Guangzhao Mao

Position Department / Business Unit
Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
Institution Disciplines
Wayne State University Chemistry Engineering
City State / Provence
Detroit Michigan
Country Website
U.S.A. link
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Prof. Mao works in the area of interfacial engineering. Her recent research is focused on the design of nanoscale templates for site-specific crystallization.

Mao’s research has generated “molecular” templates using a variety of fatty acid and lipid amphiphiles. The templates have been used to achieve site-specific deposition and crystallization of semiconductor copper sulfide and the drug aspirin with molecular precision. Aspirin is prevented from crystallization by the small size of the template pattern. The non-crystalline aspirin particles have potential application in low-dose drug formulation. Mao’s research has also generated particle/rod hybrid nanostructures using nanoparticles as the “seed” template. The research has demonstrated the general strategy of using nanoscale confinement to direct the assembly of nano-components. Experimental studies of crystallization steps in confinement are necessary for a better understanding of structural and morphological transitions undergone by discrete molecular clusters en route to the critical nucleus and the final crystal structure. The molecularly smooth pattern allows the study of confinement imposed by chemical heterogeneity, while the nanoparticle seed addresses confinement imposed by topography. The significant conceptual deviation of this approach from the established ones is to achieve site-specific crystallization by nanopatterns. The traditional epitaxy crystallization requires the dimensional and stereochemical match of the guest/host crystalline planes. This research intends to show that the same control can be achieved without such stringent constraints and with no prior knowledge of the guest crystal structure. The project provides a fundamental understanding of the crystallization and seed-mediated nucleation processes used widely in industry for material separation and purification. It also impacts technologies requiring site-specific crystallization with nanoscale precision such as drug encapsulation, molecular electronic circuitry, and high-throughput crystallization screening.

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