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Anyuan Cao
Ph.D., Professor
Department of Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology
College of Engineering, Peking University

Faculty in the News

Nature highlights COE Professor Anyuan Cao's Group’s research on nanotechnology

[September 19, 2011] Small body, big role

Education Background

2002  Ph.D.  Mechanical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

1996  B.S.   Mechanical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Professional Experience

Jan. 2009 ~ present   Professor, Department of Advanced Materials & Nanotechnology, Peking University, China

Aug. 2005  ~ Dec. 2008  Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Dec. 2006 ~Feb. 2007 & May 2006~June 2006  Visiting scholar, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University

2002 ~ July 2005   Post-doctoral researcher, Dept. of Materials Science & Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

1996 ~ 2001   Research Assistant, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tsinghua University, China

Research Areas And Interests

1.One-dimensional nanostructures (carbon nanotubes, semiconducting nanowires): synthesis, characterization, and properties.

2.Nano-electronic and optical devices.

3.Super-strong nanofibers and nanocomposites.

4.Energy and environmental applications of nanotechnology (solar cells, water purification)

5.Micro- and Nano-electromechanical systems and flexible devices.

Research Profile

The overall objective of the research in our group is to understand basics of nanostructures and nanodevices, and explore potential applications of nanotechnology.

One-dimensional nanostructures such as nanotubes and nanowires have excellent mechanical, electrical and optical properties. Their properties are strongly related to the crystalline structure, diameter, length and surface functionalities. Therefore, synthesis of nanomaterials with controlled morphology and properties is essential for making high performance nanodevices and integrated systems. Our group is working on growth of carbon nanotubes in individual long tubes, thin films, arrays and yarns, and semiconducting nanowires and hybrid structures.

Assembly of nanostructures is an important step toward applications. We develop self-assembly methods to align nanotubes/nanowires over large area with tailored distribution. The blown bubble film technique can assemble a wide range of 1D nanomaterials, and might be scaled up for low-cost industrial production using blown film extrusion techniques.

We pursue applications in energy and environmental areas. Nanostructure-incorporated photovoltaics have been developed such as CNT-Si, graphene-Si, CNT- Si nanowire, CNT-CdSe nanowire, and polymer solar cells with CNT film as transparent electrodes. Current challenge is to further improve device efficiency while reduce cost. CNT sponges consisting of a 3D interconnected nanotube network show great flexibility, and strong absorption of organic molecules and oil. They can remove nanoparticles and organic contaminants from water like a filter, promising applications in environmental cleanup and water purification.

Awards And Honors

  1. 2008 The USA NSF Career Award

  2. 2008 Honor of the College of Engineering at the University of Hawaii.

  3. 2006 Guinness World Records “The Smallest Nanotube Brushes”.

  4. 2006 China Awards for Science and Technology, Natural Science Z-108-2-04.

  5. 2005 China Education Administration Award, Natural Science - 006.

  6. 2004 China National One-hundred Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award.

