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Research Laboratories

Advanced Materials Process Control Laboratory

15 St. Mary’s St., Brookline, MA 02446


Associate Professor Michael Gevelber

Research in this laboratory focuses on improving materials processing capabilities by applying a controls-based approach. Our controls-based approach integrates process modeling, sensor development, both system and control design, and experimentation to achieve greater control of material microstructure as well as improving yield and maximizing production rate. Research projects, typically conducted with industry partners, span a range of application areas including opto-electronic applications, advanced engines, power systems, and biomedical applications. Ongoing research projects include real-time control for plasma spray for thermal barrier coatings and fuel cells, e-beam deposition for precision optical coatings, electrospinning of nanofibers, chemical vapor deposition, and Czochralski crystal growth. Research is also being conducted on developing intelligent control and sensing approaches for optimizing building HVAC systems, using university buildings to test out new ideas.


Applied Electromagnetics

8 St. Mary’s Street, Room 417, Boston MA 02215


Professor Mark Horenstein and Research Professor Malay Mazumder

This laboratory is devoted to problems in experimental electromagnetics with a primary focus on medical and industrial electrostatics, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), and sensors. Current projects include transdermal injection of medicinal nanoparticles via pulsed electric fields, development of a passive laser communication node using a MEMS retro-reflective mirror, the design of a “smart-joint” variable-stiffness endoscope, the use of an electrodynamic screen to remove dust particles from solar collectors, and the development of a new type of electrostatic-based, dry powder inhaler. The research work also involves experimental studies on particle electrodynamic motion, optical characterization reflectivity and transmission properties of solar collectors, and development of pulsed three-phase HV power supplies for activating electrodynamic screens.


Atomic Membrane Lab

8 St. Mary’s St, Boston, MA 02215


Assistant Professor Scott Bunch

Our lab focuses on the nanomechanical properties of a new class of 2D atomically thin materials such as graphene – single atomic layers of graphite. We are most interested in their remarkable mechanical properties such as high strength, extreme flexibility, and unprecedented barrier properties. We fabricate and characterize nanomechanical devices such as suspended “atomic drumskins” which vibrate at MHz frequencies and stretch with applied pressure differences. This unique geometry has allowed us to experimentally measure a number of physical properties of 2D materials such as their elastic constants, molecular transport and barrier properties, and adhesive interactions. These atomically thin membranes act as barriers for gases and liquids and represent the thinnest membrane possible (one layer of atoms) with the smallest potential pore sizes attainable (single atomic vacancies), and unprecedented mechanical stability. The applications that we are primarily interested in are semipermeable membranes for gas or liquid separations and nanoelectromechanical sensors.


Biomimetics Materials Engineering Laboratory

44 Cummington Mall, Boston, MA 02215


Associate Professor Joyce Wong

The Biomimetic Materials Engineering Laboratory is focused on the development of biomaterials to probe how structure, material properties and composition of the cell-biomaterial interface affect fundamental cellular processes. Specifically, we are interested in developing substrata with features that mimic physiological and pathophysiological environments to study fundamental cellular processes at the biointerface. Current research projects include pediatric vascular tissue engineering of vascular patches; development of targeted nano- and microparticle contrast agents for theranostic applications in cardiovascular disease and cancer; and engineering biomimetic systems to study restenosis and cancer metastasis.


Cell and Tissue Mechanics Laboratory

44 Cummington Mall, Boston MA 02215

617 353-5902

Associate Professor Dimitrjie Stamenovic

Fundamental and applied research of cell mechanics and cell and soft tissue rheology

  • Modeling mechanical and rheological properties of the cytoskeleton of living cells at the whole cell and subcellular lengthscales
  • Modeling cell-substrate and cell-cell interactions and their effects on cell shape, orientation and homeostasis
  • Modeling of pneumatic osteoarthritis knee brace.


Coker Group

590 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 530, Boston, MA 02215


Professor David Coker

David Coker’s research group in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry studies excited state dynamics in condensed phase complex systems. Using simulation and electronic structure methods they are developing accurate models, the quantum dynamics of which, can be treated reliably with their partial linearized density matrix propagation approach. The group’s research activities include: 1) exploring how exciton transport in biological and synthetic light harvesting systems is influenced by local variation of chromophore environment and chromophore density, 2) studying the dynamics of multi domain complexes in which exciton transport is followed by competing charge separation and recombination processes, 3) incorporating new semiclassical mapping Hamiltonian methods for treating dynamics of many electron systems into their partial linearized propagation approach to treat dense systems of strongly interacting chromophores, and 4) developing a new approach to sample the initial Wigner distribution characterizing multistate thermal equilibrium that is required for the general implementation of their quantum dynamics methods. This research has the potential for broad impact in several areas of scientific and societal importance including solar energy technology, first principles design of new materials, and quantum information science.


Collins Laboratory

44 Cummington Mall, Boston, MA 02215


Professor James Collins

Our laboratory is currently working in two areas: 1) We are developing and implementing computational-experimental methods to reverse engineer and analyze gene regulatory networks in microbes and higher organisms. 2) We are designing and constructing synthetic gene networks for a variety of biotechnology and bioenergy applications. We are also using engineered gene networks to study general principles underlying gene regulation.


