Jian Chen

Jian Chen

Associate Professor

Office: Chemistry 631
Phone: 414-229-6464
e-mail: jianchen@uwm.edu


Ph.D., Fudan University

Research Description:

My group's research is focused on fundamental understanding of organic nanomaterials and their applications in the areas of alternative energy, smart materials, and biomedical materials and devices. We seek to use Nature's assembling rules in conjunction with synthetic organic/polymer chemistry, supramolecular/bioconjugate chemistry and nanotechnology to design and synthesize nanostructured materials with synergistic multifunctionality. Some of our recent research projects include:

  1. Nanoengineering stable carbon nanotube aerogels.. This research project aims to advance the fundamental knowledge and process technology for manufacturing of novel stable carbon nanotube (CNT) aerogels. By combining the extraordinary properties of CNTs with those of aerogels, a new class of materials becomes accessible with superior multifunctional material properties in a single material system, which will potentially lead to applications in multifunctional composites, fuel cells, super capacitors, 3-D batteries, advanced catalyst supports, energy absorption materials, chemical and biological sensors, etc. We have successfully prepared stable CNT aerogels with excellent electrical, mechanical, and porous texture properties.


  2. Carbon nanotube-liquid crystalline elastomer nanocomposites.. This project aims to advance the fundamental understanding of novel CNT-liquid crystalline elastomer (LCE) nanocomposites. The major innovation is to couple the CNTs to the LCEs using a unique nanotube chemistry platform to achieve strong synergies among CNTs, mesogenic units, and LCE networks. The strong synergies between CNTs with various characteristics and LCEs could generate many novel properties and functions. The advances in fundamental understanding of CNT-LCE composites will have a significant impact on the field of smart materials and lead to potential applications such as artificial muscles, mini- and microrobots, "smart skins", pumps and valves in microfluidic systems for drug delivery, ventricular assist devices for failing hearts, and sensors for mechanical strain, humidity, and gases. Our recent study has demonstrated the reversible infrared actuation of CNT-LCE nanocomposite films with only 0.1-0.2 wt% nanotube loadings.


  3. Advanced carbon nanotube-polymer composite infrared sensors.Organic electronic materials offer ease of materials processing and integration, low cost, physical flexibility and large device area as compared to traditional inorganic semiconductors. Optoelectronic materials that are responsive at wavelengths in the near-infrared (NIR) region (e.g. 800-2000 nm) are highly desirable for various demanding applications such as telecommunication, biomedical imaging, remote sensing (e.g. night vision), thermal photovoltaics and solar cells. The objective of this research project is to develop a new class of advanced CNT-polymer composite IR sensors with ultra-high sensitivity at room temperature in the air. We have discovered that the IR photoresponse in the electrical conductivity of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) is dramatically enhanced by embedding SWNTs in an insulating polymer matrix. We also demonstrate that both SWNT types and nanotube-matrix polymer-nanotube (NT-P-NT) junctions have profound impact on the IR photoelectrical property of SWNT-polymer composites.


Selected Awards:

NASA Space Act Award, 2008; Graduate School/UWM Foundation Research Award, 2007; NASA Space Act Tech Brief Award, 2007; Best 25 Micro- and Nanotechnologies, 2006; R&D 100 Award, 2005.

Selected Publications:

(selected from 61 publications with over 6500 citations; *as corresponding author)

Ryan R. Kohlmeyer*, Philip R. Buskohl, James R. Deneault, Michael F. Durstock, Richard A. Vaia, Jian Chen*, “Shape-Reprogrammable Polymers: Encoding, Erasing, and Re-encoding,” Adv. Mater. 2014, 26, 8114-8119.

Ryan R. Kohlmeyer, Jian Chen*, “Wavelength-Selective, Infrared Light-Driven Hinges Based on Liquid Crystalline Elastomer Composites,” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 9234-9237. See: “Light-Activated Soft Material Inches Along,” Chem. & Eng. News, 91 (March 18, 2013), p. 39.

Jian Chen*, “Actuators and Infrared Sensors Based on Carbon Nanotube-Polymer Composites,” (invited book chapter) D. Tasis (ed.), Carbon Nanotube-Polymer Composites (RSC Nanoscience and Nanotechnology), Royal Society of Chemistry, ISBN: 978-1-84973-568-1, 2013.

Ryan R. Kohlmeyer, Maika Lor, Jian Chen*, “Remote, Local, and Chemical Programming of Healable Multi-Shape Memory Polymer Nanocomposites,” Nano Lett. 2012, 12, 2757-2762.

Ryan R. Kohlmeyer, Maika Lor, Jian Deng, Haiying Liu, Jian Chen*, “Preparation of Stable Carbon Nanotube Aerogels with High Electrical Conductivity and Porosity,” Carbon 2011, 49, 2352-2361.

Basudev Pradhan, Ryan R. Kohlmeyer, Kristina Setyowati, Heather A. Owen, Jian Chen*, "Advanced Carbon Nanotube/Polymer Composite Infrared Sensors", Carbon 2009, 47, 1686-1692.

