Ying Diao

Ying Diao
Ying Diao
  • Associate Professor
(217) 300-3505
213 Roger Adams Laboratory

For More Information


  • Postdoctoral Scholar, Stanford University & SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, 2011-2014
  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011
  • M.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008
  • B.S.E., Tsinghua University, 2006

Research Interests

  • Phase transformations, Interfacial phenomenon, Molecular Assembly for Energy and Healthcare

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Mohammadi, E.; Qu, G.; Kafle, P.; Jung, S.-H.; Lee, J.-K.; Diao, Y. “Design Rules for Dynamic-Template-Directed Crystallization of Conjugated Polymers”, Molecular Systems Design & Engineering, 2019, DOI: 10.1039/C9ME00042A, (invited for 'Emerging Investigators 2020 special issue')
  • Qu, G.; Kwok, J.; Mohammadi, E.; Zhang, F.; Diao, Y. “Understanding Film-to-Stripe Transition of Conjugated Polymers Driven by Meniscus Instability”. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 2018, 10, 40692–40701. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b13790
  • Chung, H.; Ruzie, C.; Geerts, Y.H.; Diao, Y. “Hybrid Mechanism of Nucleation and Cooperative Propagation in a Single-Crystal-to-Single-Crystal Transition of a Molecular Crystal”. Crystal Growth & Design. 2018, 18, 4245–4251. DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.8b00452 **Highlighted in the Crystal Growth & Design Emerging Scholars Virtual Special Issue
  • Zhu, W.; Mohammadi, E.; Diao, Y. "Quantitative Image Analysis of Fractal-like Thin Films of Organic Semiconductors". ChemRxiv. 2018. Preprint. https://doi.org/10.26434/chemrxiv.6223610.v1
  • Horstman, E. M.*; Kafle, P.*; Zhang, F.; Zhang, Y.; Kenis, P.J.A.; Diao, Y. “Solution Coating of Pharmaceutical Nanothin Films and Multilayer Nanocomposites with Controlled Morphology and Polymorphism”. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 2018, 10 (12), 10480–10489. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b01074
  • Chung, H.; Dudenko, D.; Zhang, F.; D’Avino, G.; Ruzie, C.; Richard, A.; Schweicher, G.; Beljonne, D.; Geerts, Y.H.; Diao, Y. “Rotator Side Chains Trigger Cooperative Transition for Shape and Function Memory Effect in Organic Semiconductors”. Nature Communications. 2018, 9, 278. DOI:10.1038/s41467-017-02607-9. **Highlighted on Illinois homepage, EurekAlert!, Science Daily, R&D magazine, Phys.org, etc. “Shape-shifting organic crystals use memory to improve plastic electronics” 01/25/2018
  • Patel, B.B.; Diao, Y. “Multiscale Assembly of Solution-Processed Organic Electronics: the Critical Roles of Confinement, Fluid Flow, and Interfaces”. Nanotechnology (Invited paper for the ‘Focus Collection in Nanotechnology’ on the subject of Hierarchical Nanostructures). 2018, 29, 044004. https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6528/aa9d7c
  • Zhang, F.*; Mohammadi, E.*; Luo, X.; Strzalka, J.; Mei, J.; Diao, Y. “Critical Role of Surface Energy in Guiding Crystallization of Solution Coated Conjugated Polymer Thin Films”. Langmuir (Invited article for the ‘Early Career Authors in Fundamental Colloid and Interface Science’ themed issue). 2018, 34, 1109–1122. DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b02807
  • Qu, G.; Zhao, X.; Newbloom, G.M.; Zhang, F.; Mohammadi, E.; Strzalka, J.; Pozzo, L.; Mei, J.; Diao, Y. “Understanding Interfacial Alignment in Solution Coated Conjugated Polymer Thin Films”. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 2017, 9, 27863-27874. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b08133
  • Mohammadi, E; Zhao, C.; Meng Y.; Zhang, F.; Qu, G; Mei, J.; Zuo, J.-M.; Shukla, D.; Diao, Y. “Dynamic-Template-Directed Multiscale Assembly for Large-Area Coating of Highly-Aligned Conjugated Polymer Thin Films”. Nature Communications. 2017, 8, 16070. DOI:10.1038/ncomms16070. **Highlighted on Illinois homepage, Science Magazine, EurekAlert!, R&D magazine, Phys.org, etc. “Researchers develop dynamic templates critical to printable electronics technology” 07/13/2017
  • Zhang, F.; Dai, X.; Zhu, W.; Chung, H.; Diao, Y. “Large Modulation of Charge Carrier Mobility in Doped Nanoporous Organic Transistors”. Advanced Materials. 2017, 29, 1700411. DOI: 10.1002/adma.201700411
