Author Profile: Gengfeng Zheng

Gengfeng Zheng talks about his research on low-dimensional semiconducting nanomaterials and the joy of watching his students succeed.

Gengfeng ZhengGengfeng Zheng is currently a professor of Chemistry at Fudan University, China. He obtained his B.Sc. degree in Chemistry in 2000 from Fudan University, and obtained his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry in 2006 from Harvard University, under the guidance of Prof. Charles M. Lieber. During 2007-2010, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Chad Mirkin at Northwestern University, USA. Dr. Zheng has been the recipient of the Professorship of Special Appointment (Eastern Scholar) at Shanghai Institutions of Higher Learning (2012), the China Ministry of Education New Century Excellent Talents (2011), and the Materials Research Society Graduate Student Gold Award (2006). His research interests include the synthesis of low-dimensional semiconducting nanomaterials, fabrication of nanodevices for solar energy conversion and lithium ion battery, and studies of hybrid nanomaterial-biomaterial interfaces for disease diagnosis.

1.      Which research projects are you working on at the moment?
We are working the synthesis of new low-dimensional semiconducting nanomaterials for energy conversion and storage, including: 1) metal oxide and sulfide nanowires for photoelectrochemical water splitting, and 2) hybrid porous and nanostructured materials for lithium ion battery and supercapacitors.

2.      What motivated you to work on porous and nanostructured materials?
Porous and nanostructured semiconducting materials with rationally designed architectures provide tunable electronic bandgap structures, efficient charge transport, and large interfacial area for surface reactions. A lot of unconventional properties and high device performances can be expected from these material building blocks.

3.      What are the hot topics in materials chemistry at the moment?
The synthesis of hybrid inorganic-organic nanomaterials and the development of new device concepts for energy conversion and storage, and life sciences.

4.      What current problem would you like to see science provide a solution to?
An efficient and low-cost method to produce clean energy and fuels from the earth-abundant materials.

5.      What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of your career?
The success of my students in experiments, publications, and awards. It is really a joyful reward for me when I see that the students have been benefited from my teaching and their efforts.

6.      What’s the secret to being a successful scientist?
Dedication. The strenuous path towards the success is the most important and fun part from which one can incredibly learn.

7.      Which scientist past or present do you most admire?
Professor Harry Gray. He has contributed enormously to inorganic chemistry and biochemistry, and he is very amiable.

8.      If you weren’t a scientist, what would you be?
A physician or surgeon. The feeling of helping patients is invaluable.

If you’re interested to know more about the research in Gengfeng Zheng’s group you can find a few of their recent papers below or have a look at their group website.

Unconventional 0-, 1-, and 2-dimensional single-crystalline copper sulfilde nanostructures
Ming Xu, Haoyu Wu, Peimei Da, Dongyuan Zhao, Gengfeng Zheng,
Nanoscale, 2012, 4, 1794-1799.

Synthesis of hierarchically nanoporous silica films for controlled drug loading and release
Ming Xu, Dan Feng, Rui Dai, Haoyu Wu, Dongyuan Zhao, Gengfeng Zheng, 
Nanoscale, 2011, 3, 3329-3333.

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