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Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
Co-founding Director, Innovative Global Energy Solutions Center
Director, Center for Integrated Electric Energy Systems
Stony Brook University 
Stony Brook, NY 11794-3400, U.S.A.
Phone: 631-632-7793, Fax: 631-632-6518

​​Dr. Benjamin S. Hsiao received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from National Taiwan University, Ph.D. in Materials Science from University of Connecticut, and post-doctorate training in Polymer Science & Engineering at University of Massachusetts. He joined DuPont Company as a staff scientist and spent 8 years in R&D before coming to Stony Brook University. He served as Chair of the Chemistry Department and held Vice President for Research and Chief Research Officer positions at Stony Brook University. Currently, Hsiao is the Co-founding Director of Innovative Global Energy Solutions Center (, aiming to prototype ‘sustainability for off-grid communities of tomorrow’, using the Turkana Basin Institute ( in northern Kenya as a living laboratory. This Center aims to address the grand challenges of energy and water sustainability in the remote regions of the developing world, and offer economic development opportunity to local communities through research and education. He is also the Director of Center for Integrated Electric Energy Systems (, with the mission to enhance the development and integration of advanced technologies into electric energy systems on multiple scales.

Hsiao has achieved national and international prominence and has a distinguished reputation in polymer science. He published over 470 peer-reviewed scientific papers, 47 reviews and chapters in books and encyclopedias, 230 conference proceedings, obtained 40 issued patents (including 23 US patents) and 26 pending patent applications, and edited 2 books.  He has also given over 315 invited lectures in universities, governmental and industrial research institutes, as well as over 515 presentations in national and international scientific meetings. He was elected as Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Fellow of American Chemical Society (ACS), Fellow of American Physical Society (APS), Fellow of Materials Research Society (MRS), Fellow of National Academy of Inventors (NAI), AAAS-Lemelson Foundation Invention Ambassador, and received Distinguished Professorship from the State University of New York system, Chang-Jiang Scholar from Education Ministry of China, Co-operative Research Award from Division of Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering of ACS, NSF Special Creativity Award and DuPont Young Faculty Award.

Hsiao and his team have developed a highly permeable breakthrough membrane technology using nanofibrous materials for water purification, which removes pathogens and contaminants in water using gravity or solar heat.  This invention can provide affordable and sustainable drinking water solutions to people in remote communities and after catastrophic disasters, and the technology has been highlighted by Association of American Universities (AAU), as well as by the National Science Foundation in a 2015 exhibit for the U.S. Congress and in a Science Nation video. Over half of Hsiao’s patents and applications (> 30) have been licensed, resulting in the spinoff of 3 successful start-up companies. It is worthy to mention that one start-up, Liquidity Nanotech, has recently won both the "Next Generation Technology" competition in Launch: Silicon Valley 2014 - World Cup Tech Challenge and ‘TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2015 Startup Battlefield”. 


Research Accomplishments


Advanced Synchrotron X-ray Scattering Technologies

Hsiao has been instrumental in the development of several advanced synchrotron scattering facilities as well as the teaching and applications of these techniques for research in polymer science and engineering. For example, he was responsible for the design, construction and operation of 3 synchrotron beamlines: X3A2 and X27C beamlines at National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) in Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), and the scattering beamline of Dow-Northwestern-DuPont Collaborative Access Team (DND-CAT) at Advanced Photon Source (APS) in Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). The X27C beamline at NSLS, being the first synchrotron facility in the United States dedicated to polymer research, has become a major workhorse serving the polymer community for time-resolved and in-situ X-ray scattering and diffraction studies. More than 1000 researchers (scientists and students) from over 90 research institutes (university, government and industry) have carried out experiments at X27C. 