Computational Electronics Laboratory

8 St. Mary’s St., Boston MA 02215


Associate Professor Enrico Bellotti

The Computational Electronics Laboratory (CEL) is equipped with state-of-the-art computing resources.  The lab operates a hybrid shared/distributed memory cluster, employing over 2TB RAM and 392 processors spread over twenty networked nodes running BULinux.  The Computational Electronics Group develops numerical techniques and software to study semiconductor materials and to perform electronic and opto-electronic device simulation.  Commercial software packages, such as Synopsysis TCAD, complement independently developed tools.  Specific applications include calculation of the electronic band structure calculations for material defects, semi-empirical evaluation of material properties, and electrical/electromagnetic characterization of infrared detectors and power electronics.


Computational Energy Laboratory

110 Cummington Mall, Room 416, Boston, MA 02215

Assistant Professor Emily Ryan

The Computational Energy Laboratory (CEL) uses multi-physics computational methods to investigate alternative and advanced energy technologies. Our research focuses on developing computational models of the reactive transport, fluid mechanics, heat transfer and electrochemistry to investigate the design and operation of energy related systems, such as high temperature fuel cells, advanced battery technologies, subsurface transport and post combustion carbon capture. Central to the research in CEL is reactive transport in porous media, which is critical to many energy-related technologies and their operation and degradation.


Dennis Lab

8 St. Mary’s St., Room 601, Boston, MA 02215

Assistant Professor Allison Dennis

The Dennis Lab is focused on advanced semiconductor quantum dot synthesis for biomedical imaging and biosensing applications. Our unique core/shell colloidal nanocrystals fluoresce brightly under ultraviolet illumination, emitting colors from blue into the near infrared. We are particularly interested in near infrared emitters for tissue-depth imaging and visible emitters for biosensing using fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET).

Doerrer Group

590 Commonwealth Avenue, Room 365, Boston, MA 02215-2521

Associate Professor Linda Doerrer

The Doerrer research group specializes in synthetic inorganic chemistry and is an equal-opportunity element utilizer. Currently there are four main avenues of research in the group: The first two areas involve the use of highly fluorinated aryloxide and alkoxide ligands for the (perhaps transient) stabilization of high oxidation states in first-row transition metals. These complexes are being investigated for C-H oxidation and functionalization with Cu(I)/O2  or Cu(II) as well as for O-H activation in water oxidation with other late first-row transition metals.  The third area of research involves metal-metal bonds and metal-metal interactions.  We are interested in using the phenomenon of metallophilicity, which is the attraction of electron rich (pseudo) closed-shell metal centers e.g. d10 Au(I), d8 Pt(II), for each other.  We have used these relatively weaker attractive forces in combination with electrostatics to form one-dimensional chains of metal atoms for investigation as low-dimensional semi-conductors.  More recently heterobimetallic lantern complexes containing unpaired electrons have also been assembled with metallophilic interactions. The fourth area of research is our most recent work.  We have begun investigating Fe3O4 nanoparticles and variations on that theme as contrast agents.


FemtoSpec Laboratory

8 Saint Mary’s Street, Boston MA 02215

617-353- 1271, 617-353-9918

Associate Professor Richard Averitt, Professor Larry Zeigler, Professor Shyam Erramilli, Professor Kenneth Rothschild

Ultrafast laser spectroscopy is increasingly becoming an indispensable tool for studying the properties of materials.  This laboratory aims to develop an advanced femtosecond laser spectroscopy system that will be applicable to a broad range of multidisciplinary problems in the fields of condensed matter physics, chemistry, and biology. Examples of topics to be focused on include quasiparticle dynamics in multifunctional materials, band gaps in carbon nanotubes, molecular events in biological energy conversion and photosensing, ultrafast response to light of heme proteins and the structure of biological polymers such as mucin using high sensitivity 2D-IR.  Many studies will be facilitated by the ability of the new instrument to probe the same sample over a broad range of wavelengths from the far-IR to UV and detect small changes in absorbance. This capability should open a new window on ultrafast processes that up to now have been difficult to investigate.


Green Manufacturing Laboratory

730 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215

Associate Professor Srikanth Gopalan

Research in this laboratory focuses on environmentally benign power generation technologies such as solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). We explore the materials science and electrochemistry of SOFCs using impedance spectroscopy, galvanostats and potentiostats. Studies in this lab include measurement of the rates of charge transfer reactions that occur at the interfaces of solid state electrochemical devices, exploration of new processes, and modeling of the transport phenomena that occur in such devices. In this lab we also conduct research on ceramic gas separation membranes for the separation of industrially important gases such as oxygen and hydrogen. Ongoing projects conducted in close collaboration with industrial partners include the development of electrode and electrolyte materials for lower operating temperature SOFCs and the development of mixed ionic and electronic conducting materials for separation of hydrogen. The laboratory is equipped with a Perkin Elmer 263 A Potentiostat / Galvanostat used for characterization of electrochemical systems such as fuel cells, ceramic gas separation membranes, batteries and sensors, a Horiba 910 particle size analyzer capable of obtaining particle size distributions of powders in the range of 0.01 microns to 1 mm using light scattering technique, a Solartron 1255 Frequency Response Analyzer (FRA) used for AC impedance spectroscopy, a high temperature furnace that can operate up to 1700°C, and a Spex 8000 mill capable of producing sub-micron particles for use in solid state electrodes by high energy ball milling in a very short period of time.


