Curious Minds and Materials Discoveries: Nano Seminar Series

Seminar | March 23 | 2-3 p.m. | 60 Evans Hall

 Prof. Jiaxing Huang, Northwestern, Materials Science & Engineering

 Berkeley Nanosciences and Nanoengineering Institute

Curiosity-driven discoveries can often inspire new hypotheses in scientific research and solutions for problems. I will share a few such discoveries 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 learning experience and empowers students to innovate. These teacher-students interactions in return inspires us to identify new research problems that are usually more relatable to our daily life, and to address these problems with materials solutions.

Jiaxing Huang did his PhD in Chem at UCLA and was a Miller Fellow here at UCB (Go Bears!) before joining Northwestern in 2007. Awards include a Guggenheim and the Humboldt as well as NSF and the Sloan Foundation; he is a Most Cited Researcher in MSE.