ECE Seminar - Design of Chiral Nanostructures via Active Surface Growth

10:30am - 12:00pm
Room 2464 (lift 25/26), Academic Bldg.


The synthesis of traditional nanoparticles relies on the control of facets. Typically, a specific ligand controls a set of specific facets, which in turn determine the morphology of nanocrystals. It is a paradigm for nanoscale morphological design and widely used, even for explaining abnormal and chiral nanostructures with uneven surface and bulging features. Our group has been exploiting strong ligands for the synthesis of colloidal nanoparticles (Acc. Chem. Res., 2023, 1539-1552). We have shown that under many reaction conditions, the surface ligands are not necessarily uniform, leading to Active Surface Growth. That is, the competition among the various sites of a nanoparticle would lead to focused deposition at a few active sites, which in turn leads to uneven surface and bulging features. The characteristic of Active Surface Growth is the inequivalent growth of equivalent facets, which cannot be explained by the conventional facet control. The former emphasizes the kinetic control during ligand association and materials deposition, whereas the latter discusses static ligand binding and the facet selectivity under thermodynamic control.

In our recent works (Adv. Opt. Mater., 2023, 2202858, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2024, 10.1021/jacs.3c09652), we explored the limits of Active Surface Growth. Faster deposition rates were found to promote more focused and imbalanced deposition. Additional control by chiral ligand led to chiral nanostructures, where the extensively bulging features are unseen in the previous literature, strongly supporting the proposed mechanisms. During the Au deposition on Au decahedrons, the Active Surface Growth led to deep grooves, and thus, the divided growth gave 5 separated chiral blades with consistent tilting direction. Our works show that orderly growth is possible with the Active Surface Growth modes, which has great potential for intricate nanoscale morphological designs beyond the traditional facet control.



Fig. 1 Growth of chiral blades with consistent tilting direction via the Chiral Active Surface Growth, under the chiral induction of glutathione.

Selected publications:

[1] Yonglong Zheng, Xinyu Li, Liping Huang, Xiaoxin Li, Shenghao Yang, Qian Wang, Jiaxin Du, Yawen Wang, Weiqiang Ding, Bo Gao,* and Hongyu Chen*. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2024, 10.1021/jacs.3c09652.

[2] Yonglong Zheng,# Qian Wang,# Yiwen Sun,# Jie Huang, Jin Ji, Zhu-Jun Wang, Yawen Wang,* and Hongyu Chen*. Adv. Opt. Mater. 2023, 202202858.

[3] Ruixue Xiao, Jia Jia, Ruoxu Wang, Yuhua Feng,* and Hongyu Chen*, Acc. Chem. Res. 2023, 1539–1552.

[4] Bowen He, Yuntao Wang, Mengmeng Zhang, Yue Xu, Yonglong Zheng, Xi Liu, Hong Wang* and Hongyu Chen*, Chem. Mater., 2022, 34(18), 8213-8218.




Event Format
Speakers / Performers:
Prof. Hongyu CHEN
Westlake University

Professor Hongyu Chen was born in 1976 in Taizhou, China. He obtained his B. Sc. from University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in 1998, and then Ph. D. from Yale University in 2004. After working as a postdoctoral fellow in Cornell University, he jointed Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore in 2006 as Assistant Professor. In 2011, he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. He served as Deputy Head of Division of Chemistry and Biological Chemistry (CBC); Assistant and then Associate Chair of School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS); and Associate Dean of College of Science. In 2016, he moved back to China and joined Nanjing Tech University, where he co-founded the Institute of Advanced Synthesis (IAS) and served as Executive Dean. He joined Department of Chemistry, Westlake University in July 2021 as a tenured Professor and serves as Associate Vice President and Dean of Westlake Residential Colleges. Dr. Chen has published over 140 papers, with over 60 as the corresponding author in high-impact (IF > 10) journals. He was awarded 14 research grants in Singapore and 4 in China. Among the students and postdoctoral fellows trained in his research group, 18 have become professors in academia. Dr. Chen’s research interest centers on the advancement of synthetic capability at the nanoscale, more specifically on the development of synthetic methods (like organic reactions), understanding the underlying principles, and applying these tools for novel nanostructures and new applications.


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