Materials Science Research Lecture
Abstract: Curiosity often inspires new hypotheses in materials research and solutions for problems. I will share a few such stories from my research group and my classrooms. For example, crumpled paper balls in a wastebasket inspired a new form of ultrafine particles that becomes aggregation-resistant and can disperse in arbitrary solvents. This represents a new strategy to achieve colloidal processability without the need for tuning surface chemistry. In another example, nanopatterns in Blu-ray movie discs are found to be suitable for improving the performance of solar cells through light trapping. This opens up a new way to design nanopatterns with the help of information processing algorithms. Finally, I will use a few examples from my classroom to illustrate how curiosity-driven enquiry enhances student learning experience through their own innovation. These teacher-students interactions in return inspires us to identify new research problems, and discover material-based solutions for better living.
About the Speaker: Jiaxing Huang is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University. He received his B.S. degree in Chemical Physics from USTC, Ph.D. in Chemistry from UCLA, and became a Miller Fellow at UC Berkeley before joining Northwestern in 2007. In research, his group uses chemical principles and tools to make material innovations for better living. Some recent examples include carbon based materials, clay minerals, and new colloidal materials for energy storage, water treatments and even cosmetics. Through teaching, they aim to develop intuition, inspire creativity and bring the best out of students and themselves. His work has been recognized by awards from the National Science Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the American Vacuum Society, and the International Aerosol Research Assembly. He is included in the lists of Highly Cited Researchers in Chemistry and Most Cited Researchers in Materials Science and Engineering. He is also a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, the JSPS Fellowship from Japan and the Humboldt Research Award from Germany.