Fred Kavli Distinguished Lectureship in Nanoscience

Younan Xia, Kavli Lectureship

Younan Xia

Monday, April 1
7:00-8:00 p.m.
Marriott Marquis, Golden Gate Level, Salon AB

Younan Xia, Georgia Institute of Technology (view biography)

Talk Presentation: Colloidal Metal Nanocrystals—Shape Control, Symmetry Breaking and Niche Applications (view abstract) 



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This event was recorded and is available at MRS OnDemand. Additional videos can also be seen here.


In this interview from MRS TV at the 2013 MRS Spring Meeting, Dr. Younan Xia talks about receiving the Fred Kavli Distinguished Lectureship in Nanoscience.

About the Fred Kavli Distinguished Lectureship in Nanoscience

The Kavli Foundation supports scientific research, honors scientific achievement and promotes public understanding of scientists and their work. Its particular focuses are astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience. For more information about the foundation, visit their website at

Younan Xia Biography

Younan Xia is the Brock Family Chair and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Nanomedicine at Georgia Institute of Technology. His research interests include the development of new methodologies for controlling the synthesis of nanostructured materials and exploration of their applications in biomedical research and catalysis. He received his BS degree in chemical physics from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1987, and a PhD in physical chemistry from Harvard University (with Professor George M. Whitesides) in 1996. Xia has received a number of awards, including the ACS National Award in the Chemistry of Materials (2013); MRS Fellow (2009); NIH Director's Pioneer Award (2006); ACS Leo Hendrik Baekeland Award (2005); Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar (2002); David and Lucile Packard Fellow in Science and Engineering (2000); NSF CAREER Award (2000); Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (2000); ACS Victor K. LaMer Award (1999); and Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award (1997). He has co-authored more than 500 publications in peer-reviewed journals, together with an h-index of 129. He has been named a Top 10 Chemist and Materials Scientist based on the number of citations per paper. He has served as an associate editor of Nano Letters since 2002.

Colloidal Metal Nanocrystals—Shape Control, Symmetry Breaking and Niche Applications

Controlling the shape of colloidal nanocrystals may initially seem like a scientific curiosity, but its implication goes far beyond aesthetic appeal. For nanocrystals made of noble metals, shape not only determines their chemical, plasmonic, and catalytic properties but also their relevance for electronic and photonic applications. Although the first synthesis of colloidal nanocrystals can be traced back to the groundbreaking work on gold colloids by Michael Faraday in 1856, only within the last decade have methods became available for producing colloidal nanocrystals in the quality, quantity, and reproducibility needed for a systematic study of their properties as a function of size, shape and structure, and for exploration of their remarkable applications. This talk will briefly discuss some of these developments, with a focus on shape-controlled synthesis of metal nanocrystals via seed-mediated growth and symmetry breaking induced by kinetic control. We have been working diligently to understand the nucleation and growth mechanisms leading to the formation of nanocrystals with specific shapes and structures. For example, we have discovered that the shape of metal nanocrystals is dictated by the crystallinity and structure of the seeds, which are, in turn, controlled by factors such as reduction kinetics, oxidative etching and surface capping. The success of these syntheses has enabled us to tailor the properties of noble-metal nanocrystals for a range of applications in photonics, sensing, imaging, biomedicine, catalysis and fuel cell technology.

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