Hsiao also played the leadership role in the planning of several major research centers for upcoming NSLS-II, a new state-of-the-art facility designed to deliver world-leading intensity and brightness in X-rays (10,000 times brighter than that of NSLS). With its scheduled completion by 2015, the NSLS-II project (funded by DOE with a budget near 1 billion dollars) has profound impacts on the existing NSLS user community. In 2011-12, he assumed the Co-Director position (together with John Parise) for the Joint Photon Sciences Institute (JPSI) between BNL and Stony Brook University. JPSI is a gateway for NSLS and NSLS-II to promote and sustain synchrotron technique innovation and synchrotron research knowledge transfer to the user communities and to other synchrotron facilities in the U.S. and throughout the world. It has integrated the resources and expertise at BNL and SBU to create and enhance cutting edge research programs, strengthen core competency in photon sciences and help bridge the training gap that often accompanies the commissioning of next generation facilities. Additionally, Hsiao has been involved in the planning and design of three new beamlines for the NSLS-II: Soft Matter Interfaces (SMI), Complex Materials Scattering (CMS) and High Brilliance X-ray Scattering for Life Sciences (LIX), to serve the soft matter community. These facilities will be able to address frontier scientific problems related to hierarchical structure, self-assembly, and reactions via automated, high-throughput X-ray scattering.


Polymer Crystallization – from Basic Science to Applications

In the last two decades, Hsiao has made significant strides toward the understanding of polymer crystallization under external fields (shear and elongation). He showed that during polymer flow, there is a critical strain rate for a given molecular weight or a critical molecular weight (M*) for a given strain rate.  Only the chains longer than M* can remain extended, where the rest of the chains will rapidly relax back to the coiled state.  In addition, he showed that the formation of the shish-kebab structure in high molecular weight species can be attributed to the abrupt coil-stretch transition that occurred in sections of the chain, rather than its entire contour length. These findings have become seminal contributions, greatly influencing how people study and think about a wide range of polymer crystallization problems under flow, and provide direct impacts to the polymer processing industry. For example, he has successfully utilized synchrotron X-ray experiments to guide the development and commercialization of several new polyolefin materials (e.g. Vistamaxx™ thermoplastic elastomers, Linxar™ polypropylene adhesives, Exxpro™ nanocomposites and Exact™ plastomers) for ExxonMobil Chemical Co.


Technology Accomplishments

Hsiao is one of the top inventors in Stony Brook University. Together with his colleague, Ben Chu, they have launched a major research effort in the past two decades to develop new nanofiber fabrication technologies and new nanofiber applications. Their efforts have led to exemplary entrepreneurial activities to foster economic development.  To be specific, they have obtained 32 issued patents (including 18 US patents) with 21 more pending applications, as well as launched 3 start-up companies to commercialize biomedical and water purification products.


New Nanofibrous Materials for Biomedical Applications

Hsiao demonstrated that the nanofiber technology is ideal to fabricate biodegradable nanofibrous membranes, which can be loaded with drugs and/or genes for controlled release, for biomedical applications. One notable example of his technology was the development of an anti-adhesion barrier/medication delivery system for prevention of surgery-induced adhesions. Adhesions are mainly induced from the trauma of surgery and can lead to serious complications, including pelvic pain, small bowel obstruction, female infertility, chronic debilitating pain and difficulty with future operations. The anti-adhesion products, produced by his first start-up company, Wuxi Zhongkeguangyuan Biomaterials Co., LTD, have just received the Registration Certificate for Medical Device from the FDA of China.


New Nanofibrous Materials for Water Purification

Recently, Hsiao and his team have developed a breakthrough technology using nanofibrous materials for water purification. This breakthrough is based on a new concept of composite membrane design, involving (1) the replacement of conventional flux-limited porous membrane mid-layer with a high flux non-woven nanofibrous support, containing an asymmetric structure with inter-connected void morphology, and (2) the coating of a very thin top-layer of strong and functional polymer nanocomposite on the nanofibrous mid-layer scaffold. Experiments from the hierarchical design and assembly of this unique nanofibrous membrane have revealed very promising potentials, e.g., 10 times more flux than the best among all conventional UF media without losing the high rejection and low fouling criteria. Based on this technology, he launched two other start-up companies: Aqua-Tech Inc. (specializing on high flux ultrafiltration membranes to treat industrial waste water) and Liquidity Nanotechnology, LLC. (specializing on gravity-driven microfiltrtion membranes to purify drinking water), that are both in the stage of making commercial products. 

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