The focus of our lab is to explore the light-mattering interactions, develop new tools to detect and control mechanics in the micro/nano scale, and apply these tools to tackle interdisciplinary problems. The current research projects in our group are devices and techniques based on radiation pressure, including fiber based optical trapping and cavity optomechanics.
Optical tweezers, or optical trapping systems, are a group of tools that utilize radiation pressure (optical forces) to manipulate particles at the micro/nanoscale and to sense forces down to femto-Newton (10^-15 N). In our lab, different from most of our peer researchers, optical fibers are used to build up optical tweezers. Optical fibers are a mature and low-loss waveguide, which bestow our fiber optical tweezers low cost, small sizes, and potential of being integrated.
In addition to single cell manipulation, we are investigating radiation pressure based approaches that allow single cells to be diagnosed for certain diseases such as cancer. Our long-term goal will be developing optical trapping based diagnostic chip-scale systems, that are safe for in-home test, can provide diagnosis results within minutes, and will be available at local pharmacies at low prices.
Cavity optomechanics is a burgeoning branch of physics, that study the light-matter interactions in nanomechanical resonators coupled to optical cavities. This field is so interesting and active, that it has been regarded as the latest milestone in the fundamental understanding of the light by Nature Milestones.
In our group, we are not only interested in the physics observed in cavity optomechanical systems, but actively exploring the possibility of applying these novel and unique tools to tackling challenging problems in other disciplines, such as biological sensing and measurements. We believe the superior performance and new capabilities (high displacement and force sensitivity, small system footprint, and in-situ measurements) enabled by the cavity optomechanical transducers promise the advancement of scientific frontiers, especially in biology. We are eager to make a contribution to this exciting direction.