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  • Metamaterial is engineered material with exotic properties not found in nature. We explore computer-directed assembly of building blocks such as 0D, 1D and 2D nanostructures into complex architectures to develop programmable metamaterials for any desired functions and applications. We have invented a series of optothermal tools for the low-power digital assembly of colloidal particles. Inline metrology enables in-situ structural and functional measurements. We further couple metamaterials with functional molecules for biointegration and bioapplications.

  • Many of the basic molecular building blocks of life are chiral species. Chiral molecules are non-superimposable on their mirror images. The capabilities of synthesizing, analyzing and purifying chiral molecules are highly desired for a wide range of applications such as early disease diagnosis, safer medicine and space life detection. We develop a variety of chiroptical devices, which exploit highly enhanced and tailorable chiroptical properties of chiral metamaterials, to improve light-driven asymmetric synthesis, enantiodiscrimination and enantioselective separation of chiral molecules for customized applications.

  • Optofluidic lab on a chip integrates optical components into microfluidic systems to interrogate and control colloidal particles, living cells and molecules at an unprecedented level. We develop a new class of optofluidic lab-on-a-chip systems by exploiting metamaterials, opto-electro-thermo-fluidics and artificial intelligence. Some of the systems work as nanofactories for smart manufacturing of designer materials and devices. Others aim to bring healthcare diagnostics and therapy to underserved areas while advancing studies of the origin and rules of life.


We innovate optical nanotechnologies for health, manufacturing, national security, energy and data revolutionOur mission is to:

  • improve fundamental understanding of nanoscale light-matter interactions in complex environments;
  • develop optically active materials, devices and tools to advance fundamental knowledge and applications in the targeted fields; and
  • promote interdisciplinary trainings for students to understand and contribute to the multiple fields of science, engineering and medicine.

Current projects in three coordinated research areas are mainly supported by NIH, NSF, ONR, NASA, ARO, Beckman Foundation, 3M, and Exxonmobil.

  Principal Investigator:

  Yuebing Zheng
  Department of Mechanical Engineering
  Materials Science and Engineering Program

  Texas Materials Institute
  The University of Texas at Austin
  204 E. Dean Keeton Street
  Austin, TX 78712, United States

  Phone: (512) 471-0228

Recent Publications

Featured Research

Reconfigurable Chiral Metamolecules [Materials Today (2019)]

Opto-Thermoelectric Nanotweezers [Nature Photonics (2018)]

Opto-Thermophoretic Tweezers [ACS Nano (2017)]

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

Opto-Thermophoretic Assembly [ACS Nano 10 (2016) 9659]

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