Dean Bobbitt Appoints Xiaogang Peng Inaugural Holder of Scharlau Professorship

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. —  Xiaogang Peng, whose innovative research in nanomaterials has led to $2.5 million in grants as well as the founding of a company in Fayetteville, is the newly appointed Scharlau Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry in Fulbright College.

The professorship was made possible through $500,000 of a $1 million planned gift from Charles Scharlau, former chairman, president and CEO of Southwestern Energy Co., and his wife, Clydene. The Scharlau Professorship will be matched by $500,000 from the Matching Gift Program, established through the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation’s $300 million gift to the University of Arkansas.

“Dr. Peng is a model of the integrated scholar. His research allows him to bring the excitement of the latest discoveries in his field into the classroom. After a mere six years here, he has already developed research programs that have won national and international acclaim,” said Dean Bobbitt. “His success led to NN-Labs, a company that contributes to our state economy by hiring Arkansans to produce cutting-edge nanocrystals. No one is more deserving of this honor, and I am grateful to the Scharlaus for providing us the means to recognize superior faculty.”

After earning his doctorate in 1992 from Jilin University in China, Peng served as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California-Berkeley before being appointed assistant professor at the U of A in 1999. To date, he has published 68 articles in the top chemistry and physics journals, primarily on nanomaterials. The articles published during his last four years at the U of A have been cited by his peers 1,000 times.

His research programs have led to seven patents as well as a new generation of semiconductor nanocrystals that are environmentally safe and can be used to store energy, create more effective medications, and produce high-performance solar cells.

Through NN-Labs, Peng and his colleagues are able to provide customers with a wide range of high quality, inexpensive nanocrystals.

“Great technologies are those that serve society best,” said Peng. “After my group invented greener approaches for synthesizing nanocrystals in 2001, many scientists from universities and industry asked for samples. The demand suggested that there were business opportunities in this area.”

NN-Labs has won nine Small Business Innovation Research grants worth nearly $2.7 million, from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation. By 2015, the National Science Foundation predicts that a trillion dollars worth of commercial products will be generated through nanotechnology.

 “Dr. Peng is considered by many of his colleagues to be one of today’s leading scientists in nanochemistry,” said Bill Durham, chair of the department of chemistry and biochemistry. “He is a remarkable scientist and an internationally recognized leader in the development of safe, efficient synthetic methods for preparing nanocrystals. The record he has established has far exceeded all of our expectations.”

Contacts

Donald Bobbitt, dean, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences,  (479) 575-4804, dbobbitt@uark.edu

Xiaogang Peng, Scharlau Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, (479) 575-4612, xpeng@uark.edu

Bill Durham, chair, department of chemistry and biochemistry, (479) 575-7945, bddurham@uark.edu

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