Selected Publications

1.H. Li, X. Gui, L. Zhang, S. Wang, C. Ji, J. Wei, K. Wang, H. Zhu, D. Wu, A. Cao*. “Carbon nanotube sponge filters for trapping nanoparticles and dye molecules from water.” Chem. Commun. 46, 7966-7968 (2010).?IF = 5.504?
2.L. Zhang, Y. Jia, S. Wang, Z. Li, C. Ji, J. Wei, H. Zhu, K. Wang, D. Wu, E. Shi, Y. Fang, A. Cao*. “Carbon nanotube and CdSe nanobelt Schottky junction solar cells” Nano Letters 10, 3583-3589 (2010). ?IF = 9.991?
3.X. Xia, S. Wang, Y. Jia, Z. Bian, D. Wu, L. Zhang, A. Cao*, C. Huang. “Infrared-transparent polymer solar cells” J. Mater. Chem. 20, 8478-8482 (2010). (IF = 4.795)
4.X. Li, H. Zhu, K. Wang, A. Cao, J. Wei, C. Li, Y. Jia, Z. Li, X. Li, D. Wu. “Graphene-on-silicon Schottky junction solar cells” Advanced Materials 22, 2743-2748 (2010). (IF = 8.379)
5.Z. Li, Y. Jia, J. Wei, K. Wang, Q. Shu, X. Gui, H. Zhu, A. Cao*, D. Wu. “Large area, highly transparent carbon nanotube spiderwebs for energy harvesting” J. Mater. Chem. 20, 7236-7240 (2010). (IF = 4.795)
6.Q. Shu, J. Wei, K. Wang, S. Song, N. Guo, Y. Jia, Z. Li, Y. Xu, A. Cao, H. Zhu, D. Wu. “Efficient energy conversion of nanotube/nanowire-based solar cells” Chem. Commun. 46, 5533-5535 (2010). (IF = 5.504)
7.X. Li, Y. Jia, J. Wei, H. Zhu, K. Wang, D. Wu, A. Cao*. “Solar cells and light sensors based on nanoparticle-grafted carbon nanotube films” ACS Nano 4, 2142-2148 (2010). (IF = 7.493)
8.X. Gui, A. Cao*, J. Wei, H. Li, Y. Jia, Z. Li, L. Fan, K. Wang, H. Zhu, D. Wu. “Soft, highly conductive nanotube sponges and composites with controlled compressibility” ACS Nano 4, 2320-2326 (2010). (IF = 7.493)
9.Q. Wen, W. Qian, J. Nie, A. Cao, G. Ning, Y. Wang, L. Hu, Q. Zhang, J. Huang, F. Wei. “100 mm long, semiconducting triple-walled carbon nanotubes” Advanced Materials 22, 1867 (2010). (IF = 8.379)
10.X. Gui, J. Wei, K. Wang, A. Cao*, H. Zhu, Y. Jia, Q. Shu, D. Wu. “Carbon nanotube sponges” Advanced Materials 22, 617-621 (2010).
11.Q. Zhang, M. Zhao, Y. Liu, A. Cao*, W. Qian, Y. Lu, F. Wei. “Energy-absorbing hybrid composites based on alternate carbon nanotube and inorganic layers” Advanced Materials 21, 2876-2880 (2009).
12.Jia Y, Wei JQ, Wang KL, Cao A*, Shu Q, Gui X, Zhu Y, Zhuang D, Zhang G, Ma B, Wang L, Liu W, Wang Z, Luo J, Wu D. “Nanotube-silicon heterojunction solar cells” Advanced Materials 20, 4594-4598 (2008).
13.Liu Y, Qian W, Zhang Q, Cao A, Li Z, Zhou W, Ma Y, Wei F. “Hierarchical agglomerates of carbon nanotubes as high-pressure cushions” Nano Letters 8, 1323-1327 (2008).
14.Wei J, Jia Y, Shu Q, Gu Z, Wang K, Zhuang D, Zhang G, Wang Z, Luo J, Cao A, Wu D. “Double-walled carbon nanotube solar cells” Nano Letters  7, 2317-2321 (2007).
15.Yu G, Cao A*, Lieber CM. “Large area blown bubble films of aligned nanowires and carbon nanotubes” Nature Nanotechnology  2, 372-377 (2007).
16.Veedu V, Cao A, Li X, Ma K, Soldano C, Kar S, Ajayan PM, Ghasemi-Nejhad MN. “Multifunctional composites using reinforced laminae with carbon-nanotube forests” Nature Materials 5, 457-462 (2006).
17.Cao A, Dickrell PL, Sawyer WG, Ghasemi-Nejhad MN, Ajayan PM. “Super-compressible foam-like carbon nanotube films” Science 310, 1307-1310 (2005).
18.Cao A, Veedu V, Li X, Yao Z, Nejhad M, Ajayan PM. “Multifunctional brushes made from carbon nanotubes” Nature Materials 4, 540-545 (2005).