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CCS Chemistry | Author Spotlight—武汉大学付磊教授
Author:  Date:2021-02-27  Clicks:

Prof. Fu received his B.S. in chemistry from Wuhan University in 2001. He obtained his Ph.D. from ICCAS in 2006. He worked as a Director's Postdoctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory (United States) from 2006–2007, and following his postdoctoral position, became an Associate Professor at Peking University. In 2012, he joined Wuhan University as a Full Professor. His current research interests include the controlled growth of 2D atomic - crystals and novel exploration for liquid metals.  

Q1: Who helped you the most as you pursued your research career?

Prof. Fu : I have been helped by and feel grateful to so many talented and creative individuals that I have worked with.  It is truly too difficult for me to pick only one or two.  I would just like to extend my thanks to all of my supervisors, colleagues and fellow students who have helped me throughout my career.

Q2: What are some difficult challenges you have faced during your research career? How did you overcome them?

Prof. Fu : When I started with the graphene growth study in 2008, strictly uniform monolayer graphene growth with high quality was the bottleneck of the field. Traditionally employed polycrystalline solid metal substrates will inevitably lead to inhomogeneous nucleation and growth of two-dimensional atomic crystals with uncontrollable thickness. Many researchers, including me, have tried a number of strategies to rationally design and improve the morphology and composition of the solid metal substrate. However, it is nearly impossible to obtain a solid metal surface without defects. I started to think it might be better to go the other way to break the limitations of the solid substrate. We choose to use a liquid metal substrate and discovered that the growth of graphene can follow the strictly self-limited growth behavior. Liquid metals owning unique properties of isotropy, surface layering, and bulk vacancy are demonstrated to be a wonderful growth substrate. Now, we have further achieved the precise synthesis of a series of 2D atomic crystals with uniform layer number based on the liquid metal system, ranging from the van der Walls layered materials and non-layered materials.

Q3: Who is(are) scientist(s) you most respect or admire? Why?

Prof. Fu : Deng Jiaxian is my most respected scientist. In a critical period when our country urgently needed to develop nuclear technology, he dared to undertake the important task and firmly devoted himself to fill the gaps in national nuclear science. I am inspired not only by his achievements in nuclear science and technology but also by his patriotism and high sense of responsibility. His pursuit and persistence in research deeply influence me.

Q4: What do you see as the biggest obstacles and most promising applications in your research area?

Prof. Fu : I think the atomically precise synthesis of 2D atomic crystals is still the bottleneck of the field. Nowadays, with the continuous improvement of device miniaturization and integration, the requirements for precise construction of nanostructures are increasing. Bottom-up, atomically-precise manufacturing has the potential to truly realize the atom-by-atom assembly to precisely customize 2D materials, including the oriented introduced lattice strain, doping, vacancy and defects, interlayer spacing, interlayer stack, monomer assembly, etc. Among the field hotspots, Moiré superlattices can induce a series of new phenomena, including Moiré phonons, Moiré excitons, topological phase transition, unconventional superconductivity, or Mott insulation. However, it is regretful that the precise stacking for superlattices in the synthesis process of materials is still blank. Once that can be conquered, huge breakthroughs can be brought in the technological innovation and evolution in the 2D atomic crystal-based electronics.

Q5: What advice do you have for younger students and researchers beginning their careers in chemistry, and in particular those interested in your field?

Prof. Fu : Always keeping enough curiosity is my basic advice. Curiosity is the direct driving force that promotes you to deeply dig out the underlying story of each phenomenon that seems normal or abnormal. Curiosity also can lead you to create or extend new research territory. However, scientific research cannot be always interesting and the process also contains many complicated or trivial experiments or data analyses. When you are ready to start your scientific journey, keep the scientific problem in your mind and conduct all the things according to how to achieve your goals. A very focused state of mind will greatly benefit you in solving problems with high efficiency. Also, don't blindly pursue hotspots. Establishing your own advantage can facilitate your achievement and innovation in scientific research.

Q6: Thank you for publishing your superb work in CCS Chemistry!  Could you provide a brief summary of your article and research direction in a few sentences?

Prof. Fu : Our work published in CCS Chemistry, for the first time, proposed liquid metal based defense layer to protect lithium anodes during long-term cycling by touch-ablation of dendrites. Once dendrites pierce into this layer, liquid metal will be activated to eliminate uneven deposited Li, stopping upward growth of dendrites. This work is a typical case of our group exploring the on-demand construction of functional materials based on liquid metal. Our group has been committed to using liquid metals as a new-type reactive medium to precisely synthesize the target materials for many years, which include but are not limited to 2D atomic crystals, superalloys, functional responsive materials, highly distributed catalysts, etc.

Learn more: Wenjie Wang, Xiaohui Zhu, and Lei Fu*(付磊). Touch Ablation of Lithium Dendrites via Liquid Metal for High-Rate and Long-Lived Batteries. CCS Chem. 2020, 2, 686–695.

Link: https://doi.org/10.31635/ccschem.020.202000182

*reprinted from CCS Chemistry


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