Dr Xiangbing Zeng

Senior Lecturer in Polymers and Liquid Crystals

Telephone: +44 (0) 114 222 5948
Fax: +44 (0) 114 222 5943
Email: x.zeng@sheffield.ac.uk

Address: Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Sir Robert Hadfield Building, Mappin Street, Sheffield, S1 3JD

Xiangbing Zeng was appointed as Lecturer in Polymers and Liquid Crystals in October 2003. Previously he was a research assistant in the Polymer, Liquid Crystal and Supramolecular Structures Group in this department. He obtained his PhD degree from the University of Sheffield in 2001.

Professional activities and recognition

  • Recipient of British Liquid Crystals Society Young Scientist Award, 2006.
  • Co-organized the BLCS annual meeting in Sheffield, 2007.
  • Plenary lectures and Invited talks (selected examples): International Liquid Crystal conference, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2004; Quasicrystals – The Silver Jubilee, Tel-Aviv, Israel, 2007; International Symposium on Non-Equilibrium Soft Matter, Kyoto, Japan, 2008 (also session chair); XMaS User meetings, Diamond Light Source 2009, Liverpool 2011, 2013, 13th Academic Days Timisoara, Romania, 2013.

Research interests

Dr Zengs' research areas can be divided into two broad directions: one on polymer physics, in particular the polymer crystallization process; the other on self-assembly, which covers systems such as supra-molecules, liquid crystals, more recently LC covered nanoparticles. On the polymer side, he is involved in an eight-institution international collaboration supported under NSF-EPSRC Pire scheme, for developing new materials from natural sources for applications in sustainable energy industry. On the self-assembly side, a research project on “Liquid quasicrystals and their approximants”, supported by Leverhulme trust, started in 2013. Another important aspect of his research on self–organized systems is to develop new nano-materials for tailored optical and electrical properties. For example, metamaterials by self-assembled gold nanoparticles have been fabricated, by covering them with liquid crystal forming molecules.

Dr Zeng has ample experience with scattering methods (X-ray and neutron) for characterization of nanoscale structures, which often involve the use of large scale facilities such as synchrotron radiation sources (e.g. Diamond, ESRF) and neutron sources (ISIS, ILL). Other microscopic (optical, SEM, TEM, AFM) and spectroscopic (FTIR, UV-Vis, Raman etc) methods are employed whenever necessary.

Research impact

The discovery of the first quasicrystalline structure at nanoscale, which has opened a new field of research published recently in several articles in Science and Nature. The original paper (Nature, 2004, doi:10.1038/nature02368) has been cited more than 200 times so far.

Research group

Polymers, Liquid Crystals and Supramolecular Structures Group

Selected recent publications

  • Induction of thermotropic bicontinuous cubic phases in liquid-crystalline ammonium and phosphonium salts, T. Ichikawa, M. Yoshio, A. Hamasaki, S. Taguchi, F. Liu, X. B. Zeng, G. Ungar, H. Ohno, and T. Kato, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 134(5), 2634-2643 (2012). doi:10.1021/ja209010m
  • Simple cubic packing of gold nanoparticles through rational design of their dendrimeric corona, K. Kanie, M. Matsubara, X. B. Zeng, F. Liu, G. Ungar, H. Nakamura and A. Muramatsu, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 134(2), 808-811 (2012). doi:10.1021/ja2095816
  • One-Step Synthesis and Self-Assembly of Metal Oxide Nanoparticles into 3D Superlattices, A. Pucci, M.-G. Willinger, F. Liu, X. B. Zeng, V. Rebuttini, G. Clavel, X. Bai, G. Ungar and N. Pinna, ACS NANO, 6(5), 4382-4391 (2012). doi:10.1021/nn3010735
  • Complex Multicolour Tilings and Critical Phenomena in Tetraphilic Liquid Crystals, X. B. Zeng, R. Kieffer, B. Glettner, F. Liu, K. Pelz, M. Prehm, U. Baumeister, H. Hahn, H. Lang, G. A. Gehring, C. H. M. Weber, J. K. Hobbs, C. Tschierske and G. Ungar, Science, 331, 1302-1306 (2011). doi:10.1126/science.1193052
  • Deconstruction as a Strategy for the Design of Libraries of Self-Assembling Dendrons, B. M. Rosen, M. Peterca, C. Huang, X. B. Zeng, G. Ungar and V. Percec, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 49, 7002-7005 (2010). doi:10.1002/anie.201002514
  • 3-D Ordered Gold Strings by Coating Nanoparticles with Mesogens, X. B. Zeng, F. Liu, A. G. Fowler, G. Ungar, L. Cseh, G. H. Mehl and J. E. Macdonald, Adv. Mater., 21, 1746-1750 (2009). doi:10.1002/adma.200803403
  • Liquid crystalline networks composed of pentagonal, square, and triangular cylinders. B. Chen, X. B. Zeng, U. Baumeister, G. Ungar, and C. Tschierske, Science, 307(5706), 96-99 (2005). doi:10.1126/science.1105612
  • Supramolecular dendritic liquid quasicrystals, X. B. Zeng, G. Ungar, Y. Liu, V. Percec, A. E. Dulcey, and J. K. Hobbs, Nature, 428(6979), 157-160 (2004). doi:10.1038/nature02368
  • Crystal-amorphous polymer interface studied by neutron and x-ray scattering on labeled binary ultralong alkanes, X. B. Zeng, G. Ungar, S. J. Spells, G. M. Brooke, C. Farren, and A. Harden, Phys. Rev. Lett., 90(15), 155508 (2003). doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.90.155508
  • Novel layered superstructures in mixed ultralong n-alkanes, X. B. Zeng and G. Ungar, Phys. Rev. Lett., 86(21), 4875-4878 (2001). doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.86.4875