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Chen Liao

Chemistry Alumni

I obtained a PhD. degree in organic chemistry at the University of Wyoming in 2008 under the supervision of Professor Edward Clennan.  I started my first post-doctoral appointment at the University of Florida (2008-2010) in Dr Kirk Schanze’s group. After that, I joined the Nanomaterials group headed by Dr Sheng Dai at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and am currently holding this position (2010-current). Starting as a Physical Organic Chemist, my research has been interdisciplinary and covers area such as organic synthesis, kinetics and mechanisms, materials, and electrochemistry. In Dr Kirk Schanze’s group, I have been introduced to the broad area of two-photon absorption, organic photovoltaic and organic light-emitting diode. My research involves developments of iridium and platinum complexes with π-conjugated molecule, which can serve as two-photon absorption materials, as well as triplet sensitizers for singlet oxygen and conjugated dyad for charge transfer studies. At ORNL, I began the research of electrolyte materials in lithium-ion batteries (LIB). Because of the key role of LIB in energy storage systems and future renewable energy alternative, the improvement of the energy density and power density of LIB is essential. My focus of the study includes synthesis of novel organic lithium salts, liquid and polymer electrolytes for rechargeable lithium ion batteries and capacitors, and the electrochemical measurements and cell performance evaluation of Li ion batteries and capacitors. I enjoyed my work and every once in a while I would get some “surprise results”, and that is the fun part of research.


I enjoyed my study at the University of Wyoming from 2004 to 2008. I believe the experience gives me exceptional preparation for the future of my career. The chemistry department provides access to start-of-art instruments, and as a graduate student I was able to get hands-on experience on many of them. The professors in Organic Chemistry are very knowledgeable and provide excellent education in both synthetic and physical organic chemistry. Because of the small size of the school and the chemistry department, I interacted closely with my advisor and committees and still keep in touch with them. Laramie is also known for its outdoor adventures. I enjoyed the cool summer and hiking and picnicking in the Snowy Range Mountains. I also enjoyed the splendid view of the Lake Marie. One more thing to mention is that the Uwyo campus is unique and beautiful with the chemistry building as one of the prettiest on Campus.


Chen Liao


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