Z. John Zhang
B.S., Fudan University, 1984; Ph. D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1993; Postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University
The research interests of Dr. Zhang and his group focus on understanding the fundamental relationships between the chemical composition/crystal structure and the properties of novel materials. A multidisciplinary approach including inorganic/physical chemistry and solid-state physics is employed to pursue the synthesis and physical property studies of nanostructured materials. The applications of these materials in advanced technologies and in biomedical science are also actively explored.
The current research focus of Zhang's group is on the synthesis and characterization of magnetic metal oxide nanoparticles with an emphasis on chemically controlling magnetic properties. The specific goal is to understand, at the atomic level, the physical properties of magnetic solids through the systematic studies of chemical composition, structure, and coordination chemistry. The fundamental issue in magnetic materials studies is the effect of magnetic couplings that include the electron spin-spin, electron spin-orbital, and interparticle magnetic moment couplings. The relationships between the macroscopic magnetic properties and the microscopic magnetic couplings are not yet well understood. Zhang's group is examining the contribution of various magnetic couplings to macroscopic magnetic properties by utilizing crystal chemistry to rationally control the magnitude of coupling components and the geometric length scales of the couplings.
The research in Zhang's group provides a wide range of opportunities for graduate students to learn both synthetic techniques and state-of-the-art characterization methods including solution and solid-state chemistry synthesis, X-ray and neutron diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, Magneto-optical spectroscopy, fluorescence microscopy, Mossbauer spectroscopy, and SQUID magnetometry.