High-Temperature Chemical and Electrochemical Processing of Materials Laboratory

750 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215


Professor Uday Pal

The laboratory is completely equipped for studying most high-temperature chemical and electrochemical processes involving metals and ceramics. It includes several high-temperature furnaces, residual gas analyzers, CO/CO2 analyzers, potentiostats, impedance analyzers, state-of-the-art thermogravimetric Cahn Balance, high precision power supplies capable of operating under constant current/voltage mode, viscometers, state-of-the-art data acquisition systems, powder processing facility, and fuel cell test stations. The laboratory currently supports the following research programs: green synthesis and processing of energy intensive metals, membrane technology for hydrogen production and separation, hybrid one-step processing of solid oxide fuel cells, materials for intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cells, and waste to energy conversion.


High Temperature Oxidation Laboratory

750 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215

Professor Soumendra N. Basu

The research thrust of this laboratory is to investigate the high temperature oxidation behavior of materials by exposing metal and ceramic samples to corrosive atmospheres containing oxygen and sulfur at elevated temperatures up to 1,400°C. The laboratory is equipped with a CAHN thermogravimetric balance and a Mettler microbalance for weight gain measurements, as well as an apparatus for oxidation in O-18 atmospheres, in order to determine oxidation mechanisms.


Integrated Photonics Laboratory (IPL)

8 Saint Mary’s Street, PHO 737, Boston, MA 02215
Assistant Professor Jonathan Klamkin

The Integrated Photonics Laboratory (IPL) conducts pioneering research in integrated photonics technologies for optical communications, microwave photonics, and sensing applications. The Laboratory is equipped with a number of simulation and design tools for realizing photonic integrated circuits (PICs) both at Boston University and through external foundries. The Laboratory also houses equipment for device and subsystem characterization. Novel devices can be fabricated using equipment in the IPL as well as in the shared facilities of the Photonics Center and Division of Materials Science Engineering. Specific research areas include lasers for silicon photonics, graphene optoelectronics for ultrafast modulation and photodetection, polymers and plasmonics for switching, photonics for microwave signal processing, and transceivers for optical interconnects.


Interfacial Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

730 Commonwealth Avenue, EMA 224, Boston MA 02215
Assistant Professor James Bird

Bird’s research group, located in the Interfacial Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, investigates a variety of phenomena that are dominated by interfacial forces, such as surface tension. These projects range from measuring the drainage and rupture of bubbles to modeling how oil flows through porous rock. Because these phenomena are often counter-intuitive, the group’s approach is to combine carefully controlled bench-top experiments with theoretical modeling. Experimental techniques include interferometry, microfluidics, and high-speed photography. The new physical insights gained from these projects can be applied to problems in manufacturing (e.g. controlling the degassing of bubbles in molten glass), energy (e.g. determining how best to extract oil from porous reservoirs), and the environment (e.g. reducing uncertainty in climate models by better characterizing marine aerosol production).


Lab for Engineering Education & Development (LEED)

36 Cummington Mall, Boston, MA 02215
Associate Professor Muhammad H. Zaman

A key component of our research activity is focused on developing smartsimple and cost-effective devices for invasive and non-invasive diagnostics.  Our strategy is problem-focused rather than platform-focused as we try to optimize our platforms for specific needs in the field. With the help of our partner companies and institutions, versions of the prototype are tested in the field for feasibility before development of a full-scale solution.


Laboratory for Diagnostics and Global Healthcare Technologies

44 Cummington Mall, Boston, MA 02215


Associate Professor Catherine Klapperich

The Klapperich Laboratory for Diagnostics and Global Healthcare Technologies is focused on the design and engineering of manufacturable, disposable systems for low-cost point-of-care molecular diagnostics. We have invented technologies to perform microfluidic sample preparation for bacterial and viral targets from several human body fluids including, urine, blood, stool and nasowash.  These technologies include nucleic acid extraction, protein extraction, microorganism enrichment and/or concentration and small-scale dialysis. We are currently working on devices for the detection and quantification of HIV, hemorrhagic fevers, infectious diarrheas, influenza, MRSA, and cancer biomarkers. Projects include detection by PCR, isothermal amplification, and novel optical techniques. Our main application area is global health. We consider assay development, device design, sample flow, storage and transport all opportunities to drive down the cost and increase the accessibility of molecular tests in the developing world.


