In 2017, Chemistry PhD candidate Hai Qian was awarded the prestigious Foresight Institute Distinguished Student Award, given to a graduate student who had made a significant contribution in the field of nanotechnology. The Foresight Institute is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to the mission of utilizing nanotechnology to solve world problems.
Born in Beijing, China, Hai Qian began his scientific career at Nankai University in Tianjin, China where he obtained both his Bachelors and Masters degrees. Hai’s interest in supramolecular chemistry started during his time at Nankai, where he worked on developing stimulus-responsive supramolecular self-assemblies based on macrocyclic molecules. To further his pursuit in this field of research, Hai joined Professor Ivan Aprahamian’s lab at Dartmouth in 2012. The Aprahamian lab is well known for developing and utilizing hydrazone-based molecular switches and machines. Hai has co-authored several papers that have been published in highly regarded peer-reviewed journals in the field.
Hai flourished in the Aprahamian lab, utilizing hydrazones—an easy-to-synthesize family of molecules that undergo a light-triggered structural rearrangement (“switching”) and has fluorescent properties— as the basis for developing novel molecular machinery. One of his recent projects sought to develop a new family of photochromically bistable hydrazone compounds that allowed Hai and his co-workers to readily toggle between fluorescent and non-fluorescent forms of the molecule. Hai hopes that this new family of hydrazone compounds can be utilized “to construct light-activated high-density storage devices, fluorescence re-writable platforms, and shape memorable devices”.
Hai is currently writing his thesis and applying for postdoctoral positions. He hopes to focus on materials or polymer chemistry to foster his future research interests and expand his knowledge of methodologies that can be used in controlling macroscopic objects. Congratulations, Hai Qian!