Xiao specialises in polymer chemistry: development of novel polymeric sorbents, PFAS-contaminated water remediation.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a series of man-made compounds that have been widely used since the 1950’s. Although they are commonly used in daily life, the toxicity of PFAS to humans should not be neglected. Due to their uniquely stable chemical structure (arising from the strong carbon-fluorine bond) and moderate solubility in aqueous solutions, problems of water contamination and bioaccumulation have arisen, attracting novel proposals for their efficient removal. Xiao Tan's research aims to 1) develop novel polymeric sorbents, 2) reveal binding mechanisms between PFAS and the sorbents at the molecular level, 3) optimize polymer compositions and structures, and 4) apply the design rules and develop polymeric devices for selective, rapid, and highly efficient removal of PFAS from real contaminated environments. Originally from SuZhou in China, Xiao was awarded Doctor of Philosophy by the University of Queensland in early 2024.

Key Publications

Tan, X.; Dewapriya, P.; Prasad, P.; Chang, Y.; Huang, X.; Wang, Y.; Gong, X.; Hopkins, T. E.; Fu, C.; Thomas, K. V.; Peng, H.; Whittaker, A. K.; Zhang, C., Efficient Removal of Perfluorinated Chemicals from Contaminated Water Sources Using Magnetic Fluorinated Polymer Sorbents. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2022, 61 (49), e202213071.

Tan, X.; Sawczyk, M.; Chang, Y. X.; Wang, Y. Q.; Usman, A.; Fu, C. K.; Kral, P.; Peng, H.; Zhang, C.; Whittaker, A. K. Revealing the Molecular-Level Interactions between Cationic Fluorinated Polymer Sorbents and the Major PFAS Pollutant PFOA. Macromolecules 2022, 55 (3), 1077-1087.

Tan, X.; Zhong, J. X.; Fu, C. K.; Dang, H.; Han, Y. X.; Kral, P.; Guo, J. H.; Yuan, Z. G.; Peng, H.; Zhang, C.; Whittaker, A. K. Amphiphilic Perfluoropolyether Copolymers for the Effective Removal of Polyfluoroalkyl Substances from Aqueous Environments. Macromolecules 2021, 54 (7), 3447-3457.

Wang, X.; Zhang, C.; Sawczyk, M.; Sun, J.; Yuan, Q.; Chen, F.; Mendes, T. C.; Howlett, P. C.; Fu, C.; Wang, Y.; Tan, X.; Searles, D. J.; Kral, P.; Hawker, C. J.; Whittaker, A. K.; Forsyth, M. Ultra-stable all-solid-state sodium metal batteries enabled by perfluoropolyether-based electrolytes. Nat. Mater. 2022, 21 (9), 1057-1065.

Fu, C.; Demir, B.; Alcantara, S.; Kumar, V.; Han, F.; Kelly, H. G.; Tan, X.; Yu, Y.; Xu, W.; Zhao, J.; Zhang, C.; Peng, H.; Boyer, C.; Woodruff, T. M.; Kent, S. J.; Searles, D. J.; Whittaker, A. K. Low-Fouling Fluoropolymers for Bioconjugation and In Vivo Tracking. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2020, 59 (12), 4729– 4735.

Featured projects Duration
Novel strategies for PFAS remediation