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  • We explore light-powered digital manufacturing of artificial matter and nanodevices from nanoscale colloidal particles, wires and membranes as building blocks. We invent a series of low-power user-friendly optothermal tools to sculpt and assemble the building blocks into complex architectures with computer control. Inline metrology enables in-situ structural and functional measurements. 

  • Many of the basic molecular building blocks of life are chiral species. Chiral molecules are non-superimposable on their mirror images. We develop chiroptical devices that enable high-performance label-free enantiodiscrimination and enantioselective separation of chiral molecules to advance space life detection and to improve studies of the origin and rules of life.

  • We develop light-powered nanorobots and lab on a chip of high performance and easy operation to bring healthcare diagnostics and therapy to underserved areas. Such robots and lab chips merge photonics, thermodynamics, fluidics and artificial intelligence at the nanoscale to interrogate tissues, biological cells, organelles and molecules at unprecedented levels.


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

  • improve fundamental understanding and control of light-matter interactions in complex nanosystems;
  • develop optically active materials, devices and tools to advance fundamental knowledge and applications in 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]