Xi Chen is an Assistant Professor in nano initiative at the CUNY ASRC and the Department of Chemical Engineering at the City College of New York since August 25th, 2016. Prior to his appointment, he was a postdoctoral fellow in Biological Sciences at Columbia University working with Prof. Ozgur Sahin. He earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology after receiving his BS and MS degrees from Tsinghua University. His research of smart materials, nanotechnology, and energy harvesting has led to over 20 publications in leading scientific journals and conferences. In addition to its academic standing, his work has been featured in popular media as well, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the BBC and many others. He is also the recipient of numerous awards from the National Science Foundation, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and others.

Research Interests

Professor Chen develops the next generation of sensors, actuators, energy conversion and storage devices by using novel nanostructured and bio-inspired functional materials. His recent work on water-responsive materials and evaporation-driven engines opens up a new field in energy harvesting and provides opportunities towards solving current challenges in sustainable energy, energy storage, clean water, robotics, and medical technologies.



  • A.H. Cavusoglu, X. Chen, P. Gentine, O. Sahin, Potential for natural evaporation as a reliable renewable energy resource, Nature Communications, 2017, 8, 617
  • Xi Chen, Davis Goodnight, Zhenghan Gao, Ahmet-Hamdi Cavusoglu , Nina Sabharwal, Michael Delay, Adam Driks and Ozgur Sahin, Scaling up nanoscale water-driven energy conversion into evaporation-driven engines and generators, Nature Communications, 2015, 6, 7346
  • Xi Chen, L Mahadevan, Adam Driks and Ozgur Sahin, Bacillus spores as building blocks for stimuli-responsive materials and nanogenerators, Nature Nanotechnology, 2014, 9, 137-141
  • Xi Chen, Anton Li, Nan Yao and Yong Shi, Adjustable stiffness of individual piezoelectric nanofibers by electron beam polarization, Applied Physics Letters, 2011, 99, 193102
  • Xi Chen, Jinwei Li, Guitao Zhang and Yong Shi, PZT nano active fiber composites for acoustic emission detection, Advanced Materials, 2011, 23, 3965–3969
  • Xi Chen, Shiyou Xu, Nan Yao and Yong Shi, 1.6 Volt Nanogenerator for mechanical energy harvesting using PZT nanofibers, Nano Letters, 2010, 10, 2133-2137


Job History

  • 2012 - 2016 : Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Columbia University, NY
  • 2007 - 2012 : Ph.D. Candidate in Mechanical Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology, NJ
  • 2005 - 2007 : M.S. Precision Instruments in Mechanical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
  • 2005 : B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China