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Home: Welcome

The Junhong Chen Research Group is actively recruiting graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and undergraduates to join us in researching nanosensors, nanomaterial-based energy devices, and nanomanufacturing of electronic devices through printing. If you are interested, please contact us via email at

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The Junhong Chen Research Group uses multidisciplinary experiments combined with first-principles calculations to design and discover novel nanomaterials for engineering various sensing and energy devices with superior performance, by taking advantage of unique electronic charge separation and transfer at material interfaces. The sensors address the current unmet need for low-cost, real-time, sensitive and selective detection of a wide range of analytes attractive for innovation at nexus of food-energy-water systems (INFEWS), smart and connected health (SCH), smart and connected communities (SCC), Internet of Things (IoT), and next-generation smart and resilient infrastructures, through interfacing with smart phones and terminals loaded with machine-learning, big-data analytics. The energy devices address the current need for cost-effective, high-performance production and storage of renewable energy.

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Home: About


Home: Research

Theme 1


Molecular Engineering of Next-generation Nanomaterials

Theme 3


Cost-effective Energy Devices for Renewable Energy Production and Storage

Theme 5


Nano-enabled Water and Air Pollution Control

Theme 2


Real-time Sensors for ions, chemical, and biological molecules.

Theme 4


Scalable Nanomanufacturing of Electronic Devices and Systems through Inkjet Printing

Collaborative Projects


Joint research projects in AI-enabled molecular engineering, advanced electronics from bio-based compound printing, and more 

Home: News

Our PFAS sensor project is reported by Chemical & Engineering News (May 2023) 

Prof. Chen serves as a member of the Water Security Thematic Task Force for NSF-funded Engineering Research VIsioning Alliance (ERVA) (February 2023)

Prof. Chen co-organizes the 2022 NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Grantees Conference (December 2022)

Prof. Chen, in collaboration with Jonathan Ozik, has received a Predictive Intelligence for Pandemic Prevention(PIPP) Phase I grant from NSF(October 2022)

Prof. Chen is interviewed by Guardian on the lead contamination in Chicago's drinking water(September 2022)

Our research on water sensing is reported by PME(April 2022)

Prof. Chen gives keynote talk on 2021 NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Grantees Conference (December 2021)

"Combating Our Global Water Crisis Using AI" -- UChicago Big Brains podcast with Prof. Chen

(October 2021)

Prof. Chen receives funding from CDAC Discovery Challenge program for AI-assisted molecular engineering to detect and remove water contaminants

 (April 2021)

Prof. Chen discusses efficacy of indoor air filtration systems in reducing the spread of the coronavirus in Fox32 Chicago

(January 2021)

Prof. Chen is listed as one of the 2020 highly cited researchers in the world!

(November 2020)

Prof. Chen receives a major future manufacturing grant from NSF in collaboration with ten other researchers (October 2020)

Prof. Chen is named the Crown Family Professor of Molecular Engineering

(July 2020)

Prof. Chen is listed as one of the 2019 highly cited researchers in the world!

(November 2019)

Prof. Chen is listed as one of the 2017 highly cited researchers in the world! (November 2017)


Our water treatment project is reported by University of Chicago (April 2023)

Prof. Chen and Dean Tirrell have edited two book volumes as part of The World Scientific Reference of Water Science (January 2023)

Prof. Chen participates in Congressional Briefing on Advanced Manufacturing (December 2022)

Our collaborative work with Prof. Shiyu Zhou of UW-Madison on printable sensors and data science is featured by ISE magazine (October 2022)

Our water sensor research is reported by PME(June 2022)

Former group member Mason Rand receives DOE award for nuclear startup (April 2022)

Prof. Chen is listed as one of the 2021 highly cited researchers in the world! (November 2021)

Prof. Chen receives a DOE grant for AI-assisted recovery for energy, nutrients and fresh water from municipal wastewater

(May 2021)

Prof. Chen elaborates the Water + AI strategy to address the Water Security Grand Challenge for freshwater supply

(March 2021)

Q&A with Prof. Chen: Argonne’s lead water strategist addresses questions on managing our precious water resources

(December 2020)

Prof. Chen receives an NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) grant in collaboration with researchers at UChicago and Argonne (October 2020)

Prof. Chen’s collaborative work on smart window is featured by several news outlets (July 2020)

Prof. Chen’s collaborative work on COVID-19 sensor is featured by several news outlets (June 2020)

Prof. Chen is listed as one of the 2018 highly cited researchers in the world!

(November 2018)



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