Prof. Chen received her Ph.D. degree from the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (TIPC, CAS) in 2006 under the supervision of Prof. Chen-Ho Tung and Prof. Li-Zhu Wu. She then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Georgetown University (USA) from 2007 to 2009 in the group of Prof. Richard G. Weiss. She is currently a specially-appointed Professor at TIPC, CAS. Her current research interests are focused on photochemistry and photophysics in supramolecular systems and optical sensors.mail.sina.com.cn
Q1: Who helped you the most as you pursued your research career?
Prof.Chenmail.sina.com.cn:My Ph.D. supervisors, Prof. Chen-Ho Tung and Prof. Li-Zhu Wu, have influenced and supported my research career tremendously. They unlocked the opportunity for me to explore Supramolecular Photochemistry. They have not only guided me in developing solid science and critical scientific thinking, but also motivated me to be a sincere and fully committed scientist. My postdoctoral mentor, Prof. Richard G. Weiss, also gave me great support in my research. I frequently read the books in photochemistry he gave to me and get inspiration from him. I am also grateful for those talented seniors and colleagues, who gave me support in my research career.
Q2: What are some difficult challenges you have faced during your research career? How did you overcome them?
Prof.Chenmail.sina.com.cn:During my research career, the difficult challenges are a combination of in-depth mechanistic studies and exploration of potential applications. This requires exhaustive photophysical characterizations, theoretical calculation, and biological investigations. Frequent discussions with experts in the field are always beneficial to overcome the difficulties, and close collaborations with scientists in other fields are an efficient way to approach interdisciplinary knowledge quickly.
Q3: Who is(are) scientist(s) you most respect or admire? Why?
Prof.Chenmail.sina.com.cn:I respect scientists who are sincerely and persistently dedicated to their research. I believe any challenges can be overcome with persistency.
Q4: What do you see as the biggest obstacles and most promising applications in your research area?
Prof.Chenmail.sina.com.cn:My research is focused on understanding and modulating the photophysical processes in supramolecular assemblies. These are fundamental for mimicking photosynthesis in nature. However, it is challenging to control the production and deactivation of excited-states processes precisely due to their short-lived and susceptible character. One of the most promising applications is the development of simple organic chromophore assemblies for early diagnosis of cancer and photodynamic cancer treatment.
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.Chenmail.sina.com.cn:My advice for young researchers is being persistent and patient. Continuous endeavors can enable in-depth insights, inspire new ideas, and lead to breakthroughs in research fields. It is also very important to spend more time with students in the lab, to train them with skills and scientific thinking. Students can be more surprising than you expect. This is also what my supervisors did when I was a student.
Q6: Thank you for publishing your superb work in CCS Chemistry! Could you provide a brief summary of your article and current research direction in a few sentences?
Prof.Chenmail.sina.com.cn:It is my honor to publish our work in the flagship journal of the Chinese Chemical Society. Currently, working together with Prof. Li-Zhu Wu and Prof. Chen-Ho Tung, my work focuses on clarifying the important photophysical and photochemical processes in supramolecular assemblies. Particularly, we have tremendous interest in modulating the triplet excited states of organic assemblies, which will provide fundamental knowledge and new strategies for their application in the biomedical field. In this work, through delicate molecule and material designs, we overcome the contradictory difficulties in restricting nonradiative decay of organic triplet excited states by tight packing and allowing oxygen diffusion for sensing. Ultralong phosphorescence at room temperature and sensitive quantitative oxygen detection from pure organic crystals and in polymers were achieved simultaneously. This work provides a new facile strategy to realize hypoxia detection, which is an important parameter connected with many diseases.
Learnmail.sina.com.cnmore：Wu-Jie Guo, Yu-Zhe Chen*(陈玉哲), Chen-Ho Tung & Li-Zhu Wu*（吴骊珠）.Ultralong Room-Temperature Phosphorescence of Silicon-Based Pure Organic Crystal for Oxygen Sensing.CCS Chem. 2022, 4, 1007-1015. Link:https://doi.org/10.31635/ccschem.021.202100932.
CCS Chemistry Author Spotlight——南方科技大学 郑智平教授mail.sina.com.cn
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