Explore the Nano World 

 Wen's Research Group​

Wen Zhang, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE

Principal Investigator

Phone: (973) 596-5520 
Fax: (973) 596-5790
Email: wen.zhang@njit.edu

Office Location: Colton Hall 211

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Our team members, Lili Li and Yihan Zhang, mentored students from the Honors Summer Research Institute (HSRI), which was funded by the Dorman College Dean's Fund for Student Development, Vatsal Shah ’08H, ’09, ’15, (Moonshot Grant for Engaged Scholarship), Langan Engineering (Civil and Environmental Engineering), and the Martinson Foundation. The HSRI provides participants with an eight-week interdisciplinary workshop sequence that helps them develop their research projects and communication skills.

During the summer of 2023, Fangzhou Liu served as a mentor for two undergraduate students, Willma Arias de la Rosa and Marina Sefen, both majoring in Chemistry and participating in the GS-LSAMP program. Fangzhou Liu mentored Willma Arias de la Rosa, to evaluate performance 

Varsha Rao Rayasam, a biology major undergraduate student, receives the 2023 NJIT Provost Undergraduate Research and Innovation (URI) Summer Fellowship funded by Hearst Foundation Fellowship to work with Dr. Zhang’s team. Her research project title: Nanobubbles-enabled foam fractionation for efficient algal removal. In this project, she is mentored by a doctoral student, Yihan Zhang, to explore cost-effective means to remove algal species from impaired water to mitigate water quality risks on human health. Dr. Zhang has mentored over 20 URI students since 2016 when this program was established at NJIT. Some of the URI students in Dr. Zhang’s group received a number of awards or recognitions such as Techquest award and ACS certificate of excellence.

Under the High School Summer Research Internship program for Summer 2023, Dr. Zhang’s team also mentors two high school students, Riya Kapadia (Morris County School of Technology) and Danielle Burke (Cranford High School).

Danielle Burke is mentored by one of Dr. Zhang’s doctoral students, Lili Li, and worked on a research project, “Algae Separation Using Recoverable Magnetic Particles under a Tunable Magnetic Field”. In this project, Danielle was trained in the cultivation and preservation of microalgae and learned to measure the optical density value of algal cells with a UV spectrophotometer and the dry cell weight method to measure algae concentration. She also gained skills in conducting literature reviews and writing.

Moreover, Katie Nguyen, civil engineering undergraduate student, was nominated as a GS-LSAMP scholar to work with Dr. Zhang’s group. GS-LSAMP stands for Garden State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, which is an alliance between institutions of northern and central New Jersey whose mission is to double the number of historically and currently under-represented minority students earning bachelor’s degrees in STEM. The LSAMP program is a  National Science Foundation-funded program aimed at 

This summer in 2023, a biology major undergraduate student, Oluwanifemi Fuwa, received HSRI fellowship to work with Dr. Zhang’s team on a research project: Algae Separation Using Recoverable Magnetic Particles Under a Tunable Magnetic Field. This project is partially funded by NJDEP to explore safe and efficient algal removal technologies and mitigate harmful algal bloom impacts on New Jersey water bodies. Throughout the project, Oluwanifemi has been under the guidance of Lili Li, a doctoral student, who has provided invaluable mentorship. Oluwanifemi's involvement has encompassed a diverse range of activities, including mastering the synthesis of magnetic particles through co-precipitation techniques and functional modification of magnetic particles with cationic polymers. Additionally, she has been actively engaged in conducting experiments focused on the separation of algae using these functionalized magnetic particles.

of novel microwave-responsive catalyst on viral disinfection. They worked together to develop a comprehensive protocol for using the Quanti-Tray and Quanti-Tray Sealer System, which facilitated the identification and counting of total bacterial and E. coli populations in a pilot scaled microwave-assisted air filtration system. Simultaneously, Fangzhou mentored Marina Sefen, guiding her in the creation of an electric air filtration system located in Colton Hall 411. In addition to this project, Fangzhou provided training to Marina and Wilma in bacteriophage propagation and counting techniques. Fangzhou also engaged a high school student, Andy Xu, John P. Stevens High School, on aforementioned research, further fostering a passion for scientific exploration.

Oliwia Lidwin is mentored by one of Dr. Zhang’s postdoctoral students, Dr. Quingquan Ma, and worked on a research project called “Electrochemical Sensing of Perfluoroalkoxy Alkanes (PFA) using Amphiphilic Fluorinated Ionic Liquids” through the AEOP Summer Apprenticeship program. This research was based on learning the different types of measurement devices, electrodes, and ionic liquids used in electrochemistry through data analysis and literature reviews. Additionally, Oliwia researched different types of electrochemical systems that are used as sensors and the processes used to break down PFA.

Under the AEOP Summer Apprenticeship program, Neel Ahuja was mentored by one of Dr. Zhang’s postdoctoral students, Dr. Qingquan Ma, and worked on a research project, “A Polymer Engineering and Mechanisms in Template Assisted Crystallization for Water Hardness Removal” under the Partners in Science Program. In this project, Neel was trained to use Raman, FTIR, and Zetasizer equipment. He also learned how to conduct in-depth literature reviews and how to carry out experiments involving powder and beads.  

Guangyu Zhu served as a mentor for two students. Andy Yin from Princeton High school and Yunes Manuel, an undergraduate student from NJIT. They worked together to evaluate surface zeta potential of nine membranes under five different pH values. Yunes also gained skills and knowledge about heat and mass transfer mechanisms after reading and discussing some articles in membrane distillation and crystallization.

Jianan Gao served as mentor for two students. Fatoumeta Aliou is a chemistry undergraduate student, received GS-LSAMP scholarship to work with in Zhang’s Lab in this summer. Fatoumeta have gain lots of knowledge about the experiment operation on electrified membrane fabrication, which involves the use of different active components. Ryan Lalani is a high school student. Ryan conducted literature reviews to collecting and analyzing data, as well as provided experiment operation assistance.

Guangyu and Andy prepared a NaCl solution at pH 10 for surface zeta potential measurement.

increasing the quality and quantity of students successfully completing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degree programs, and increasing the number of students interested in and academically qualified for programs of graduate study. LSAMP​ supports sustained and comprehensive approaches that facilitate achievement of long-term goal of increasing the number of students who earn doctorates in STEM fields, particularly those from populations currently underrepresented in STEM fields. Katie is currently mentored by one of Dr. Zhang’s doctoral students, Shan Xue, and working on a research project, “Novel LED Fixtures for Energy-Efficient and Nutrient-Enhanced Greenhouse Crop Growth

 2023 Summer Research Internship Activities

Samyan Mangat (High Tech High School) is mentored by one of Dr. Zhang’s doctoral students, Shan Xue under Partners in Science program. Partners in Science is an intensive, eight-week summer program for rising high school juniors and seniors that pairs students with mentors in science, health, and technical fields. It exposes them to current questions driving scientific discovery and challenges them to participate in ongoing research and independent projects. He worked on a research project, “In Situ Enrichment of Nanobubble Water to Fertilizer-Added Hydrogel for Smart Nutrient Delivery to Sustainably Enhance Crop Production”. In this project, Samyan learned how to generate nanobubbles using membrane method and mastered the method of measuring concentration and size of nanobubble using NTA. He also investigated the interactions between NBs and hydrogel in water. Moreover, he gained skills in conducting literature reviews and writing too