Associate Professor


The vision of Dr.Yang’s research is developing new nanomaterials with functionality gained from low dimensionality, structural and compositional complexity, and novel optical and electrical properties and for great societal impact. We adopt a “Design and Develop” strategy where we design the new nanostructures based on unique understanding gained through experiments and theories for the targeted application. Currently, the group is focusing on three application areas discussed below. Dr. Yang research program address scientific issues within these areas using combined techniques from physical, chemical, biological, and engineering sciences. Reflecting the interdisciplinary feature of her research, Dr. Yang also hold a faculty position in Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering.

  • Interfacing Nanomaterials with Biology: My group is interfacing nanomaterials with biological systems, such as central neuronal system, to address critical challenges in in vivo biomedical applications. Our recent focus is to develop neural interfaces based on nanomaterials for photoacoustic neural stimulation and neural regeneration. Non-genetical and high precision neural modulation tools are important for understanding brain functions and treating neurological disorders in human. Towards these goals, we are developing various strategies, including fiber based devices (Nature Communications, 11, 881, 2020; Light Science & Application, 2021), functional scaffolds, and nanotransducers (Matter, 4, 654, 2021) as implantable or non-surgical methods. In addition, we utilize new chemical approaches to functionalize bioscaffolds promoting and guiding neuronal development and functional restoration (Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2000530, 2020). In addition, we are also interested in utilizing unique optical signals of nanomaterials, such as nanowire (Nano Letters, 12, 1002, 2012), graphene (Scientific Reports, 5:12394, 2015), nanoparticles, for in vitro and in vivo imaging toward sensing and diagnosis.
  • Understanding and designing new nanomaterials with unique photonics properties for solar energy applications: We have great interest in understanding and designing nanomaterials with unique physical chemistry properties. We have demonstrated a novel label-free imaging of single wall carbon nanotubes with single tube sensitivity and ability to distinguishing metallic and semiconducting tubes (Physical Review Letters, 105, 217401, 2010) and of graphene with single layer sensitivity (Scientific Reports, 5:12394, 2015) and domain boundary contrast as well as and high speed meeting the large scale production needs (submitted, 2017).

    Nanowires have offered an elegant improvement or solution for addressing solar energy challenges, in photovoltaic, photo electrochemical cells and photosynthesis. Our contribution is to explore semiconductor-metal-semiconductor core-multishell (CMS) nanowires for novel photonic and energy applications such as negative reflective index materials, white LEDs and photoelectrochemical cells. (Scientific Reports, 4:4931, 2014; Submitted, 2017; Nano Letters, 14, 4517-4522, 2014, Journal of Material Science and Technology, Special issue on 1D nanomaterial, invited review, 2015).
  • Nanomaterials for high performance and low power consumption nanoelectronics: In the area of novel nanomaterial for nanoelectronics, we have been consistently exploring the ideal nanowire architecture, including new materials, doping, orientation and structural complexity, for large scale, high performance and low power consumption nanoelectronics. We have achieved GaSb (Nano Letters, 15, 4993-5000, 2015) and InSb nanowires, conventionally considered to be fundamental challenging through thin film growth, and pioneered doped GaSb nanowires through the in-situ doping (invited paper, ChemPhysChem, 2012, 13, 2585-2588). We have established the fundamental understanding in controlling the orientation of nanowires in large arrays particularly for two systems, homoepitaxial and heteroepitaxial growth of IV nanowires vertical arrays (Journal of Materials Research, 26, 2744-2748, 2011, Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology, doi: 10.5772/58317 2014) and self-aligned planar growth (Nano Letters, 13, 2786–2791, 2013) and self-catalyzed growth (Nano Letters, DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b04046, 2017) of III-V nanowires. My group has demonstrated insights of device physics in core-shell nanowires– a suitable platform for tunneling device applications for low power consumptions (Nano letters, 2011, 11, 1406) and small band gap nanowire devices (Nano Letters, 12, 5331–5336, 2012).

Yang Group Website


Techniques & Resources

Our interdisciplinary research program offers opportunities for students to grow their expertise in a broad range of techniques. Some of the core techniques we use are listed below:

  • Chemistry: nanomaterial and polymer synthesis and processing using wet chemistry and gas phase approaches. Our lab is equipped with a wet chemistry lab and a gas material lab.
  • Biology: cell and tissue culture, viral transfection, animal surgeries. Electrophysiology. Our lab shares resources with collaborators’ labs and animal operations are supported by BU CRC animal facility.
  • Optical Spectroscopy and Imaging: fluorescence, transient absorption, Raman, Stimulation Raman, etc. Our lab uses resources and equipment in PHO OPF, BME core and collaborator’s labs.
  • Electron microscopy: scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy. We use resources and equipment in PHO OPF and BU medical school.

What’s Next for Graduates of the Yang Group?

Skills in materials chemistry and applications prepared graduates from Yang group to successfully launch their independent careers in industry and academia worldwide. Example career paths include:

  • Scientist at Applied Materials
  • Engineer at Intel
  • Postdoc fellow at Harvard University
  • Principle Investigator at China Electronics Technology Group