Our multidisciplinary research group focuses on nano-micro-macro scale materials and devices for biomedical applications. We develop and deploy innovative materials, devices and systems to enable next-generation medical diagnosis and life science research. By harnessing the unique physical, chemical and biological properties in nano/micro/macro scale electronic, optic, photonic and fluidic devices, we aim to address healthcare and biomedicine challenges existing today.

I. Solid-State Nanopores: Physics, Fabrication, and Applications

Solid-state nanopores have been extensively studied in the past decade due to their mechanical robustness, tunable size, thermal robustness, and integration potential. The solid-state nanopore family includes membrane materials such as SiNx, graphene, glass nanopores (nanopipette), and polymer nanopores. We study solid-state nanopores with the aim to understand the device physics, to explore viable fabrication and integration methods, and to develop single molecule sensing applications.

II. Point-of-care nucleic acid testing (NAT)

Nucleic acid testing (NAT) is currently the most sensitive method available for identifying infectious pathogens. Nevertheless, NAT-based diagnosis developed to date mostly require sophisticated infrastructures, reagents, and skilled technicians. While readily available in reference laboratories, NATs such as PCR remains inaccessible in resource-limited settings. Although extensive efforts have been undertaken towards point-of-care (POC) molecular diagnosis, a fully validated “sample-in-answer-out”  NAT system has not developed due to significant challenges of portability, sample preparation, and throughput. In response to this urgent need, we aim to develop low-cost field-deployable field-deployable NAT devices and systems, especially for infectious disease in resource-limiting areas. These NAT devices could be loaded with easily-obtainable raw samples such as finger-prick blood, making diagnostic testing faster and easier for identifying pathogens like Malaria, Zika, and HIV.

III. Nanofluidics

Nanopores and nanochannels offer unique platforms to explore new physical and chemical phenomena appearing for molecules confined in or transported through these structures. New transport behavior and biosensing functionalities can be developed by taking advantage of these unique phenomena occurring at these scales.

IV. Microfluidics

We develop technologies to precisely control, manipulate fluids that are geometrically constrained to a small scale (from μL to fL). It involves multidisciplinary fields across engineering, physics, chemistry, and nanotechnology. It has practical applications in the design of systems that process low volumes of fluids to achieve multiplexing, automation, and high-throughput screening.