Xi Chen

Assistant Professor

Main Affiliation

Chemical Engineering


CUNY Advanced Research Science Center (ASRC)


ASRC G.332



Xi Chen


Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
Postdoctoral Fellow, Biological Sciences, 2016

Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ, USA
Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, 2012

Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
M.S., Precision Instrumentes in Mechanical Engineering, 2007
B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2005

Research Interests

Professor Chen develops the next generation of sensors, actuators, energy conversion and storage devices by using novel nanostructured and bio-inspired functional materials. His recent work on water-responsive materials and evaporation-driven engines opens up a new field in energy harvesting and provides opportunities towards solving current challenges in sustainable energy, energy storage, clean water, robotics, and medical technologies. 

Selected Publications

Roxana Piotrowska, Travis Hesketh, Haozhen Wang, Alan R. G. Martin, Deborah Bowering, Chunqiu Zhang, Chunhua T. Hu, Scott A. McPhee, Tong Wang, Yaewon Park, Pulkit Singla, Thomas McGlone, Alastair Florence, Tell Tuttle, Rein V. Ulijn, and Xi Chen. Mechanistic insights of evaporation-induced actuation in supramolecular crystals. Nature Materials 20, 403-409 (2021). (Front cover)

Yaewon Park*, Yeojin Jung*, Tai‐De Li, Jianpei Lao, Raymond S. Tu, and Xi Chen, β‐Sheet nanocrystals dictate water responsiveness of Bombyx Mori silk, Macromolecular Rapid Communications 41, 1900612 (2020). (Back cover)

Yaewon Park and Xi Chen, Water-responsive materials for sustainable energy applications, Journal of Materials Chemistry A 8, 15227-15244 (2020). (Back cover)

Ahmet-Hamdi Cavusoglu, Xi Chen, Pierre Gentine, and Ozgur Sahin, Potential for natural evaporation as a reliable renewable energy resource, Nature Communications 8, 617 (2017). (Major media coverage: Discover, Gizmodo, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and Popular Science.)

Xi Chen, Davis Goodnight, Zhenghan Gao, Ahmet-Hamdi Cavusoglu , Nina Sabharwal, Michael Delay, Adam Driks, and Ozgur Sahin, Scaling up nanoscale water-driven energy conversion into evaporation-driven engines and generators, Nature Communications 6, 7346 (2015). (Highlighted in Nature and Science NOW. Major media coverage: NBC News, PBS, BBC, The New York Times‎, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Scientific American, and Discover Magazine.)

Xi Chen, L Mahadevan, Adam Driks and Ozgur Sahin, Bacillus spores as building blocks for stimuli-responsive materials and nanogenerators, Nature Nanotechnology 9, 137-141 (2014). (Highlighted in Science. Major media coverage: The Wall Street Journal and Discovery News.)

Xi Chen, Stephen Guo, Jinwei Li, Guitao Zhang, Ming Lu and Yong Shi, Flexible piezoelectric nanofiber composite membranes as high performance acoustic emission sensors, Sensors and Actuators A 199, 372-378 (2013).

Xi Chen, Anton Li, Nan Yao, and Yong Shi, Adjustable stiffness of individual piezoelectric nanofibers by electron beam polarization, Applied Physics Letters 99, 193102 (2011).

Xi Chen, Jinwei Li, Guitao Zhang, and Yong Shi, PZT nano active fiber composites for acoustic emission detection, Advanced Materials 23, 3965–3969 (2011). (Frontispiece)

Xi Chen, Shiyou Xu, Nan Yao, and Yong Shi, 1.6 Volt Nanogenerator for mechanical energy harvesting using PZT nanofibers, Nano Letters 10, 2133-2137 (2010).

Xi Chen, Shiyou Xu, Nan Yao, Weihe Xu, and Yong Shi, Potential measurement from a single lead zirconate titanate nanofiber using a nanomanipulator, Applied Physics Letters 94, 253113 (2009).