Xin Chen

Professor Xin Chen

Professor Xin Chen

Degrees and Positions

  • B.A., University of Science & Technology of China, 1999
  • Ph.D., Stanford University, 2005
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Texas A&M University, 2008
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, 2011


  • Stanford Graduate Fellow 2000-2004
  • Proctor & Gamble Scholarship 1999


Xin Chen Lab ImageWhy don’t water and oil mix? Why does a protein always fold into a particular 3-dimensional structure? Why do people get electrically shocked in winter but not in summer? While seemingly unrelated, these phenomena are all governed by how molecules, particularly water molecules, behave on surfaces and interfaces.

Our laboratory, established in summer 2011 in the BU Photonics Center, aims to answer these and other surface chemistry questions on the molecular level. We are generally interested in understanding how molecules behave on soft and/or wet surfaces. The insights gained from studying those systems will impact the biological, materials, and environmental sciences. Our current investigations relate to these areas include:

  1. Biophysics: adsorption of ions, osmolytes, peptides, and small-molecule drugs on surfaces of proteins and cell membranes.
  2. Materials science: bio-fouling and frictional behaviors on surfaces of biomaterials and other soft materials (e.g., hydrogels, elastomeric polymers, and artificial tissues).
  3. Environmental science: reactions on surfaces of aqueous electrolytic solutions (i.e. salty water, including sea surface, ice surface, aerosols, etc), and on surfaces of non-aqueous solutions with complex chemistry (e.g., crude oil).

Xin Chen Research Image 1On the technical side, we are developing and improving physical and analytical techniques that are uniquely suitable to study those soft and wet surfaces, including surface-specific ultrafast laser spectroscopy and microscopy.

Our research is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative, spanning many science and engineering fields, including (but not limited to) physical chemistry, surface science, biophysics, materials science, and biomedical engineering. Individuals interested in joining our group or simply knowing more about us and our research should contact Dr. Xin Chen directly.

Job Opportunities

Assistant Professor
PHO 718
Phone: 617.358.6188
Office Hours: by Appointment