The Micro and Nano Mechanics Laboratory focuses broadly on two goals: understanding the behavior of materials across scales, from nano to macro, and developing novel engineered devices for both materials research and biological applications.
At ultra-small scales, unique and often surprising material properties arise (e.g., giant piezoelectric effects, dramatic increases in stiffness, recoverable plasticity). Furthermore, hierarchical organization across scales result in unique structures and performance as it is the case in natural materials. Through in situ experimentation and large-scale simulations, we investigate the effect of scale and hierarchy to identify underlying mechanisms and elucidate design principles. We then use such principles and rigorous mechanics to design and build high-performance composite materials and nanosystems.
A second focus in the group is the development of tools and platforms for cellular engineering. Being able to manipulate cells (e.g. reprogramming and differentiation of stem cells) through delivery of biomolecules (RNA, proteins, plasmids) is transforming drug discovery, the study of disease, and synthetic biology. We design and build nanofabricated platforms for single cell access and analysis, the study of cell-cell interactions, and the understanding of mechano-transduction in cellular response.
Specific research thrusts include:
Bio-inspired Design of Materials
Mechanics of 1D and 2D Materials
Engineered Microsystems for: