ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, in partnership with the ACS Division of Colloid & Surface Chemistry, is pleased to announce that Dr. Cheng Zhong, Tianjin University, is the winner of the 2020 ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces Young Investigator Award. Dr. Zhong will present a lecture at the 2021 ACS Fall National Meeting. I caught […]

I caught up with Dr. Zhong to find out more about his career to date.

How did you become interested in materials science?

Since I was a kid, I have been fascinated by the development of materials used by human beings. From the oldest Stone age to the Bronze Age and the Iron age, it seems that each progress of human civilization is accompanied by the development of materials of vital importance to our daily lives. Therefore, the belief to broaden human knowledge in materials and improve our life stayed in my heart, which finally led me to a research career in material science.

Can you give us a short overview of the research you are currently undertaking?

My research focuses on materials chemistry in batteries, particularly aqueous battery technology, including high–activity catalyst, semi solid-state electrolyte, high–energy anode, flexible design for zinc-based batteries, and new design for the aqueous battery, aiming at discovering next-generation electrochemical energy storage systems.

Have there been any particular highlights in your career to date that you are especially proud of?

I have a team of students with great dreams in scientific discovery, and we are brainstorming almost every day. The great and interesting ideas that come from brainstorm are definitely the highlights in my life, which makes me feel that I am not alone in my research career.

Is there anyone who has been a great role model, mentor, or inspiration to you?

Galileo Galilei has my great respect. Though he was not understood by his contemporaries, and even oppressed, he kept discovering science until death, which motivates me to always insist on the truth.

What do you think is the most interesting and/or important unsolved problem in your field?

I think the most important thing we should do, and we are doing right now, is to establish the relationship between macroscopic energy storage system performance and microscopic electrode and electrolyte design, which is significant for the large-scale application of battery technology.

Have you received any good advice that stuck with you?

Galileo Galilei once said: “In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual,” which reminds me to keep being humble to the science and find the truth.

Check out these articles from Cheng Zhong and his colleagues for more details about research their work:

Developing Indium-based Ternary Spinel Selenides for Efficient Solid Flexible Zn-Air Batteries and Water Splitting
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2020, 12, 7, 8115-8123
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.9b18304
Bimetallic Metal–Organic-Framework/Reduced Graphene Oxide Composites as Bifunctional Electrocatalysts for Rechargeable Zn–Air Batteries
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2019, 11, 17, 15662-15669
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.9b02859
Long-Shelf-Life Polymer Electrolyte Based on Tetraethylammonium Hydroxide for Flexible Zinc-Air Batteries
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2019, 11, 32, 28909-28917
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.9b09086
Controllable Synthesis of NixSe (0.5 ≤ x ≤ 1) Nanocrystals for Efficient Rechargeable Zinc–Air Batteries and Water Splitting
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2018, 10, 16, 13675-13684
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b01651
Clarifying the Controversial Catalytic Performance of Co(OH)2 and Co3O4 for Oxygen Reduction/Evolution Reactions toward Efficient Zn–Air Batteries
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2017, 9, 27, 22694-22703
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b05395
Size- and Density-Controllable Fabrication of the Platinum Nanoparticle/ITO Electrode by Pulse Potential Electrodeposition for Ammonia Oxidation
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2017, 9, 33, 27765-27772
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b08604
Morphology-Controllable Synthesis of Zn–Co-Mixed Sulfide Nanostructures on Carbon Fiber Paper Toward Efficient Rechargeable Zinc–Air Batteries and Water Electrolysis
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2017, 9, 14, 12574-12583
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.6b16602
Synthesis of Cubic-Shaped Pt Particles with (100) Preferential Orientation by a Quick, One-Step and Clean Electrochemical Method
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2017, 9, 22, 18856-18864
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b04267

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