Siu-Wai Chan


Materials Science and Engineering
1136 S.W. Mudd
Mail Code: 4701
New York, NY 10027
Phone: 1-212-854-8519


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Research Specialty

Metal oxides, crystal-size-related structural changes and properties in nanoparticles, thin films, grain boundaries and interfaces as well as their corresponding electrical properties.

Research Interests

Over the last decade, we have been making monodispersed nano-crystals of oxides and studying their structure and stoichiometry changes as a function of crystal-size. Today we are studying their thermal expansion and resistance to compression (bulk modulus) as a function of crystal-size. The surface of a nano-crystal with its gaseous environment is a special type of interface, probable the simplest and most easily controlled at least on the gaseous side. In a flat-form, these “interfaces”, which are surfaces, are accessible to surface probes such as scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and scanning tunneling spectroscopy (STS) and are providing a way to investigate them. When nano-oxide crystals are modified by a dispersed surface decoration of metal nanoparticles or by direct doping of metal ions into the oxide lattice, many possibilities arise, particularly in catalysis. Earlier, oxide-supports were usually considered inert with the sole purpose of supporting the dispersed metal nanoparticles to avoid their coarsening during heat-exposure. Later, it was discovered that some oxide supports such as ceria, zirconia and their binary oxide alloys can play an important role in the redox reactions by supplying oxygen in one cycle and absorbing excess oxygen in another. The nano-oxides’ lattice oxygen is available for oxidation and their oxygen vacancies are ready to take up oxygen for reduction.

Nano-crystals form many grain boundaries and numerous interfaces when they are consolidated in a bulk form such as pellets or prepared in thin films. Their transport properties are drastically different from bulk forms with micron-size grains. Resistance at interfaces and grain boundaries to ionic transport from Debye-layer- potential barriers disappears when the crystal-sizes are comparable to the Debye-layer thickness. Our earlier work on impedance spectroscopy and microstructure of yttria-doped ceria thin films demonstrates this. This approach to study grain boundaries is different from our bi-crystal approach where only one boundary is being studied at one time. This assembly approach is appropriate for fine-grain oxides and actually more suitable because the space-charge-layers in these fast-ionic oxides render the local atomic structure somewhat less important.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sc. D. (Materials Science and Metallurgy) 1985

Columbia University
B. S. (Materials Science and Metallurgy) 1980


  • Avanessians Diversity Award (2012)
  • American Ceramic Society Fellow (2008)
  • Advance Fellow: National Science Foundation/Univ. of Washington (2004)
  • Tan Chin Tuan Fellow (2004)
  • Guggenheim Fellow (2003)
  • IBM Faculty Award (1998)
  • Outstanding Woman Scientist Award (1997)
  • Presidential Faculty Fellow from the White House and the National Science Foundation (1993)
  • Very Important Parent: Luther Lee Emerson School in Demarest, NJ (1992)
  • DuPont Faculty Award (1991, 1992)
  • Sigma Xi (1982)
  • Tau Beta Pi (1979)
  • Francis B. F. Rhodes Prize (1980)

Professional Activities

  • Executive Committee Member, Materials Research Science & Engineering Centers (MRSEC) 1999-2009
  • Chair, Electronics Division, American Ceramic Society 2006-2007
  • Chair, Symposium on Nanostructural Materials at 2001 American Ceramic
  • Chair, Symposia on High Temperature Superconductors at 1998 & 91 MRS Fall Meetings
  • Chair for various sessions at different MRS Meetings
  • Organizer of Prof. Nowick Symposium 1994
  • President, 1994 & Secretary 1993 of the Materials Science Club
  • Panelist for National Science Foundation's program on Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers
  • Reviewer on Materials Science Projects for NSF and Hong Kong University Research Council
  • Reviewer for Philosophical Mag., Appl. Phys. Lett., J. App. Phys. and J. Mat. Res.

Faculty Advisor for Student Activities

Outreach Effort

Professional Affiliations

  • American Ceramic Society
  • Materials Research Society
  • The Minerals, Metals, Materials Society (TMS)
  • American Physical Society
  • Society of Women Engineers
  • International Committee of Diffraction Data

Recent Publications

For full publications list see Papers 1 / Papers 2

3D-Printing Crystallographic Unit Cells for Learning Materials Science and Engineering, Philip P. Rodenbough, William B. Vanti, and Siu-Wai Chan, Journal of Chemical Education (2015)

Effect of Nano Ceria Support and Crystallite size on the stability of Nano Cu2O against Reduction, Junhua Song, Philip P. Rodenbough, Wenqian Xu, Sanjaya D. Senanayake, and Siu-Wai. Chan, J. of Physical Chem. C, 119, pp. 17667-17672  (2015).

Nano-crystals of Cerium-Hafnium Binary Oxide Nanoparticles: Their Size-Dependent Structure, Joan M. Raitano, Syed Khalidb, Nebojsa Marinkovicb, and Siu-Wai Chan,  Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 644 pp.996-1002 (2015).

