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  • Colloidal particles, which are also known as artificial atoms or meta-atoms, exhibit rich properties that are precisely tailorable down to the atomic level. We develop and apply optical tools to trap, assemble and print colloidal particles as building blocks into artificial matter and metamaterials with the desired functions. Inline optical metrology is being developed to measure structures, dynamics and properties of the colloidal assemblies at single-particle resolution. We aim to innovate artificial matter and metamaterials for various applications while elucidating how matter organizes.

  • Chiral molecules are building blocks of life. We develop chiroptical sensors and separators for applications in pharmaceuticals and space life detection. Specifically, we are exploiting moire chiral metasurfaces and metamaterials to improve enantiodiscrimination and enantioselective separation of chiral molecules. These metasurfaces and metamaterials, which feature strongly enhanced optical fields and forces of high tunability, can be fabricated at large scale, high throughput and low cost. We are also interested in developing reconfigurable (or responsive) chiroptical materials and devices for new applications. 

  • We innovate optofluidic lab on a chip by integrating plasmon-enhanced ultracompact optical components with micro/nanofluidic systems to probe, interrogate and control biological cells and molecules at an unprecedented level. Among the various lab-on-a-chip applications, we are particularly interested in developing portable biomedical devices to bring healthcare diagnostics and therapy to underserved areas while advancing study in life sciences.


We engage in interdisciplinary research to innovate optical nanotechnologies in health, energy, manufacturing and national securityOur mission is to:

  • advance fundamental understanding and control of light-matter interactions at the nanoscale;
  • develop and apply optically active materials, devices and tools;
  • promote interdisciplinary trainings for students to understand and contribute to the multiple fields of engineering, science, and medicine.

We focus on three coordinated research areas, which are supported by NIH, NSF, ONR, NASA, ARO, Beckman Foundation, 3M, and Exxonmobil.

  Contact Information:

  Yuebing Zheng, Ph.D.
  Assistant Professor
  Department of Mechanical Engineering
  Materials Science and Engineering Program

  The University of Texas at Austin
  Austin, TX 78712, United States

  Phone: (512) 471-0228

Featured Research

Thermophoretic Tweezers [ACS Nano (2017)]

Rewritable Nanophotonics [Nano Lett. 16 (2016) 7655]

Reversible Assembly [ACS Nano 10 (2016) 9659]

Bubble-Pen Lithography [Nano Lett. 16 (2016) 701]