Laboratory for Microsystems Technology

8 St. Mary’s St, Room 903, Boston MA 02215
Professor Xin Zhang

The Laboratory for Microsystems Technology (LMST), directed by Professor Xin Zhang, was founded in 2002 as a college-wide, student-centered, interdisciplinary research and education program in the broad area of micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS or micro/nanosystems).  Our research includes fundamental and applied aspects of MEMS and nanotechnology. Specifically, we seek to understand and exploit interesting characteristics of micro/nanomaterials, micro/nanomechanics, and micro/nanomanufacturing technologies with forward-looking engineering efforts and practical applications ranging from energy to health care to homeland security.


Laboratory of Integrated Nanophotonics & Biosensing Systems (LINBS)

8 St. Mary’s St, Boston, MA 02215


Associate Professor Hatice Altug

The capability to confine and manipulate photons at nanometer-length scales can open up unprecedented opportunities both in the fields of classical and quantum information processing, as well as in fundamental life sciences. Our group is developing nanophotonic devices for optical communications and on-chip biosensing. For communication applications, we are developing ultrafast lasers, ultra-efficient light emitting diodes and photonic crystal devices that can slow down the light. For biotechnology applications, we are using plasmonic nanostructures and photonic crystal cavities for realization of high-throughput, ultra sensitive and label free biosensors. To accomplish our goals, we are developing new computational modeling and advanced nanofabrication techniques including nano/bio-patterning and microfluidics. Our biosafety level-2 lab is capable of cell culturing and includes a modified AFM for surface functionalization. Our lab also houses state-of the art optical measurement equipments and computational clusters.


Materials Theory Group

730 Commonwealth Avenue, ENA 207, Boston MA 02215
Assistant Professor Xi Lin

The Materials Theory Group seeks to understand the property of materials via modeling and simulation. The Group makes functional materials devices following theoretical predictions in the Materials Theory Laboratory.


Materials X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory

590 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston MA 02215


Professor Karl Ludwig

Our research investigates how materials evolve on atomic and nano-length scales as they change from one form to another. In particular, we use real-time x-ray techniques to examine structural evolution during phase transitions, thin film growth and surface processing. Many of the experiments use the high brightness of synchrotron x-ray sources – the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island and the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago. Where possible, we make contact with fundamental theory and simulation. In the last few years, our detailed interest has been in three directions – understanding surface and thin film processes, investigating nanoscale dynamics in metallic alloys using coherent x-ray scattering and studying the relationship between atomic structure and function in solid oxide fuel cell cathodes. Many of our in-situ studies utilize a unique ultra-high vacuum growth and surface modification facility, that we have helped develop, on the insertion-device beamline X21 at the NSLS. We have been using it to examine surface morphology evolution during ion bombardment (which can cause the spontaneous growth of surface nanostructures) and issues related to the growth of wide-bandgap group III-V semiconductor films using plasma-assisted molecular beam epitaxy (in collaboration with Professor Moustakas in Electrical Engineering).  Coherent x-ray scattering provides the ability to probe nanoscale dynamics in metallic alloys and other materials systems. Partially coherent x-ray beams are created using small (10 micron) slits in conjunction with a high-brilliance 3rd generation synchrotron source, such as the APS. The disorder in the alloys produces speckle patterns in the scattered x-ray intensity. The evolution of the speckle pattern can then be related to the underlying dynamics of structural changes (e.g. ordering, phase separation or stacking fault rearrangement) in the alloy. Solid oxide fuel cells offer the potential for highly efficient energy conversion, but improvements in cathode function are needed before their potential can be fully realized. In collaboration with Professors Pal, Basu and Gopalan in Engineering and Professor Smith in Physics, we are examining in-situ the near-surface atomic structure of cathode materials in order to better understand the relationship between function and structure.


Matrix Mechanotransduction Lab

44 Cummington Mall, Room 515, Boston, MA 02215


Assistant Professor Michael Smith

The form and function of cells and tissues is regulated by various properties of their local microenvironment such as rigidity and cell shape. In vivo, these properties are defined by the extracellular matrix (ECM) and adjacent cells. During dynamic processes such as development, these properties regulate ECM turnover and remodeling in addition to cell movement, proliferation, and contractility. This newly remodeled matrix and altered tissue shape then redefines the local microenvironment, thus further enjoining the cell response in an iterative, closed loop which leads to the coordinated self assembly of higher order structures. The ECM is more than a passive mechanical element in this process since it presents an array of binding sites for cells and cell signaling molecules. Furthermore, cell contractile forces stretch some components of the ECM, for example fibrillar structures composed of the protein fibronectin (Fn), into non-equilibrium conformations that have altered signaling properties. This can occur through protein unfolding, thus exposing amino acids with cell signaling functions that are normally buried in the equilibrium fold of the protein. Understanding how these microenvironmental properties regulate cell fate should increase the clinical efficacy of tissue engineering scaffolds that depend upon both biochemical and physical cues. Alternatively, engineered cell culture platforms might permit long-term maintenance of cell phenotype in vitro, thus permitting diagnostic research on the laboratory bench that might otherwise require animal experimentation. However, much remains to be learned about how these properties converge to direct cell fate in vivo. Predictions derived from reductionist systems often break down in more complicated environments. Broadly speaking, my lab focuses on quantifying the relationship between environmental cues and ECM production, elucidating the mechanisms by which Fn tension and unfolding alters its cell signaling capacity, and finally engineering culture environments to control the form and function of the ECM. These goals are accomplished using an interdisciplinary toolbox including a spectroscopic approach for quantifying strain within Fn matrix fibrils and microfabricated cell culture environments.


