- Ph.D. Chemistry, Rice University, Houston, TX (w. R. E. Smalley)
- M.S. Chemistry, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
- B.S. Chemistry, Xiamen University, China
- Assistant Professor of Chemistry, University of Maryland, College Park, fall 2008-
- Faculty member, Chemical Physics Program, University of Maryland, 12/2008-present
- Faculty member, Maryland NanoCenter, 8/2008-present
- Postdoctoral Associate, Northwestern University, 2005-2008 (w. Chad A. Mirkin)
- Project Leader, Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory, Rice University, 2001-2004
Materials and physical chemistry of carbon networks, chemistry and photophysics of defects in carbon nanotubes, collective properties of super nanostructures, nanofabrication, energy materials.
Major Recognitions and Honors
- Invention of the Year finalist, University of Maryland, 2011
- NSF CAREER Award in Chemistry, 2011-2016
- ACS Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator, 2010
- Alumni Spotlight, the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, Rice University, 2010
- Nanobiotechnology Award, Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development, 2009
- General Research Board Research Support Award, University of Maryland, 2009
- General Research Board Summer Award, University of Maryland, 2009
- NSF NSEC Outstanding Researcher Award, Northwestern University, 2007
- David G. Nance Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Nanotechnology, Texas 2004
- The Presidential Fellowship, Rice University, 2000–2004
- Robert A. Welch Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, 2000–2001
Significant Professional Service and Activities
- American Chemical Society (1999-)
- Materials Research Society (2004-)
- Workshop Co-Organizer, Telluride Workshop on the Chemistry and Physics of Defects in Carbon Nanotubes, Telluride, Colorado. July 8-12, 2013 (co-organizer: Phil Collins)
- Vice-Chair of Organizing Committee, “7th Sino-US Forum on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.” June 8-11, 2012. Xiamen, China.
- Symposium Organizer. “Chemistry of Carbon Nanomaterials,” the Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, May 21-24, 2011.
- Symposium Organizer. “Chemical Methods of Nanofabrication,” 237th ACS National Meeting, March 22-26, 2009. This three-day symposium featured 25 invited talks under the Salt Lake City meeting theme, “Nanoscience: Challenges for the Future.” (co-organizers: Chad Mirkin, So-Jung Park)
Wang has co-authored 56 manuscripts, 3 book chapters and 16 issued/pending patents. His work has been cited more than 3,000 times and featured on 9 journal and book covers as well as by Nature, Science, Technology Review, New York Times, among many others.
Materials and Physical Chemistry of Carbon Nanostructures
The Wang research group focuses on discovering new chemical and physical phenomena at the very small scale and nanostructured interfaces. Examples of our current research include understanding and controlling the coupling of electrons, excitons, phonons, and spin with defects in reduced dimensions, establishing the molecular science of carbon, elucidating the fundamental principles that govern the assembly of nanostructures into ordered solids and functional networks, and developing novel devices and methodologies to address fundamental issues in energy, nanoelectronics, and biomedicine.
1. Defect Chemistry of sp2 Carbon Lattices.
Defects can rule the properties of a crystal. This effect is particularly intriguing in atom-thick materials such as single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) and graphene, where new chemistry and physics may arise due to strong coupling of electrons, excitons, phonons, and spins with defects in reduced dimensions. Over the past several decades, the intrinsic properties of nanostructured carbon have been extensively researched to the point of being well understood, but the roles of defects in these materials remain largely unknown. A central theme of our research is understanding and exploiting defect chemistry of sp2 carbon lattices. In the past few years we have helped advance this new and emerging research frontier by developing both fundamental understanding and molecular control of sp3 defects in sp2 carbon lattices.
Atom-thick materials such as SWCNTs and graphene are prone to chemical attack because all of the constituent atoms are exposed. To overcome this materials limitation, my research group has synthesized a novel structure that is equivalent to a SWCNT hermetically sealed by a chemically tailored outer wall, created from double-walled carbon nanotubes through outer wall-selective covalent chemistry. This concept allows us to address a series of fundamental questions central to nanomaterials chemistry. For example, how are the electronic properties of a semiconducting nanostructure affected by its chemical environment? What if the environmental effects could be controlled or completely eliminated by protecting the inner-tube with the outer wall? Will electrical transport in such a “double wall” structure become immune to chemical perturbations by oxygen and water? Will it fluoresce brightly?
3. Nanoelectrode Networks for Energy Storage and Harvesting.
We are researching novel chemical methods and nanofabrication approaches to integrate CNTs for a wide range of basic and applied research including lithium ion batteries and solar cells. The projects in our lab currently focus on studying electrical transport through nanotube interfaces and synthesizing heterogeneous nanostructures that may mechanically self-heal and are electrochemically reversible as the anode of lithium ion batteries. The remarkable electron accepting capabilities and charge transport properties of SWNTs have also suggested new possibilities for overcoming the efficiency bottleneck currently facing several next-generation solar cells. CNTs can significantly improve the performance of organic photovoltaic cells and the photoconversion efficiency of TiO2-based Grätzel cells by effectively collecting and shuttling the electrons injected from light harvesting components (e.g. porphyrins) or charge separation centers (e.g. TiO2 nanoparticles). The efficient electron transport also facilitates charge separation and prevents charge recombination, thereby may significantly improve the photoconversion efficiency.