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Research

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.