Microscopy Laboratory

15 St. Mary’s Street, Brookline, MA 02446

Professor Soumendra N. Basu

This laboratory is dedicated to the preparation of electron transparent specimens for observation in the Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM). Specimens have to be reduced to thickness in the order of 100Å in order to study atomic arrangements by high resolution TEM. Equipment available for this purpose includes a GATAN dimpler and ion-mill, as well as precision grinding and polishing apparatus.


Multifunctional Materials Spectroscopy Laboratory

590 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215


Associate Professor Richard Averitt

In this lab we use time-resolved optical spectroscopy spanning from the far infrared through the visible to characterize the fundamental and technologically relevant properties of a host of interesting materials. In some cases we design, fabricate, and characterize our own artificial materials, but we also collaborate with colleagues from all over the world to characterize interesting artificial and quantum-based materials that they create. The beauty of optical spectroscopy, whether it is time-resolved or time-integrated, is its breadth of applicability to meaningfully study virtually any material you can imagine. With a very collaborative and multidisciplinary mindset, that is exactly what we do.


Multiscale Laser Lithography Laboratory (ML-cubed)

8 St. Mary’s Street, Room 628, Boston, MA 02215

Professor Alice White

With the installation of a Nanoscribe Photonics Professional GT Direct Laser Writing (DLW) tool, Professir Alice White’s Multiscale Laser Lithography Laboratory now has the capability to rapidly prototype 3D polymer structures with nanoscale resolution over tens of microns to millimeters. In addition to a yellow-light room where the DLW is done, the lab has a processing bench with a spinner where we mix a wide range of photosensitive materials, as well as microscopes for characterization and a UV lamp and oxide plasma for surface preparation. We also have a work station to support CAD design.  Current research projects include designing and fabricating mechanical metamaterials, scaffolds for cell studies, antennas for Terahertz radiation, and fixtures to enable neurological studies of birds.

Multiscale Tissue Biomechanics Laboratory

110 Cummington Mall, Room 230,  Boston, MA 02215
Associate Professor Katherine Yanghang Zhang

In the Multiscale Tissue Biomechanics Lab, K. Zhang’s research group integrates knowledge of biology, nonlinear solid mechanics, and finite element modeling, especially of complex materials and constitutive behavior. Through the research, the lab provides insights in understanding the relationship between microscopic biological processes and changes in macroscopic tissue mechanics due to diseases, and helps the development of diagnostic, therapeutic, and pharmaceutical techniques. The Multiscale Tissue Biomechanics Laboratory was established in 2006 and includes a fully equipped wet lab and computational facilities for characterization and modeling of the mechanical behavior of soft biological tissues and composites at multi-scale. Current research thrusts in the Multiscale Tissue Biomechanics Lab include the development of structural constitutive models that directly integrate information on tissue composition and microstructure for simulation of cardiovascular diseases and methods of prevention, the structural and functional changes of elastin due to elastin – lipid interactions and glycation, and the cellular level mechanical properties and forces within the extracelullar matrix.


Nano Heat Transfer Laboratory

8 Saint Mary’s Street.  Room 503D, Boston MA 02215
Assistant Professor Aaron J. Schmidt

Research in the Nano Heat Transfer Laboratory is focused on understanding and controlling thermal energy in nanoscale systems such as nanoparticles, thin films, membranes, and multilayers.  We specialize in ultrafast optical measurements of transport and laser—material interaction. Applications include development of new materials, solid-state energy conversion, thermal management, thermal wave imaging, and fundamental transport physics. The laboratory is equipped with two custom-built photothermal microscopes for thermal property imaging and transport measurements.


Nanomedicine and Medical Acoustics Laboratory

110 Cummington Mall, Room 319, Boston MA 02215
Associate Professor Tyrone Porter

The Nanomedicine and Medical Acoustics Laboratory is focused on the development of stimuli-responsive colloidal systems for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. For example, we design and manufacture targeted lipid-coated microbubbles for ultrasound-based molecular imaging of inflammation associated with cancer or coronary artery disease.  These targeted microbubbles can also be loaded with drugs for image-guided and highly localized drug delivery.  On the nanoscale, we design and produce perfluorocarbon nanoemulsions that can be phase-converted into microbubbles, which are then used to assist in drug transport across cell membranes (i.e. localized drug delivery) or enhance ultrasound-mediated ablation of solid tumors.  Lastly, we design and produce drug-loaded lipid- and polymer-based nanoparticles that are sensitive to biological cues, such as changes in pH levels or enzymatic activity.  When subjected to a specific cue, these nanoparticles can be designed to release their payload rapidly or gradually, thus delivering an effective dose to diseased cells and tissue specifically and enhancing the therapeutic efficacy of the drug.


