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Prof. Linda Zou 

joined Masdar Institute, now Khalifa University of Science and Technology, as a Full Professor in October 2014.

Her research interests include applying nanotechnology and membrane science to the development of low energy and high efficiency novel desalination and water purification solutions. Her research outcomes have been published in more than 150 journal articles and conference presentations (with Google Scholar H-index 46 and 7000 citations).

Her cloud seeding research has been reported by New York Times in 2017.

She is the chief investigator of many frontier research projects sponsored by Australian Research Council.

She is also the recipient of the UK-Gulf Institutional Links 2016 grants awarded by the British Council.

Project Brief:

“Nanotechnology to develop cloud seeding materials for enhanced rain droplet formation”

Professor Linda Zou’s project intends to improve the effectiveness of cloud seeding technologies used to increase rain precipitation, through engineering nanostructured properties of the cloud seeding materials to help water vapor in clouds condense, which is the necessary process needed for raindrops to form.

The goal of the project is to explore state of art knowledge of nanotechnology to fabricate innovative cloud seeding materials, to increase the efficiency of rain droplet formation.

Linda Zou’s project has also developed innovative in-situ observation method to evaluate water adsorption and condensation of cloud seeding materials using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) mean.

The numeric cloud models have been developed first for the inclusion of new cloud seeding materials and second to predict rainfall formation and precipitation.

Professor Zou collaborated with the University of Belgrade for her project.

Research Progress:

Prof. Zou has designed and synthesized novel cloud seeding materials that can successfully absorb much more water vapor than pure salt. These novel cloud seeding materials can help to form much larger water droplets, hence increasing the chance of rainfall. By using scanning electron microscope (SEM) observations as well as cloud chamber experiments, the efficiency of these novel materials has been positively confirmed and validated.

Prof. Zou has collaborated with the Russian High-Mountain Geophysical Institute for her cloud chamber experiments. Those experiments were conducted to evaluate the performance of the novel materials in a 3-dimensional environment, under controlled temperature and humidity conditions.

Results demonstrated that, at 100% humidity condition, the novel seeding materials formed 300% more numbers of larger water droplets -a critical size for rainfall compared to the conventional seeding materials. The success of Prof. Zou’s research project is demonstrated by the team’s filing of a worldwide patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2017 for a new application of cloud seeding through nanotechnology.

The project objectives of designing and fabricating novel cloud seeding materials have been achieved. These novel cloud seeding materials have been characterized first for their size, chemical composition, elemental distribution, then their hygroscopic performance has been evaluated by water vapor adsorption analysis. A new way of observing the real-time change in size of the novel materials in two-dimensional environment were developed.

Prof. Zou’s team ultimately tested few more versions of the nanotechnology enabled cloud seeding materials and developed a numerical models (both 1-dimensional and 3-dimensional) to evaluate the effects of the novel seeding material on rain enhancement.

Current work & next steps:

The project team designed and fabricated nano/micro-structured materials for rain enhancement. Based on the information obtained from the current work on core/shell structured cloud seeding materials for efficient water vapor capture and droplet growth, the research findings of the project have the potential be be scaled up and applied as a  water augmentation technology.

The latest steps of Prof. Zou’s project in 2018 consisted in scaling up processes and methods to mass produce this innovative core/shell structured cloud seeding material, and designing and fabricating particles for cold cloud ice nucleation process. This will be completed over 2019.


For more information on the project please visit:

Full Report - PDF document.