Micro/Nano Research and Education in the University of Utah’s Department of Mechanical Engineering is investigating problems related to micro/nano scale materials, devices, biological systems, and phenomena occurring at the micro/nano scales. Core strengths include biomedical, additive manufacturing, robotics, optical characterization, materials, energy, tribology and surface engineering, sensors, and computation.

Faculty and Labs

Jake Abbott
Lab – Utah Telerobotics

Interested in robotic systems that manipulate remote environments, with a primary focus on medical applications. Many of our systems utilize magnetic fields to manipulate objects without any direct physical contact. Many of our systems utilize the intelligence of a human operator directly in the control loop, and as such are designed to assist humans rather than replace them. Many of our systems utilize the human sense of touch, which is the field broadly known as “haptics”.

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Claire Acevedo
Lab: Fracture and Fatigue of Skeletal Tissues

Investigating the mechanisms of deformation and fracture, and the biological responses in biological materials at multiple length-scales (from molecular to macroscales). Our work aims at bridging the gap between Mechanics of materials, Biology and Experimental high-energy x-ray physics to understand skeletal biology and disease, as well as design principles behind biomaterials.

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Jiyoung Chang
Lab: Wearable NEMS

Exploring the synthesis of 2D materials, creating novel hetero-structure and fabrication of flexible/wearable devices. Developing micro/nanoscale tools to explore material/mechanical properties.

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Mathieu Francoeur
Lab – Radiative Energy Transfer

Research at the RETL is multidisciplinary at the interface of mechanical engineering, applied physics, electrical engineering, materials science and mathematics. Current applications of interests include thermophotovoltaic power generation, near-field radiative heat transfer modeling in 3D complex geometries, design of materials with unique radiative properties, optical characterization of nanostructures, near-field thermal spectroscopy and radiation-conduction transition.

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Henry Fu
Lab: Fluids and Biomechanics

Studies complex biomaterials and low-Reynolds number hydrodynamics, including the solid and fluid mechanics of swimming microorganisms and microengineered systems. Specific research projects involve swimming hydrodynamics in Newtonian and non-Newtonian biological fluids and gels, microrheology in gels, swimming hydrodynamics in shear flows, the behavior of chiral particles in shear flows, with application to chiral separation, microrobotic swimming, with application to drug delivery and microtransport and assembly, and flagella-based materials for bioenabled sensing and actuation.

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Bruce Gale
Lab: Utah Center of Excellence for Biomedical Microfluidics

Works to discover, understand, develop and commercialize microfluidic components and systems directed towards improving human health while generating knowledge, educating students, and creating economic development opportunities. We regularly partner with leading industrial, academic, and government institutions in developing microfluidic solutions to challenging biomedical problems.

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Jungkyu (Jay) Kim
Lab: Biomedical Micro/Nano Systems

Focuses on developing transnational biomedical platforms for microfluidic automation, chemical and biomolecule detection, and biomimetic tissue engineering by using micro- and nanotechnologies. For microfluidic automation, a universal fluid processor using microvalve array and novel digital microfluidics which enable the automation of the basic fluidic operations to achieve totally automated assays. For chemical and biomolecule detection, we are utilizing capillary electrophoresis, impedance sensors, electrochemical sensors, and optical sensors as well as a novel paper microfluidic platform for rapid and portable medical diagnostics and environmental monitoring.

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Yong Lin Kong
Lab –  Additive Manufacturing Laboratory

Focuses on the multiscale integration of nanomaterials in an extrusion-based 3D printing process, enabling the creation of unique functional bioelectronics that can address unmet clinical needs.

Owen Kingstedt
Lab – High Strain-Rate Mechanics of Materials

Focuses on the study of the deformation and failure processes that take place in materials under extreme conditions. Current conditions of interest are high strain-rate loading and high temperature environments. Advanced diagnostic techniques are paired with existing experimental techniques to gain insight of deformation processes across multiple length scales.

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Kam Leang
Lab – Design, Automation, Robotics & Control

Our research focuses on design, automation, robotics and control for intelligent autonomous systems. Applications encompass micro- and nano-scale positioning systems, scanning probe microscopes, and robotics.

Steven Naleway
Lab – Bioinspired Science and Engineering

Research interests are in the areas of bioinspired design, biological material science, and biomedical materials. Research is ongoing to understand the common structural design elements that are employed by nature to provide impressive mechanical properties and to employ these through a variety of additive and advanced manufacturing techniques.

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Pania Newell
Lab – Integrated Multi-Physics Laboratory

Investigating multi-physics, multi-scale phenomena through integrating theoretical, experimental, computational analysis combined with data sciences.

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Keunhan (Kay) Park
Lab – Utah Nano-Energy

Focuses on research and education of nanoscale energy transport and conversion processes. Our research interests include fundamental physics of thermal, electrical, and photonic energy interactions at nanoscales, nanostructure-based energy applications, nanoscale thermophysical instrumentations, and tip-based nanoimaging and spectroscopy.

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Bart Raeymaekers
Lab – Utah Tribology & Precision Engineering

Precision design and manufacturing of complex mechanical systems and devices. Our approach to research is basic science and applied physics-oriented. We attempt to understand the underlying physics of the problems we study, and then apply this newly gained knowledge to designing an optimized system or device that finds use in an engineering application. Our primary research expertise is in micro- and nanoscale tribology and surface engineering, (elasto)hydrodynamic and thin film lubrication, ultra-thin protective coatings, and processing and manufacturing of novel engineered materials.

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Sameer Rao

Research Interests include: Multiscale heat & mass transfer, Energy conversion & storage, Water harvesting & purification, and Thermal management.

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Shad Roundy
Integrated Self-Powered Sensing

Focuses on wireless sensing systems including energy harvesting power sources (from vibrations and human motion), wireless power transfer (magnetic and ultrasonic), micro-sensors, and applications of wireless sensors. The connecting theme of our work is the intersection of electromechanical system design and dynamics. In short, we design, analyze, build, and characterize small-scale electromechanical systems.

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Himanshu Sant

Research Interests include: Biomedical microfluidics and Bionanotechnology, Drug delivery devices and Biomedical microscale devices, Integrated pathogen detection devices, Biological and nanoparticle separations, and Novel MEMS and microfluidic devices for clinical and environmental applications.

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Pai Wang
Lab – Utah Waves & Architected Materials

The group expertise lies at the multi-disciplinary intersection joining mechanics of materials, computational methods, acoustics and vibrations. Our studies focus on the design of artificially structured materials for wave manipulation. These functional composites are commonly referred to as phononic crystals and acoustic metamaterials  – systems with unconventional dynamic properties emerging from their micro-structures instead of their constituent materials. A central theme in this field is the emergence of acoustic/phononic band gaps – a range of frequency in which the propagation of elastic wave is suppressed.

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Roseanne Warren
Lab – Advanced Energy Innovations

The mission of our group is to pioneer new nanoscale manufacturing methods that will improve the future of society. Our two primary areas of focus are: 1) electrochemical energy storage devices (batteries & supercapacitors), and 2) micro/nanofluidic technologies for manufacturing and human health applications.

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