Liu leads a research group focused on nanotechnologies and biomaterials for biomedical applications within the Chemical Engineering Department at UIC. The liu group preciously applied X-ray scattering to understand the self-assembly kinetics of the nanoparticles. Using X-ray reflectivity and grazing incidence X-ray diffraction to study the interfacial behavior of the molecules is a recent addition to her technique portfolio, through a few visits to ChemMatCARS as a general user. “We previously used small-angle X-ray scattering integrated with microfluidic devices to study the self-assembly kinetics of polymeric nanoparticles encapsulating hydrophobic drug molecules. Then by chance I had the opportunity to work on interfaces at the NSF’s ChemMatCARS and it really opens new opportunities for us,” Liu said. She brings her new X-ray experience into an elective on nanotechnologies for senior undergraduate and junior graduate students.
For everyone in her lab, from undergrads to herself as group leader, a key expectation is interdisciplinary openness. “The projects we’re doing involve multi-disciplines. We are keen to learn and apply the new advanced technologies toward our studies and hope to expand the boundaries of the technology if possible.”
* The interview has been edited for clarity and conciseness.