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Principal Investigator
Xianwen Mao | 毛献文

Presidential Young Professor

Assistant Professor

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Institute of Functional Intelligent Materials (I-FIM)
Centre for Advanced 2D Materials (CA2DM)

National University of Singapore


(+65) 8301 4330


Dr. Xianwen Mao obtained a Bachelor in Polymer Materials and Engineering from Tsinghua University and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and carried out postdoctoral research in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University. During his PhD, Xianwen also worked as a research intern at Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics (Italy) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (US). His PhD work focused on molecular engineering of soft materials with tunable catalytic and adsorptive properties for sustainability technologies. His postdoctoral research was centered around developing single-molecule/particle techniques for operando functional imaging of complex energy materials. As the sole first author, Dr. Mao has published original research papers in leading academic journals such as Nature Mater. (also as corresponding author), Nature Chem., Adv. Mater., JACS, Energy Environ. Sci., etc. His other collaborative efforts (including co-1st authorship works) resulted in publications in Chem, Nature Commun., PNAS, Adv. Funct. Mater., ACS Cent. Sci., ACS Nano, Nano Lett., ACS Catal., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., etc. Dr. Mao has filed 7 patents, and his research works and technological innovations have been frequently featured in news media such as New York Times and Chemical & Engineering News. Dr. Mao has won several awards in recognition of his research works, including the prestigious Materials Research Society (MRS) Postdoctoral Award.

Join us!

We are an interdisciplinary research group in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at National University of Singapore engaged in research at the intersection of materials science, physical chemistry, and chemical engineering.

We are strongly committed to enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion in all settings, by consciously priming ourselves and others to pay attention to potential areas of bias, and identifying effective ways to reorganize structures and systems for a safe, open and inclusive work environment.  We believe that diversity leads to higher creativity and broader impact, and will make continued efforts in advancing diversity in education and mentoring. 

Postdoctoral fellows

The successful candidate should possess the following:

  • A PhD in Materials Science, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, or related fields

  • Highly motivated, committed, and capable of working independently as well as collaboratively

  • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals

  • Good communication skills in English (both written and oral)

  • Prior experiences with the following will be a plus

    • Optical instrumentation, single-molecule/ super-resolution microscopy, magnetic/optical tweezers, ultrafast spectroscopy, or other in-situ operando imaging tools

    • Machine learning for materials discovery or quantitative image analysis, DFT calculations for catalyst design, experiences with MATLAB / Python / AutoCAD / COMSOL

    • Organic synthesis, polymer chemistry, synthesis of inorganic nanomaterials, micro/nano-fabrications, genetic engineering of microorganisms

    • Techno-economic analysis of sustainability technologies

For postdoctoral fellows, compensation and benefits package will be internationally competitive (including annual base salary, performance-based bonus, medical insurance and vacation leave), and will be commensurate with experiences and qualifications. Interested candidates are encouraged to email a copy of CV (with a list of publications), reprints of three selected publications, as well as contact information of 2-3 references to Xianwen.


PhD students

We have multiple positions available for highly qualified and motivated graduate students. Students interested in material science / chemical engineering / chemistry are welcomed. Graduate students will be provided with NUS full scholarships for 4 years. To apply, please send your resume to

Interested students can also apply to Singapore International Graduate Award (SINGA)A*STAR Graduate Fellowship and President’s Graduate Fellowship, and check out NUS continuously updated scholarship opportunities.


Visiting students and scholars

We may have positions available for visiting students and scholars to join us at National University of Singapore. We are interested in researchers with experiences in optical instrumentation and energy technologies. If you are interested, please send your CV to Xianwen.

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