Professor Chen's Group develops and applies single-molecule approaches to interrogate and understand the function and dynamics of nanomaterials and biomacromolecules, with the goal of acquiring fundamental chemical knowledge for developing better strategies for energy conversion as well as for curing and preventing diseases.
- 2019 Joan Van der Waals Lecture, University of Leiden
- 2019 Brian Bent Lecture, Columbia University
- 2019 Chemical Pioneer Award
- 2019 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
- 2018 Bau Family Award in Inorganic Chemistry
- 2018 Sessler Distinguished Alumni Lecture, Stanford University
- 2017 Visiting Professor in the Debye Chair, Utrecht University
- 2017 Catalysis Forum Lecture, DICP, Chinese Academy of Sciences
- 2016 Excellence in Catalysis Award, Catalysis Society of Metro New York
- 2014 Early-Career Award in Experimental Physical Chemistry, ACS PHYS Division
- 2014 Coblentz Award
- 2013 Honorable Lecture, Applied Chemistry Lecture Series, CIAC, Chinese Academy of Sciences
- 2013 Lester S. Andrews Lecture, Mississippi State University
- 2011 CAPA Distinguished Junior Faculty Award
- 2010 Paul D. Saltman Memorial Award
- 2009 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow
- 2007 NSF Career Award
- 2005 Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award
Our research focuses on developing and applying single-molecule techniques to understand molecular processes of physical, bioinorganic, and biophysical in nature. Compared with traditional ensemble measurements, single-molecule approaches remove ensemble averaging, so that transient intermediates and heterogeneous subpopulations can be captured and characterized in both spatial and temporal dimensions and under realistic conditions. Current projects are divided into three main areas:
- Single-molecule catalysis. Here we study the catalytic, electrocatalytic, and photoelectrocatalytic properties of nanoscale materials and small-molecule catalysts at the single-turnover temporal resolution and nanometer spatial resolution. The goal here is to acquire chemical knowledge for developing better catalysts for chemical processing, fuel generation, and (solar) energy conversion.
- Single-molecule bioinorganic/biophysical chemistry. Here we study the dynamics and mechanisms of the protein machineries involved in cellular metal regulation, trafficking, and efflux both in vitro and in living cells, as well as of molecular processes related to protein folding in living cells. The goal here is to acquire chemical and biological knowledge for developing strategies to cure and prevent diseases.
- Method development. In pursuit of our scientific interests, we also develop new methods or extend/improve existing methods to enable new experiments, especially single-molecule/particle level measurements.
See complete publication list at Group Website.
- S. Baral,† C. Liu,†,* X. Mao, G. W. Coates, P. Chen* "Tuning single polymer growth via hydrogen bonding in conformational entanglements" ACS Cent. Sci. 2022, 8, 1116-1124.
- X. Mao, P. Chen* "Inter-facet junction effects on particulate photoelectrodes" Nature Mater. 2022, 21, 331-337.
- R. Ye,† M. Zhao,† X. Mao, Z. Wang, D. A. Garzón, H. Pu, Z. Zhao, P. Chen* "Nanoscale cooperative adsorption for materials control" Nature Commun. 2021, 12, 4287.
- S. Baral, C. Liu, U. K. Chakraborty, K. Kubo, X. Mao, G. W. Coates, P. Chen* "Single-chain polymerization dynamics and conformational mechanics of conjugated polymers" Chem 2021, 7, 2175-2189.
- B. Fu,† K. Sengupta,† L. A. Genova,† A. G. Santiago, W. Jung, L. Krzeminski, U. K. Chakraborty, W. Zhang, P. Chen* "Metal-induced sensor mobilization turns on affinity to activate regulator for metal detoxification in live bacteria" Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2020, 117, 13248-13255.
- L. A. Genova,† M. F. Roberts,† Y.-C. Wong, C. E. Harper, A. G. Santiago, B. Fu, A. Srivastava, W. Jung, L. M. Wang, L. Krzeminski, X. Mao, X. Sun, C.-Y. Hui, P. Chen,* C. J. Hernandez* "Mechanical stress compromises multicomponent efflux complexes in bacteria" Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2019, 116, 25462-25467.
- X. Mao, C. Liu, M. Hesari, N. Zou, P. Chen* "Super-resolution imaging of nonfluorescent reactions via competition" Nature Chem. 2019, 11, 687-694.
- N. Zou,† X. Zhou,† G. Chen,† N. M. Andoy, W. Jung, G. Liu, P. Chen* "Cooperative communication within and between single nanocatalysts" Nature Chem. 2018, 10, 607-614.
- G. Chen, N. Zou, B. Chen, J. B. Sambur, E. Choudhary, P. Chen* "Bimetallic effect of single nanocatalysts visualized by super-resolution catalysis imaging" ACS Cent. Sci. 2017, 3, 1189-1197.
- C. Liu,† K. Kubo,† E. Wang,† K.-S. Han, F. Yang, G. Chen, F. A. Escobedo,* G. W. Coates,* P. Chen* "Single polymer growth dynamics" Science 2017, 358, 353-355.
- A. G. Santiago,† T.-Y. Chen,† L. A. Genova, W. Jung, A. M. G. Thompson, M. M. McEvoy, P. Chen* “Adaptor protein mediates dynamic pump assembly for bacterial metal efflux” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2017, 114, 6694-6699.
- J. B. Sambur, T.-Y. Chen, E. Choudhary, G. Chen, E. J. Nissen, E. M. Thomas, N. Zou, P. Chen* "Sub-particle reaction and photocurrent mapping to optimize catalyst-modified photoanodes" Nature 2016, 530, 77-80.
In the news
- 3D semiconductor particles offer 2D properties
- Small molecule plays outsize role in controlling nanoparticle
- Magnetic tweezers reveal polymers’ hidden properties
- Researchers track how bacteria purge toxic metals
- Physical forces affect bacteria’s toxin resistance, study finds
- Unusual Metal Regulation—Single-Cell, Single-Molecule Levels
- Interdisciplinary Team Gets $2M grant for Bioenergy Conversion
- New imaging method aids in water decontamination
- Chemistry professor finalist for Chemical Pioneer Award
- A first: Cornell researchers quantify photocurrent loss in particle interface
- Nine faculty members elected AAAS fellows
- $10.75M grant aids next-gen fuel cell development
- Catalysis—Focusing in to see the action
- Understanding nanocatalysts' 'talk' could better inform design
- Inaugural Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows selected
- First-ever visualization of enhanced catalytic activity reported
- Magnetic tweezers reveal ‘hairballs’ in polymer growth
- Innovating with Single-Molecule Imaging
- E. coli bacteria's defense secret revealed