Westlake News PEOPLE

“The Nano Magician" Professor Hongyu Chen Joins Westlake University

31, 2021

Email: zhangchi@westlake.edu.cn
Phone: +86-(0)571-86886861
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Prof. Hongyu Chen is considered as a bit of magician in the nano field. He can direct nano particles that are too small to be seen and touched, and turn them into whatever we want—whether that is growing nano arrows, threaded nano screws, hollow nano gourds, winding a nano wire into a ring, or twisting a strand of nano wire into a rope...

This summer, this maverick decided to come to Westlake as a full professor with the School of Science at Westlake University.

For the past 15 years, Hongyu Chen has been focusing on how to enrich and refine the "magic toolbox at the nanoscale". This research, which is a subset of synthetic chemistry, can be regarded as a relatively inaccessible area in the hot nano field. Few people know how this "magic" will change the world in the future.

What is Nano? Nano is a unit of measurement. The diameter of a single hair is about 0.05 millimeters. Now cut that hair into 50,000 layers, each of those layers is about 1 nanometer thick. In other words, 1 nanometer is 0.000001 millimeters. Generally, nanoparticles are 1-100 nanometers in diameter, which is much smaller than macroscopic objects, but much larger than molecules, so special preparation techniques are needed.

One of the purposes of nanotechnology research is to achieve effective control of the microscopic world. The question is, how to give these extremely small invisible nanoparticles "instructions" to form useful structures?

Hongyu Chen is looking to develop "magic tools" to do just that: "My interest is to advance the control of nano-synthesis, develop new synthesis methods, discover new mechanisms, and apply these tools to explore new applications.”

With an ideal environment at Westlake University, Chen plans to continue to explore nano-synthesis and to carry out new research. "Because of the 'toolbox', I can create intricate nanostructures that are so far inaccessible. What will I do to exploit the structural complexity? I think we can look for synergies with biomaterials,” he explains.

Chen feels that the academic atmosphere of Westlake University is a good fit for him to carry out his long-term "crazy goals". "I don't want to follow other people's paths,” he expressed.

Chen hopes that students can be self-motivated, having interest in science, not just to get a degree or to make money, but for the love of science. He hopes that they can love scientific research from the bottom of their hearts. He also thinks that a person can only succeed if they want it.

Hongyu ‘The Nano Magician’ Chen said to us, “'The most important product of a university is not its research, but its people,' this is what my previous Ph.D. advisor said to me. Our job is to see if we can inspire our students, to touch their souls.”