Synthesis, Patterning, and Assembly
In aim to exploit novel properties of nanomaterials and build functional systems, we make efforts to synthesize, pattern, and integrate structures with control of physical dimension, morphology, chemical composition, and crystalline phase.
Several fabrication techniques are applied in our lab, including:
  • Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD)
  • Photo/Electron Beam/Interference/Colloidal Lithography
  • Laser Ablation
  • Ball/Cryogenic Milling
  • Electrochemical Deposition and Etching
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Biomedical Sensing and Therapeutics

As the development of nanoscience and nanotechnology, nanomaterials are highly involved in biomedicine fields. Widely collaborating with researchers from chemical, biomedical departments and medicine Institutes, we are trying to extend our research from laboratory to clinic level.

  • Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) in Biodetection

We are studying the SPR properties of various metallic nanostructures and patterned graphene structures, theoretically and experimentally. Combining with extinction spectrum or Raman measurement, these structures are capable of serving as SPR systems to monitor the specific biological binding events. (Collaborating with Department of Physics and Texas Center for Superconductivity at University of Houston)

  • Optical Imaging Based Biodetection

Distinguished from SPR based detection, we are also working on visualizing the biological binding events based on classical optical properties of nanomaterials. By designing the process of functionalization, immunization, and enzymatic decoration, the binding between biological entities can be quantificationally detected under optical microscope. (Collaborating with Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at University of Houston)

  • Hierarchical Structure for Neuron Regeneration
We are investigating the influence of topography cues on neuron growth and differentiation. Taking advantage of interference lithography and soft lithography, we mimic the natural hierarchical structure of axons with biocompatible and biodegradable materials and test them as scaffolds for neuron regeneration in vitro and in vivo. (Collaborating with Department of Neurosurgery at University of Texas Medical School at Houston)
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Energy Harvesting, Conversion and Storage

Facing the increasing challenges in energy and environment, how to harness the ultimate energy source, solar energy efficiently is a crucial topic. To this end, we are engaged in designing and fabricating nanomaterials for photosynthesis and solar cell.

  • Solar Water Splitting

In our lab, cobalt oxide nanoparticles are employed as photocatalysts to fulfill the direct total water splitting (TWS), without the intermediate steps of conversion of solar energy to electricity and other reagents, leading to a higher conversion efficiency in principle. Moreover, shrinkage of particle size provides metal oxide with dramatically different photoelectrochemical properties from the bulk. Our ongoing research mainly focus on the following to broaden the current understanding of solar water splitting on nanostructured surfaces: (1) systematic investigation of dependence of band-edge potentials on the size of metal oxide nanoparticles, (2) to establish the relationship between crystal structure and photocatalytic activity, (3) identification of water-splitting intermediates using in-situ Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy.

  • Heterocrystalline Silicon Heterojunctions for Solar Cell
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Optoelectronics and Photonics
  • CO2 Photodesorption on ZnO Nanowire Surface

The motivation of this project is to resolve the controversial on the photodesorption of ZnO, which is critical in sensor and catalytic application of ZnO material. Fabrication of ZnO nanowires and thin films based on physical vapor deposit system is performed. Adsorption and photodesorption study on ZnO surface using high vacuum system and residual gas analyzer is done, along with photocurrent measurement using source meter. Results indicate an obvious CO2 photo-desorption process which is related to ZnO-assisted surface reaction by carbon contamination and adsorbed O2. Thermal annealing and electrical measurement is enabled in this vacuum system. Gas sampling can also be done based on requirement.

  • Fiber Optic Temperature Sensors for Harsh Environments

We are interested in developing high-performance fiber optic temperature sensors (FOTS) that will allow us to accurately monitor temperatures in harsh environments which often involve high temperature, high pressure, strong electromagnetic interference, and high-energy radiation exposure. Currently, our FOTS projects include: Fabry-Perot interferometer and Blackbody radiation based sensor.

  • Spectroscopy study of Graphene and Graphene Based Photonic Devices
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Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Engineering Building 1
Houston, Texas 77204-4005

Designed by Yanan

( 2015-02-10 Updated)