Nanoscale Energy-Fluids Transport Laboratory

730 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215


Assistant Professor Chuanhua Duan

The Nanoscale Energy-Fluids Transport (NEFT) laboratory experimentally studies energy and fluids transport at the nanoscale. We are part of the Mechanical Engineering Department of Boston University. Professor Chuanhua Duan is the Principal Investigator of the NEFT lab. Our current investigations include:

* Exploring anomalous transport phenomenon in 1-D or 2-D confined nanochannels;

* Enhancing ion/molecule transport in batteries and fuel cells using nanostructured materials;

* Improving phase-change heat transfer based on patterned micro/nanostructures;

* Developing new nanofluidic devices for biomolecule sensing and separation.


Nanoscale Mechanical Engineering Laboratory

110 Cummington Mall, Boston, MA 02215


Associate Professor Kamil Ekinci

The research in Nanoscale Mechanical Engineering Laboratory focuses on physical phenomena at the nanoscale as well as nanoscale devices and ultrasensitive measurement techniques for a variety of applications. The physical phenomena of interest ranges from fluctuations to fluid dynamics to photonics.  The applications pursued so far involve bio-molecule sensing using nano-electromechanical systems (NEMS), designing motion transducers for nanoscale applications and ultrafast scanning probe microscopy.


Nanostructured Fibers and Nonlinear Optics Laboratory

8 St. Mary’s St., Boston MA 02215


Associate Professor Siddharth Ramachandran

Light beams in free space travel at the “speed of light,” and tend to diverge (diffract). Complex, nano-structured photonic devices can be used to slow light (confine photons in time) and counteract diffraction (by confining photons in space). Some confinement geometries lead to spatially complex beams that possess intriguing properties such as the ability of optical vortices to carry orbital angular momentum or the ability of Bessel beams to self-heal. Our group studies the myriad phenomena encountered by the manipulation of such fundamental effects of light, with the aim of developing next generation photonic devices.


Novel Materials Laboratory

590 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215.


Professor Kevin Smith

Research in the Novel Materials Laboratory is focused on understanding the fundamental electronic properties of complex materials, in crystalline, thin film, and nano-scaled form.  This is intrinsically a diverse and interdisciplinary endeavor, involving aspects of physics, chemistry and materials science.  We study a wide variety of different materials, most of which are technologically relevant with an emphasis on materials for energy generation and storage.  The tools we use in our research are high-resolution electron and photon spectroscopies, and we both synthesize our own samples and study materials made by numerous collaborators.  All of our research is been undertaken at synchrotron radiation facilities, specifically the National Synchrotron Light Source (Brookhaven National Laboratory, NY), the Advanced Light Source (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CA), and MAXLab (Lund, Sweden).  The scope of our research activities is quite broad, and stretches from the fundamental quantum mechanics of low dimensional correlated solids, through the electronic structure of nano-scaled thin film organic semiconductors for use in photovoltaics, to the interface properties of multi-element metal oxides with potential use in solid oxide fuel cells.  We have also studied wide band gap nitride semiconductors, organic superconductors, transparent conducting oxides, and rare earth nitrides.


Optical Characterization & Nanophotonics Laboratory (OCN)

8 St. Mary’s St., Boston MA 02215

617-358-4808, 617-353-1275, 617-353-5067

Professor Bennett Goldberg, Associate Professor Anna Swan, and Professor Selim Ünlü

Nanophotonics addresses a broad spectrum of optics on the nanometer scale covering technology development and basic science discovery. Compared to the behavior of isolated molecules or bulk materials, the behavior of nanostructures exhibit important physical properties not necessarily predictable from observations of either individual constituents or large ensembles. We develop and apply advanced optical characterization techniques to the study of solid-state and biological phenomena at the nanoscale. Current projects include development of high resolution subsurface imaging techniques based on numerical aperture increasing lens (NAIL) for the study of semiconductor devices and circuits and spectroscopy of quantum dots, micro resonant Raman and emission spectroscopy of individual carbon nanotubes, biosensors based on microring resonators, and development of new nanoscale microscopy techniques utilizing interference of excitation as well as emission from fluorescent molecules. We use high-resolution Raman spectroscopy to explore single atomic layers of Graphene as well as atomic layers of chalcogenides. In addition to microscopy, optical resonance is nearly ubiquitous in our research projects including development of resonant cavity-enhanced photodetectors and imaging biosensors for DNA, single virus sensing, and protein arrays.


Orthopaedic & Developmental Biomechanics Laboratory

110 Cummington Mall, Boston, MA 02215


Associate Professor Elise Morgan

This laboratory uses experimental and computational methods to explore the relationships between structure and mechanical function of biological tissues at multiple length scales. Current research projects include biomechanics of spine fractures, the effects of mechanical stimulation on bone healing, biomechanics of fracture healing, and microscale mechanical characterization of bone tissue. The laboratory houses a biaxial (axialtorsional) servohydraulic materials testing system with a variety of extensometers and load cells, a miniature torsional testing system, two micro-computed tomography systems, a multichannel signal conditional and amplification system, an X-ray cabinet, and various cutting tools including a sledge microtome and low-speed wafering saw. Additional space is dedicated to cell and tissue culture. Computational facilities include PC workstations equipped with software for image processing, finite element analysis, and general computing.


