Assistant Professor Dianne Xiao has received an award from the Department of Energy’s Early Career Research Program, an effort “designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.”
Prof. Xiao’s research program seeks to discover next generation materials that address unmet needs in clean energy, catalysis, and environmental remediation. Her group studies a wide range of material types, from metal–organic frameworks to supramolecular cages and their polymer hybrids. A common theme is the presence of well-defined internal cavities that can be manipulated to display unusual catalytic activity, electrical conductivity, or molecular recognition.
Prof. Xiao’s DOE Early Career research proposal is inspired by the beautiful structures and unique properties of high surface area conjugated carbon nanomaterials such as graphene and carbon nanotubes. Her group is expanding upon these structural motifs by incorporating a different part of the periodic table—transition metals—which may open the door to new physical properties and reactivity. Just as the discovery of carbon-based nanomaterials has transformed numerous sectors, from energy storage and conversion to nanoscale electronics and medicine, they hope their new materials will have a similar impact.