  • Zhang, F.; Qu, G; Mohammadi, E.; Mei, J.; Diao, Y. “Solution-Processed Nanoporous Organic Semiconductor Thin Films: Toward Health and Environmental Monitoring of Volatile Markers”. Advanced Functional Materials. 2017, 27, 1701117. DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201701117 **Highlighted on Adv. Funct. Mater. back cover. **Highlighted on Illinois homepage, Science Magazine, EurekAlert!, Phys.org, etc. “Sensors detect disease markers in breath” 05/18/2017 **Most-read Analytica News, 05/22/2017
  • Li, B.; Valverde, L.R.; Zhang, F.; Zhou, Y.; Li, S.; Diao, Y.; Wilson, W.; Schroeder, C.M. “Macroscopic Alignment and Assembly of π-Conjugated Oligopeptides Using Colloidal Microchannels”. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 2017, 9, 41586–41593. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b13978
  • Zhao, Y.; He, J.; Gumyusenge, A.; Qu, G.; Zhao, X.; Zhang H.; Diao, Y.; Mei, J. “Continuous Melt-Drawing of Highly Aligned Flexible and Stretchable Semiconducting Microfibers for Organic Electronics”. Advanced Functional Materials. 2017. DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201705584.
  • Huang, D.; Yao, H.; Cui, Y.; Zou, Y.; Zhang, F.; Wang, C.; Shen, H.; Jin, W.; Zhu, J.; Diao. Y.; Xu, W.; Di, C.; Zhu, D. “Conjugated Backbone Effect of Organic Small Molecules for n-Type Thermoelectric Materials with ZT over 0.2”. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2017, 139 (37), pp 13013–13023 DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b05344
  • Zhao, X.; Xue, G.; Qu, G.; Singhania, V.; Zhao, Y.; Butrouna, K.; Gumyusenge, A.; Diao, Y.; Graham, K.; Li, H.; Mei, J. “Complementary Semiconducting Polymer Blends: Influence of Side Chains of Matrix Polymers”. Macromolecules. 2017, 50 (16), 6202-6209. DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.7b01354
  • Xue, G.; Zhao, X.; Qu, G.; Xu, T., Gumyusenge, A.; Zhang, Z.; Zhao, Y.; Diao. Y.; Li, H.; Mei, J. “Symmetry Breaking in Side Chains Leading to Mixed Orientations in Polymer Thin Films and Improved Charge Transport”. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. 2017, 9 (30), 25426–25433. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b07624
  • Zhang, C.; Zang, Y.; Zhang, F.; Diao, Y.; McNeill, C.R.; Di, C.; Zhu, X.; Zhu, D.; “Pursuing High-Mobility n-Type Organic Semiconductors by Combination of Molecule-Framework and Side-Chain Engineering”. Advanced Materials. 2016. 28, 8456-8462. DOI: 10.1002/adma.201602598
  • Zhao, X.; Zhao, Y.; Qu, G; Butrouna, K.; Diao, Y.; Graham, K.; Mei, J. “Complementary Semiconducting Polymer Blends: the Influence of Conjugation-Break Spacer Length in Matrix Polymers”. Macromolecules, 2016, 49, 2601–2608. DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.6b00050
  • Qu, G*; Kwok, J.*; Diao, Y. "Flow-Directed Crystallization for Printed Electronics." Account of Chemical Research (Invited Review). 2016. 49, 2756-2764, DOI: 10.1021/acs.accounts.6b00445.
  • Chung, H.; Diao, Y. "Polymorphism as an Emerging Design Strategy for High Performance Organic Electronics." Journal of Materials Chemistry C. 2016 4, 3915-3933. DOI: 10.1039/C5TC04390E (Invited article for the "Emerging Investigators" themed issue.)
  • Zhao, X.; Zhao, Y.; Qu, G; Butrouna, K.; Diao, Y.; Graham, K.; Mei, J. “Complementary Semiconducting Polymer Blends: the Influence of Conjugation-Break Spacer Length in Matrix Polymers”. Macromolecules, 2016, 49, 2601–2608. DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.6b00050
  • Zhao, Y.; Zhao, X.; Roders, M; Qu, G; Diao, Y.; Ayzner, A.; Mei, J. “Complementary Semiconducting Polymer Blends for Efficient Charge Transport”. Chemistry of Materials. 2015, 27, 7164-7170. DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.5b03349
  • Zhao, Y.; Zhao, X.; Di, C.; Diao, Y.; Mei, J. “Conjugation-Break Spacers in Semiconducting Polymers: Impact on Polymer Processability and Charge Transport Properties”. Macromolecules. 2015. 48, 2048-2053. DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.5b00194
  • Shah, U.V.; Amberg, C.; Diao, Y.; Yang, Z.; Heng, J.Y.Y “Heterogeneous nucleants for crystallogenesis and bioseparation”. Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering. 2015, 8:69–75. DOI:10.1016/j.coche.2015.03.002
  • Liu, Y.; Lee, H.; Wang, H.-W.; Santala, A.; Liu, F.; Diao, Y.; Briseno, A.*; Russell, T.P.* “NDI-based small molecule as promising non-fullerene acceptor for solution-processed organic photovoltaics”. Advanced Energy Materials. 2015. 5, 1500195. DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201500195