Physical Acoustics Laboratories

110 Cummington Mall, Boston, MA 02215
Professor Ronald A. Roy, Associate Professor J. Gregory McDaniel, Professor Robin Cleveland, Associate Professor Glynn Holt

PACLAB conducts research in several areas of physical, underwater, applied, and biomedical acoustics.


Powder Metallurgy & X-ray Laboratory

730 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215


Professor Vinod K. Sarin

The powder-processing laboratory is equipped to batch, process, and densify a wide variety of materials. Particle size reduction and uniform mixing are essential in any powder preparation. In addition to a 500cc capacity attritor mill for processing small powder batches, an extensive selection of ball mill sizes and a variety of milling media, including silicon nitride and titanium carbide, are available. Consolidation and sintering capabilities include vacuum, over pressure, and hot pressing up to 25,000 KgF and temperatures in excess of 2400°C. These capabilities make the powder-processing laboratory uniquely equipped for developing high temperature monolithic and composite materials. The laboratory is also equipped with a Bruker D8 Focus diffractometer with independent theta and two-theta axis with copper radiation. This unit extends the laboratory’s capability to perform single crystal back reflection Laue studies for crystal orientation. The standard detector is the scintillation counter, with high dynamic range and low internal background. In addition, several Debye Scherrer powder cameras are also available. This unit is equipped with all necessary components for qualitative or quantitative phase analysis, crystallite size determination, and structure determination and refinement.


Precision Engineering Research (PERL) Laboratory

8 St. Mary’s St., Boston MA 02215


Professor Thomas Bifano

Research in the Precision Engineering Research (PERL) Laboratory is directed toward design, modeling, fabrication, and testing of advanced microsystems. A core research area involves development of large-scale arrays of coordinated microactuators for use in photonic or optical systems. Recent projects have included: development of deformable micromirror arrays for adaptive optics; modeling of microfluidic transport systems; development of microvalve arrays for control of fluid flow rate and pressure; design and fabrication of advanced optoacoustic MEMS sensors; and micro-scale contouring using ion beam systems. The laboratory houses state-of-the-art systems for design, fabrication, and testing of MEMS devices, including interferometric contouring microscopes, a high speed vibrometer, and adaptive optics and microfluidic test beds.


Semiconductor Photonics Research Laboratory

8 St. Mary’s St., Boston MA 02215

Associate Professor Roberto Paiella

Research in this lab is aimed at the development of novel optoelectronic devices based on artificially structured materials systems, whose properties can be tailored by design to meet specific applications in a way that is not afforded by simply using bulk materials.  One important example is that of semiconductor quantum structures, in which nanoscale layers (or wires or dots) of different semiconductor materials are assembled to create an energy landscape in which electrons behave in a markedly quantum-mechanical fashion.  By controlling the dimensions and geometry of these structures, one can tune their most basic electronic and optical properties to enable entirely new device concepts – an approach that has become known as bandgap engineering.  Artificial structures involving materials with different optical properties (e.g., metals and dielectrics) can also be designed in a similar manner, and used to control the flow of light and its interaction with the underlying matter in novel and often useful ways.  Ongoing research is focused on THz optoelectronic devices, silicon-compatible light sources, and plasmon-enhanced visible LEDs.  Our work in these areas involves both theoretical and experimental activities, including design and simulations, device fabrication, and electrical and optical characterization.


The Sharifzadeh Group

8 St. Mary’s St., Room 535, Boston MA 02215


Assistant Professor Sahar Sharifzadeh

The Sharifzadeh research group focuses on understanding and predicting functional material properties using first-principles electronic structure methods. We develop and apply these methods, which can predict, with quantitative accuracy, the electronic, magnetic, and structural properties of materials from the basic laws of quantum mechanics. The goals of this research are to extract physical intuition about, and ultimately to design, new outstanding materials.

Solid State Research Laboratory

8 St. Mary’s St, Room 607, Boston MA 02215

Professor David Bishop

In this laboratory we are developing the techniques and MEMS devices to do “atomic calligraphy” where we can direct write structures and devices with small numbers of atoms.  By moving silicon plates as we evaporate a wide variety of materials we can do 3D printing on an atomic scale.


