoral New Researcher Award (Oct, 2017)
  • Air Force's Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) Award, Biophysics Program, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (Oct, 2016)
  • The SN 10 List of Scientists Making the Next Big Discoveries; Science News Magazine (one of the 10 early- and mid-career scientists, age 40 and under, selected among all science disciplines) (Sep, 2016)
  • Distinguished Visiting Fellow, the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), United Kingdom (to a distinguished professor from an overseas academic centre of excellence for up to one month in UK university to build capacity and promote collaborations) (Aug, 2016)
  • Forbes 30 under 30 Science List, Forbes Magazine (Jan, 2016)
  • Victor LaMer Award, Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry, American Chemical Society (Jun, 2015)
  • Miller Research Fellowship, Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science, University of California Berkeley (Jul, 2012-May, 2015)
  • Warren Yee Memorial Fellowship, College of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (to the most promising overseas Chinese students) (2009)

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