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HOU Zhonghuai, Professor Theoretical and Computational Sciences
Name:  Zhonghuai Hou(Z.H. Hou, 侯中怀)
Born:   Feb. 1973, Anhui, P. R. China
Address: Department of Chemical Physics, University of Science & Technology of China (USTC), Hefei, China, 230026
Tel: 86-551-63607880
E-mail: hzhlj@ustc.edu.cn
Homepage: http://staff.ustc.edu.cn/~hzhlj
Distinguished Young Scholar Award, NSFC (2011)
Young Chemists awards, Chinese Chemical Society (2006)
Bachelor Degree, Department of Chemical Physics, USTC (1994)
Ph. D Degree, Department of Chemical Physics, USTC (1998)
Visiting Scholar, Cal Poly Pomona, USA (1999-2001)
Theoretical study of non-equilibrium statistical dynamics in complex chemical systems. Topics mainly include development of multi-scale modeling as well as path-sampling methods, effects of fluctuation in small reaction systems, nucleation and self-assembly kinetics in active soft matter systems, diffusion process in confined geometry, and dynamics on complex networks.
1) Huijun Jiang, Ping Wu, Zhonghuai Hou,* Zhenyu Li,* and Jinlong Yang. Orientation-sensitive nonlinear growth of graphene: An epitaxial growth Mechanism determined by geometry. Phys. Rev. B 88, 054304(2013)
2) Rui Ma, Jichao Wang, Zhonghuai Hou*, and Haiyan Liu*. Small-number effects: A third stable state in a genetic bistable toggle switch. Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 248107(2012)
3) Ping Wu, Huijun Jiang, Wenhua Zhang, Zhenyu Li*, Zhonghuai* Hou, Jinglong Yang. Lattice mismatch induced nonlinear growth of graphene. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 134(13), 6045 (2012)
4) Hanshuang Chen, Chuansheng Shen, Zhonghuai Hou*, Houwen Xin. Nucleation in Scale Free Networks. Phys. Rev. E 83, 031110(2011)
5) Hanshuang Chen, Zhonghuai Hou*, Houwen Xin, Yijing Yan. Statistically consistent coarse-grained simulations for critical phenomena in complex networks. Phys. Rev. E 82, 011107(2010)
6) Tiejun Xiao, Zhonghuai Hou*, HouwenXin. Stochastic thermodynamics in mesoscopic chemical oscillation systems. J. Phys. Chem. B 113(27), 9316(2009)
7) Zhonghuai Hou,* Tie Jun Xiao, and Houwen Xin*. Internal noise coherent resonance for mesoscopic chemical oscillations: A fundamental study. ChemPhysChem 7, 1520(2006)
8) Zhonghuai Hou, and Houwen Xin*. Optimal System Size for Mesoscopic Chemical Oscillations. ChemPhysChem 5, 407(2004)
  Our group is aiming at developing novel multi-scale modeling and path sampling methods to theoretically study non-equilibrium processes in complex chemical systems. Currently topics mainly include epitaxial growth kinetics of graphene, nucleation and self-assembly of active soft matter, subdiffusion in confined space, and noise induced phenomena in subcellular reactions. Representative results are given as follows:

1. Multiscale Modeling of Nonlinear Epitaxial Growth of Graphene. Graphene has attracted intense research interest due to its unique electronic structure and great application potential. Epitaxial growth on metal surfaces can generate a large graphene sample with high quality. Recently, very interesting highly nonlinear growth behavior of graphene on Ir and some other metal surfaces, i.e., the growth rate R is shown to scale with the concentration of C adatoms n as R~n5. To understand the atomic mechanism of this rather counterintuitive phenomenon and bridge the huge time scale separation between atomic processes and the experimental kinetics, we have developed a multiscale approach combining DFT calculations with a standing-on-front kinetic Monte Carlo simulation scheme, which can reproduce the nonlinear growth behavior excellently without parameter fitting. Detailed analysis shows that lattice mismatch between the graphene and metal substrate is the very reason for the nonlinear growth behavior (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012). In addition, the growth exponent is shown to be orientation sensitive, and it is geometrically determined by the Morie pattern between graphene and the substrate (Phys. Rev. B 2013).
2. Effects of internal noise in small chemical reaction systems. Chemical reactions in small systems are subject to large molecular fluctuations as well as discreteness of molecule numbers. We have systematically studied nonlinear chemical dynamics in small systems, particular on the roles of internal noise played on chemical oscillations and bi-stability. We show that noise can induce sustained oscillations, which shows best performance at an optimal system size, demonstrating an interesting type of optimal size effect (ChemPhysChem 2004). We have developed an stochastic normal form theory (ChemPhysChem 2006), which not only successfully explain the size effect very well, but also can provide new insights into the roles of internal noise. By using this theory, we have also studied the issue of stochastic thermodynamics and fluctuation theorems in mesoscopic oscillation systems, finding an interesting type of scaling behavior of entropy production associated with the supercritical Hopf bifurcation (J. Phys. Chem. B 2009). In addition, we find experimentally that a conventional biological genetic toggle switch can show an extra stable state, which locates around the unstable state predicted by ordinary differential equations. Detailed analysis based on stochastic nullclines shows that the smallness and discreteness of some critical molecule numbers play an important role (Phys. Rev. Lett. 2012).

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