Younan Xia Ph.D.

Xia, Younan
Position Department / Business Unit
Professor of Chemistry Dept. of Chemistry
Institution Disciplines
University of Washington Nanomaterials
City State / Provence
Country Website
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Research Interests

Research in the Xia group centers on the development of new chemistry, physics, and technological applications related to nanostructured materials – a class of novel materials whose building blocks have at least one lateral dimension between 1 and 100 nm. These materials are expected to play an important role in the development of various emerging technologies that will improve the way we live just as microtechnology did in the past several decades.

1. Synthesis and Fabrication of Nanostructured Materials – We are exploring new methodologies for the synthesis and fabrication of nanostructured materials. The ultimate goal is to build a technology base for the large-scale production of functional nanostructures having well-controlled dimensions, well-defined shapes, and desired properties. We have pioneered a number of chemical methods (the bottom-up approach), based on controlled nucleation/growth for synthesizing nanowires from a variety of solid materials that include both semiconductors and metals. We have also extended the capability of these methods to cover many other types of morphologies such as tubes, cubes, tetrahedrons, thin plates, and spheres. In addition, we have developed a number of methods based on lithography, electrospinning, and templating (the top-down approach) for generating nanostructures (e.g., wires, rods, dots, rings, and tubes) from a variety of materials.

2. Self-Assembly and Photonic Bandgap (PBG) Crystals – We are exploring the concept of self-assembly in fabricating PBG crystals where monodispersed spherical colloids (50 nm to 1 um in size) serve as the building blocks. Such 3D crystalline arrays have also been exploited as templates to generate highly ordered, porous materials with well-defined pore sizes and structures. As a result of the intrinsic, long-range order associated with these 3D periodic lattices, they exhibit pseudo bandgaps in the optical regime whose midgap positions could be tuned in a number of different ways. Currently, we are developing methods for the facial synthesis of spherical building blocks with sizes in the range of 100- 500 nm, as monodisperse samples, at relatively large quantities, and from materials such as metals and semiconductors. We are also interested in the synthesis, self-assembly, and utilization of colloidal building blocks with nonspherical shapes.

3. Applications of Nanostructured Materials in Biotechnology – We are applying nanostructured materials to solve various problems in the general area of biotechnology. For example, we are exploring the use of superparamagnetic colloidal particles to separate, manipulate, and detect biological species and events. We are also investigating the use of gold nanocages (nanoboxes and nanoshells with porous walls) in biomedical sensing, imaging, and photothermal therapy.

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