  • Diao. Y.; Tee. B.C-K.; Becerril, H.A.; Zhou, Y.; Mannsfeld, S.C.B.; Bao, Z.* “Coated Substrate Apparatus and Method”. U.S. Utility Application. Application No. 14263864, filed May 1st, 2014.
  • Diao. Y.; Tee. B.C-K.; Becerril, H.A.; Mannsfeld, S.C.B.; Bao, Z.* “Electronic Thin Film Coating”. U.S. Provisional Application. Serial No. 61/816,532, filed April 26, 2013
  • Diao, Y.; Helgeson, M. E.; Myerson, A. S.; Hatton, T. A.; Doyle, P. S.; Trout, B. L.* “Compositions, Methods, and Systems Relating to Controlled Nucleation of Small Organic Molecules”, U.S. Utility Application. Serial No. 13/216,018, filed August 23, 2011; publication number US-2012-0076860-A1, published March 29, 2012


  • Beckman Fellow, Center for Advanced Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2019)
  • Early Career Award, AVS Prairie Chapter (2019)
  • Emerging Investigator in Crystal Growth & Design, ACS Publications (2019)
  • Dean's Award for Excellence in Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2019)
  • NSF CAREER Award (2018)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in Chemistry (2018)
  • 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award (2018)
  • Chemistry of Materials Reviewer Excellence Award, ACS Publications (2018)
  • School of Chemical Sciences Teaching Award, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2017)
  • US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, National Academy of Engineering (2017)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent (Fall 2016, Spring 2018)
  • MIT Technology Review's Innovators Under 35 (MIT TR35 Award) (2016)
  • Named an Emerging Investigator by the Journal of Materials Chemistry (RSC) (2016)
  • Dow Chemical Company Faculty Scholar (2015)

Recent Courses Taught

  • CHBE 421 - Momentum and Heat Transfer
  • CHBE 494 (CHBE 594) - Assembly of Functional Materia
  • CHEM 397 - Individual Study Junior
  • CHEM 497 - Individual Study Senior