Size-Dependent Crystal Properties of Nanocuprite Cu2O,  Junhua Song, Philip P. Rodenbough, Lihua Zhang, and Siu-Wai Chan. Submitted to International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology 13 pp. 389-394 (2015).

Size dependent compressibility of nano-ceria: Minimum near 33 nm, Rodenbough, Philip P.; Song, Junhua; Walker, David; Clark, Simon M.; Kalkan, Bora and Chan, Siu-Wai, Applied Physics Letters, 106, 163101 (2015)

Reduction of Nano-Cu2O: Crystallite Size Dependent and the Effect of Nano-Ceria Support, Junhua Song, Philip P. Rodenbough, Wenqian Xu, Sanjaya D. Senanayake, and Siu-Wai Chan The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 119 (31), 17667-17672 (2015)

Effect of Ni Doping on the catalytic properties of nanstructured Peony-like CeO2, Cunni Xian, Shaofei Wang, Chunwen Sun, Hong Li, Siu-Wai Chan and Liquan Chen, Chinese Journal of Catalysis, 34, Issue 2 pp 305-312, (2012)

Accessing the Genomic Effects of Naked Nanoceria in Murine Neuronal Cells
, Tin-Lap Lee , Joan M. Raitano, Owen M Rennert, Siu-Wai Chan , and Wai-Yee Chan, available online since Sept 2011 Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine of Elsevier 8 (5) pp.599-608 (2012).

Structure Sensitivity of the Low-temperature Water-Gas Shift Reaction on Cu-CeO2 Catalysts, Rui Si, Joan Raitano, Lihua Zhang, Siu-Wai Chan, Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos, Catalysis Today, 180, pp 68-80 (2012)

Aqueous Co-Precipitation of Pd-doped Cerium Oxide Nanoparticles:  Chemistry, Structure, and Particle Growth, Hongying Liang, Joan M. Raitano, Guanghui He, Austin K. Akey, Irving P. Herman, Lihua Zhang, Syed Khalid, and Siu-Wai Chan,  Journal of Materials Science, 47, pp.299-307 (2012) online Aug. 2 (2011)

Controlled Synthesis of Co3O4 Nanopolyhedrons and Nanosheets at Low Temperature, Hongying Liang, Joan Marie Raitano,Lihau Zhang and Siu-Wai Chan, Chemical Communications 48, 7569-7571 (2009)

Charging and Chemical Reactivity of Gold Nanoparticles and Adatoms on the (111) Surface of Single Crystal Magnetite: A Scanning Tunneling Microscopy/Spectroscopy Study, Kwang Taeg Rim, Daejin Eom, Li Liu, Elena Stolyarova, Joan Marie Raitano, Siu-Wai Chan, Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos, George W. Flynn, Journal of Physical Chemistry C 113, 10198-10205 (2009)

In situ Ultra-small-angle X-ray Scattering Study of Solution-mediated Formation and Growth of Nanocrystalline Ceria, A.J. Allen, V.A. Hackley, P.R. Jemian, J. Ilavsky, J. Raitano and S.-W. Chan, J. of Applied Crystallography, 41 (5), 918-929 (2008)

Cubic Phase Stabilization in Nanoparticles of Hafnia-Zirconia Oxides: Particle-size and Annealing Environment Effects, Chih-Hsin Lu, Joan Raitano, Syed Khalid, Lihua Zhang, and Siu-Wai Chan, J. of Appl. Physics, 103, pp.124303-124307 (2008)

Substrate surfaces with CeO2 nanoparticles: An effective method for improving flux pinning in YBa2Cu3O7-d films, T. Aytug, M. Paranthaman, A.A. Gapud, S. Kang, M. Varela, P.M. Martin, J.M. Raitano, S.-W. Chan, J.R. Thompson and D.K. Christen, IEEE Trans. on Appl. Supercond. 17, 3720 (2007)

Synthesis and Redox Behavior of Nanocrystalline Hausmannite, Jenna Pike, Jonathan Hanson, Lihau Zhang and Siu-Wai Chan, Chemistry of Materials, 19 pp. 5609-5616 (2007)

Microstructure Design by Twinning in High Temperature Superconductor YBa2Cu3O7-d for Enhanced Jc at High Magnetic Field, V.S. Boyko and Siu-Wai Chan, Physica C, 466 pp.56-60 (2007)

In-situ Study of the Crystallization Transition from Amorphous to Cubic Zirconium Oxide: Rietveld and Reversed Monte Carlo Analyses, Feng Zhang, Peter.J. Chupas, Siu Lun Alan Lui, Jonathan C. Hanson, Wolfgang, A. Caliebe Peter L. Lee, and Siu-Wai Chan, Chemistry of Materials, 19, pp.3118-3126 (2007)

Cerium and Yttrium Oxide Nanoparticles Are Neuroprotective, David R. Schubert, Richard Dargusch, Joan Raitano, and Siu-Wai Chan, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 342 pp 86-91 (2006).

Low Temperature Synthesis of ZnO nanoparticles, Po-Yi Wu, Jenna Pike, Feng Zhang, and Siu-Wai Chan, International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology, 3, pp.272-278 (2006).



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