Surface Modification Laboratory

15 St. Mary’s St., Brookline, MA 02446

Professor Vinod K. Sarin

This unique state-of-the-art university research laboratory has the capability of R&D activities in the field of surface engineering involving both Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) and Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) techniques. It contains two experimental CVD units capable of producing a wide range of tough, adherent and protective coatings for various applications. Two multiple-target DC and RF sputtering units that produce monolithic, multi-layered, and composite coatings are available for coating development by PVD. Research and development of diamond coatings is focused on the combustion flame process. Several combustion flame setups have been developed and fabricated to produce diamond coatings of various morphologies on a wide range of materials. Unique equipment and techniques have been developed to evaluate the mechanical, chemical, and structural properties of coatings, such as a micro-scratch tester to evaluate adherence. A hot wall CVD reactor is used for the deposition of functionally graded mullite coatings. Mullite (3Al2O3•2SiO2) has received considerable attention as a potential coating material for silicon-based ceramics due to its excellent corrosion resistance, creep resistance, high temperature strength, and most critically, excellent Coefficient of Thermal Expansion match, especially with Silicon Carbide. Dense, uniform, crystalline mullite environmental barrier coatings have been deposited by CVD on SiC substrates and these coatings have exhibited excellent high temperature oxidation and hot corrosion resistance. The coating process has subsequently been patented at Boston University. Transparent Radioluminescent Coatings of Lutetium Oxide doped with Europium Oxide are being developed using both PVD and CVD. It is believed that these atomistic deposition techniques will offer extensive promise as an alternative production method for tailoring microstructure and optimizing scintillation characteristics of these ceramics.


The Tien Group

44 Cummington Mall, Room 715, Boston, MA 02215
Associate Professor Joe Tien

Research applying techniques adopted from microlithography, self-assembly, microfluidics, and developmental biology to develop methods of assembling cells into ordered three-dimensional aggregates and use these aggregates as artificial tissue and as in vitro models of disease. Current work focuses on the fabrication of branched networks such as vasculature and pulmonary trees, and spatially complex organoids such as liver acini. The Tien Group is developing new techniques to vascularize biomaterials. Current areas of interest are: the synthesis of microfluidic biomaterials (materials that contain open channels for perfusion), the quantitative physiology of engineered microvessels, and the computational design of vascular systems.


Tsui Laboratory

590 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston MA 02215


Associate Professor Ophelia K.C. Tsui

Our current research primarily concerns the effects of surfaces, interfaces, confinement and frustration on the dynamics and equilibrium of soft condensed matters, illustrated in polymer ultrathin films and liquid crystal systems.  These queries have led us to investigate a wide spectrum of contemporary soft condensed matter physics problems including wetting and dewetting phenomena, adhesion, interfacial viscosity, dynamics of confined systems, surface dynamics, surface or frustration induced orientational ordering.  Through collaborations with colleagues around the world, we have also worked on related problems of atomic force microscopic (AFM) mechanics, AFM nanotribology, AFM nanolithography, order-disorder phase transition of evaporating solution cast block copolymer films, formation and structure of protein films, liquid crystal display, and electronic and magnetic properties of magnetic granular nano-composites. The major experimental techniques used in our research include AFM, x-ray reflectivity and scattering, contact angle measurement, ellipsometry as well as optical microscopy.  Most of the sample preparation involves cleanroom and microfabrication technologies.


Ultrafast Nanostructure Optics (UNO) Laboratory

8 St. Mary’s St., Boston MA 02215


Associate Professor Luca Dal Negro

The research is mainly focused on: a) nano-optics and plasmonics; b) optics of complex structures; c) ultra-fast emission spectroscopy and optical gain phenomena; d) nonlinear optics of semiconductor and metal nanostructures. Implemented optical techniques include: picosecond fluorescence lifetime spectroscopy, femtosecond pump-probe spectroscopy, dark-field scattering spectroscopy, time-resolved variable stripe length gain techniques, emission quantum efficiency, photoconductivity measurements, Z-scan and SHG nonlinear characterization.


Vibrations Laboratory

15 St. Mary’s Street, Room 139, Brookline, MA 02446
Associate Professor J. Gregory McDaniel

The Vibrations Laboratory offers a full suite of sensors, instrumentation, and software necessary to research the vibrations of complex structures and technologies that reduce vibration and noise. One area of current interest is the spatial mapping of energy removal by damping treatments in order to better design damping treatments for complex structures. Another area is the mitigation of automotive brake squeal.


Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Laboratory

8 St. Mary’s St., Boston MA 02215


Professor Theodore Moustakas

In the Wide Bandgap Semiconductors Laboratory we are investigating the growth, structure, and optical/electronic properties of semiconductors of the gallium nitride (GaN) family. The materials are grown homoepitaxially or heteroepitaxially in the form of thin films, quantum wells (QWs), quantum dots (QDs), and quantum wires on a variety of substrates by Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) and Hydride Vapor Phase Epitaxy (HVPE). In parallel we are also investigating the growth and fabrication of optoelectronic devices covering the spectral region from the deep UV to terahertz. Such devices include deep UV LEDs and lasers, green LEDs based on InGaN quantum dots (QDs), and terahertz emitters and detectors based on quantum cascade structures. Our group works closely with a number of other BU groups. The crystal structure and microstructure of the materials is investigated in collaboration with Professors Ludwig and Basu.  The interaction of InGaN QWs and QDs with plasmonic nanostructures as well the terahertz quantum cascade structures are investigated in collaboration with Professor Paiella. The gain characterization of the deep UV emitting devices is investigated in collaboration with Professor Dal Negro. The experimental work is complemented by theoretical studies based on first principal calculations and simulations by Professor Bellotti.