Qian Chen
Qian Chen
Associate Professor and Racheff Faculty Scholar, Carle Illinois College of Medicine Affiliate
(217) 300-1137
1005 Superconductivity Center

For More Information

Academic Positions

  • Affiliated Faculty, Materials Research Laboratory
  • Affiliated Faculty Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
  • 2021-present Associate Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Department of Chemistry (0%), Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (0%), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2019-present Affiliated Faculty, Carle Illinois College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2018-present Affiliated part-time faculty, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Professional Highlights

  • Prof. Qian Chen is currently an Associate Professor and Racheff Scholar in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). She obtained her PhD from the same department with Prof. Steve Granick (2012) and did her postdoc with Prof. Paul Alivisatos at UC Berkeley under Miller Fellowship. She joined the faculty of UIUC in 2015 and since then has received awards for the research in her group including Victor LaMer award in ACS (2015), Forbes 30 under 30 Science List (2016), Air Force Office of Scientific Research YIP award (2017), National Science Foundation CAREER award (2018), Sloan Research Fellow in Chemistry (2018), Unilever award in ACS (2018), Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research (2020&2022), and the Hanwha-TotalEnergies IUPAC Young Scientist Award (2022). The research in her group focuses on the broad scheme of imaging, understanding and engineering soft materials at the nanoscale, including systems such as colloidal self-assembly, protein transformation, advanced battery devices, metamaterials, and energy-efficient separation strategies."

Research Interests

  • Materials for Energy and the Environment

Research Areas

  • Polymers

Research Topics

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Zihao Ou,¶ Ziwei Wang,¶ Binbin Luo, Erik Luijten*, and Qian Chen*, “Kinetic pathways of crystallization at the nanoscale,” Nature Materials 19, 450 (2020)
  • Lehan Yao, Zihao Ou, Binbin Luo, Cong Xu, Qian Chen*, “Machine learning to reveal nanoparticle dynamics from liquid-phase TEM videos” ACS Central Science 6, 1421 (2020).
  • Hyosung An, John W. Smith, Bingqiang Ji, Stephen Cotty, Shan Zhou, Lehan Yao, Falon C. Kalutantirige, Wenxiang Chen, Zihao Ou, Xiao Su, Jie Feng, Qian Chen*, "Mechanism and performance relevance of nanomorphogenesis in polyamide films revealed by quantitative 3D imaging and machine learning" Science Advances (2022), in press
  • Shan Zhou, Jiahui Li, Jun Lu, Haihua Liu, Ji-Young Kim, Ahyoung Kim, Lehan Yao, Chang Liu, Chang Qian, Zachary D. Hood, Xiaoying Lin, Wenxiang Chen, Thomas E. Gage, Ilke Arslan, Alex Travesset, Kai Sun, Nicholas A. Kotov, Qian Chen “Chiral Assemblies of Pinwheel Superlattices on Substrates”, Nature, DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05384-8 (2022)
  • Wenxiang Chen, Xun Zhan, Renliang Yuan, Saran Pidaparthy, Adrian Xiao Bin Yong, Hyosung An, Zhichu Tang, Kaijun Yin, Arghya Patra, Heonjae Jeong, Cheng Zhang, Kim Ta, Zachary W. Riedel, Ryan M. Stephens, Daniel P. Shoemaker, Hong Yang, Andrew A. Gewirth, Paul V. Braun, Elif Ertekin, Jian-Min Zuo, Qian Chen “Formation and impact of nanoscopic oriented phase domains in electrochemical crystalline electrodes”, Nature Materials, DOI: 10.1038/s41563-022-01381-4 (2022).


  • Hanwha-Total Energies IUPAC Young Scientist Award (2022)
  • Dean's Award for Excellence In Research for Associate Professor, The Grainger College of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2022)
  • Racheff faculty Scholar, The Grainger College of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2021)
  • Dean's Award for Excellence in Research for Assistant Professor, College of Engineering, UIUC (Feb, 2020 )
  • Unilever Award, Division of Colloid and Surface Science, American Chemical Society (Jun, 2018)
  • The DURIP (Defense University Research Instrumentation Program) Award from department of defense (Apr, 2018)
  • Sloan Research Fellow in Chemistry, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (Feb, 2018)
  • Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, Solid State and Materials Chemistry program, National Science Foundation (Nov, 2017)
  • ACS Petroleum Research Foundation Doctoral New Researcher Award (Oct, 2017)
  • Air Force's Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) Award, Biophysics Program, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (Oct, 2016)
  • The SN 10 List of Scientists Making the Next Big Discoveries; Science News Magazine (one of the 10 early- and mid-career scientists, age 40 and under, selected among all science disciplines) (Sep, 2016)
  • Distinguished Visiting Fellow, the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), United Kingdom (to a distinguished professor from an overseas academic centre of excellence for up to one month in UK university to build capacity and promote collaborations) (Aug, 2016)
  • Forbes 30 under 30 Science List, Forbes Magazine (Jan, 2016)
  • Victor LaMer Award, Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry, American Chemical Society (Jun, 2015)
  • Miller Research Fellowship, Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science, University of California Berkeley (Jul, 2012-May, 2015)

Recent Courses Taught

  • MSE 450 - Polymer Science & Engineering
  • MSE 480 (CHEM 488) - Surfaces and Colloids
  • MSE 559 - Soft Materials Seminar
  • MSE 595 - Materials Colloquium