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Board of Trustees Professor Seminar

Tiny Structures, Big Opportunity: Exploration in the Nano World

Zhi-Li Xiao, Ph.D.
Department of Physics

Board of Trustees Professor
Distinguished Research Professor

Dr. Zhili Xiao Imagine something so small that it's one thousand times smaller than the diameter of your hair. Then consider the ability to make and manipulate something that small to solve problems and create new products. That is in fact what is happening in the nano world – a scientific frontier with federal research funding of $1.5 billion in 2015.

Nanoresearch is a gold mine for scientific discoveries. Zhili Xiao has been an explorer in the nano-world where he developed an electrochemical method to grow shaped controlled superconducting lead (Pb) nanocrystals with novel properties, achieved the world’s fastest hydrogen sensors by creating palladium nanoparticles and nanowires, discovered new phenomena in and increased the current carrying ability of superconductors by introducing arrays of nanoscale holes, and created a “magnetic charge ice” – a new metamaterial that can be useful in both technology as well as basic research in tuning potential for controlling electron motion in two-dimensional materials. These works have led to two US patents and publications in prestigious journals Science, Nature Physics, Physical Review Letters, Journal of the American Chemical Society and Nano Letters.

Nanoresearch is also a versatile platform for training postdocs and students. Dr. Xiao actively involves both postdoc and graduate students in his research, enhancing their academic knowledge and improving their skills for future employment: three of his postdocs and two of his graduate students are holding faculty positions; one of his postdocs is a staff scientist in a national laboratory. In this seminar, he will share more details regarding the opportunities for engaging students in nanoresearch.

Zhi-Li Xiao earned his Ph.D. in condensed matter physics at Konstanz University, Germany and worked as postdoctoral associate at Rutgers University and visiting scientist at Argonne National Laboratory before joining NIU in 2004. Currently he holds a joint appointment as professor of physics at NIU and physicist in Argonne’s Materials Science Division. In 2010 he was named Presidential Research Professor and in 2013 he became a Board of Trustees Professor. He received the prestigious R&D 100 Award for the invention of ultrafast hydrogen nanosensors. He also served as an interim associate dean for research and graduate studies for NIU’s College of Liberal Arts and Science. He served as the chair of the Users Executive Committee for Argonne’s Electron Microscopy Center and is currently a member of the Users Executive Committee for Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Capitol Room, Holmes Student Center, Main Floor

11:30 a.m.—12:00 p.m., Refreshments
12:00 p.m.—1:00 p.m., Presentation and Q&A

No registration is required—Everyone is welcome!


Office of the Provost
Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center

Last Updated: 7/28/2016