Ryan R. Kohlmeyer, Alireza Javadi, Basudev Pradhan, Srikanth Pilla, Kristina Setyowati, Jian Chen*, Shaoqin Gong*, "Electrical and Dielectric Properties of Hydroxylated Carbon Nanotube-Elastomer Composites", J. Phys. Chem. C 2009, 113, 17626–17629

Basudev Pradhan, Ryan R. Kohlmeyer, Kristina Setyowati, Jian Chen*, "Electron-Doping of Small-Diameter Carbon Nanotubes with Exohedral Fullerenes", Appl. Phys. Lett. 2008, 93, 223102.

Liqiang Yang, Kristina Setyowati, An Li, Shaoqin "Sarah" Gong, Jian Chen*, "Reversible Infrared Actuation of Carbon Nanotube-Liquid Crystalline Elastomer Nanocomposites," Adv. Mater., in press, 2008.

Basudev Pradhan, Kristina Setyowati, Haiying Liu, David H. Waldeck, Jian Chen*, "Carbon Nanotube-Polymer Nanocomposite Infrared Sensor," Nano Lett., in press, 2008.

Kristina Setyowati, Ming Jun Piao, Jian Chen*, Haiying Liu, "Carbon Nanotube Surface Attenuated Infrared Absorption," Appl. Phys. Lett., 92, 043105, 2008. Selected for publication in Virtual Journal of Nanoscale Science & Technology (issue February 11, 2008).

Babasaheb. R. Sankapal, Kristina Setyowati, Jian Chen*, Haiying Liu, "Electrical Properties of Air-Stable, Iodine-Doped Carbon Nanotube-Polymer Composites," Appl. Phys. Lett., 91, 173103, 2007. Selected for publication in Virtual Journal of Nanoscale Science & Technology (issue November 5, 2007).

Jian Chen*, Cuihua Xue, Rajagopal Ramasubramaniam, Haiying Liu, "A New Method for the Preparation of Stable Carbon Nanotube Organogels," Carbon, 44, 2142-2146, 2006.

Jian Chen*, Rajagopal Ramasubramaniam, Cuihua Xue, Haiying Liu, "A versatile molecular engineering approach to simultaneously enhanced multifunctional carbon nanotube polymer composites," Adv. Funct. Mater., 16, 114-119, 2006

Rajagopal Ramasubramaniam, Jian Chen*, Haiying Liu, "Homogeneous carbon nanotube/polymer composites for electrical applications," Appl. Phys. Lett., 83, 2928-2930, 2003.

Jian Chen*, Haiying Liu, Wayne A. Weimer, Mathew D. Halls, David H. Waldeck, Gilbert C. Walker, "Noncovalent engineering of carbon nanotube surfaces by rigid, functional conjugated polymers," J. Am. Chem. Soc., 124, 9034-9035, 2002.

Jian Chen*, Wayne A. Weimer, "Room-temperature assembly of directional carbon nanotube strings," J. Am. Chem. Soc., 124, 758-759, 2002.

Jian Chen*, Mark J. Dyer, Min-Feng Yu, "Cyclodextrin-mediated soft cutting of single-walled carbon nanotubes," J. Am. Chem. Soc., 123, 6201-6202, 2001. See: "'soft' way to cut nanotubes," Chem. & Eng. News, 79 (July 2, 2001), p. 23.

Jian Chen, Apparao M. Rao, Sergei Lyuksyutov, Mikhail E. Itkis, Mark A. Hamon, Hui Hu, Robert W. Cohn, Peter C. Eklund, Daniel T. Colbert, Richard E. Smalley, Robert C. Haddon, "Dissolution of full-length single-walled carbon nanotubes," J. Phys. Chem. B, 105, 2525-2528, 2001.

Apparao M. Rao, Jian Chen, Ernst, Richter, Peter C. Eklund, Robert C. Haddon, U. D. Venkateswaran, Y. -K. Kwon, D. Tomanek, "Effect of van der Waals interaction on the Raman modes in single walled carbon nanotubes," Phys. Rev. Lett., 86, 3895-3898, 2001.

R. Andrews, D. Jacques, A. M. Rao, T. Rantell, F. Derbyshire, Y. Chen, Jian Chen, R. C. Haddon, "Nanotube composite carbon fibers," Appl. Phys. Lett., 75, 1329-1331, 1999). See: "Putting the 'nano' into composites" Ron Dagani, Chem. & Eng. News, 77 (June 7, 1999), p. 36-37.

Mark A. Hamon, Jian Chen, Hui Hu, Yongsheng Chen, Apparao M. Rao, Peter C. Eklund, Robert C. Haddon, "Solubility properties of single-walled carbon nanotubes," Adv. Mater., 11, 834-840, 1999.

R. Andrews, D. Jacques, A. M. Rao, F. Derbyshire, D. Qian, X. Fan, E. C. Dickey, Jian Chen, "Continuous production of aligned carbon nanotubes: a step closer to commercial realization," Chem. Phys. Lett., 303, 467-474, 1999.

Jian Chen, Mark A. Hamon, Hui Hu, Yongsheng Chen, Apparao M. Rao, Peter C. Eklund, Robert C. Haddon, "Solution properties of single-walled carbon nanotubes," Science, 282, 95-98,1998. See: "Soluble carbon nanotubes open door on chemistry" Ron Dagani, Chem. & Eng. News, 76 (Oct 5, 1998), p. 9.