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  • We merge digital techniques and nanomanufacturing for mass customization and production of materials and devices from nanoscale particles, wires and membranes as building blocks. We explore digital nature of matter and invent optical tools to structure the building blocks into functional architectures via computer design and control. Inline metrology and feedback enable automated operation. Artificial intelligence is applied to further enhance production.

  • Many of the basic molecular building blocks of life are chiral species, which are non-superimposable on their mirror images. We develop artificial-intelligence-enhanced chiroptical nanodevices to enable label-free enantiodiscrimination and enantioselective separation of chiral molecules. We are applying these devices to detect space life, to study the origin of life, to explore planet habitability, and to enhance drug efficacy and safety. 

  • We develop autonomous micro/nanorobots and lab-on-a-chip devices to bring healthcare diagnostics and therapy to underserved areas while advancing life sciences. Our robots and devices merge functional materials, photonics, thermodynamics, fluidics and artificial intelligence at the nanoscale to interrogate, manipulate and dissect biological organs, tissues, cells, bacteria, viruses, organelles and molecules at an unprecedented level.


We explore intelligent nanophotonics, which merges photonics and artificial intelligence at the nanoscale, to advance nanomanufacturing, space life detection, medicine, global health, and life sciencesOur mission is to:

  • improve fundamental understanding of light-matter interaction and opto-thermo-electro-mechanical coupling at the nanoscale;
  • develop machine learning algorithms and models for designing photonic nanostructures and decoding optical data;
  • invent and apply optical nanomaterials, nanodevices and nanotools, which are further enhanced by artificial intelligence; and 
  • promote interdisciplinary trainings for students to understand and contribute to the multiple fields of science, engineering, and medicine.

  Principal Investigator:

  Yuebing Zheng, Associate Professor
  Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering
  Materials Science and Engineering Program

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

  Phone: 1 (512) 471-0228

We are also affiliated with these units and centers at the University of Texas at Austin: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Texas Materials Institute, Center for Electrochemistry, and Center for Planetary Systems Habitability.

Featured Research

Opto-Thermoelectric Pulling of Particles [LSA (2020)]

Solid-Phase Optical Tweezers [Nature Communications (2019)

Reconfigurable Chiral Metamolecules [Materials Today (2019)]

Opto-Thermoelectric Nanotweezers [Nature Photonics (2018)]

Opto-Thermophoretic Tweezers [ACS Nano (2017)]

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