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Donglei Fan

Dr. Donglei Fan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin since 2010. She received her bachelor's degree in chemistry from the Department of Intensive Instruction, an honor program for gifted youth, in Nanjing University (NJU) in 1999, master's (2003) and doctorate (2007) degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from Johns Hopkins University (JHU). She also obtained another master's degree in Electrical Engineering from JHU in 2005. Between 2007 and 2009, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at JHU.

In 2012, Prof. Fan received the prestigious National Science Foundation Career Award. Her work on bottom-up assembling of inorganic nanomotors was selected as the #3 of "10 discoveries that will shape the future in 2014" by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Focus magazine. Dr. Fan was also one of 60 US and Europe young engineers invited to attend the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) 2013 EU-US Frontier of Engineering Symposium in France. She was featured by "Woman in Nanoscience," an NSF supported scientific blog highlighting achievements of woman scientists in US. She was honored as a Recognized Mentor by the Siemens Foundation in 2012, a finalist of the Beckman Young Investigator Award (24 finalists nationwide), and nominated for the 2010 MIT Technology Review's TR35 award, which recognizes the world's top young innovators. She received NSF Fellowship for the California Institute of Technology Summer Program (2007), Postdoctoral Fellowship at JHU, Scholarship for Excellence each year at JHU (1996~1999), and early admission to JHU waived of National College Examination and awarded the Freshman Scholarship (1995). She won multiple awards in national/state academic competitions in Physics, Biology and Mathematics in high and middle schools.

Dr. Fan's research aims at investigating innovative approaches to bridge the fabrication of nanomaterials with their applications in biochemical sensing, MEMS/NEMS, nanorobots, and energy conversion and storage devices. Intensive research has revealed that nanoentities often exhibit unique electronic, mechanical, optical and magnetic properties. In most cases, these properties are far superior to those of the bulk materials due to the Quantum Confinement Effect and large surface areas. However, the applications of nanomaterials are still largely hindered by the difficulties in manipulation and integration of them into useful devices. Dr. Fan invented a powerful and non-destructive technique, called "Electric Tweezers," for the manipulation of nanoentities in suspension by combined ac and dc electric fields. The manipulation includes transport and rotation that can lead to separation, concentration, joining and assembly, etc. Dr. Fan's work has spurred a series of publications in journals including Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Communications, The Proceedings of National Academy of Science, Nano Today, Physical Review Letters, Advanced Materials, as well as a few patent disclosures. Her work was widely reported by the academic news media such as NSF, NIH, Nano Today, MRS Bulletin, BBC, APS News, World Gold Council, and had been selected multiple times by Virtual Journals of Nanoscale Science and Technology.

Dr. Fan's lab has a few active research areas (supported by NSF, NIH,, Army Research Office, and Welch foundation):

  1. Optical biochemical sensors, single-molecule sensing, Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering, Plasmonic-semiconductor hybrid devices
  2. Bottom up assembly of mechanical nanodevices such as nanomotors, nanorobots, and nanoresonators
  3. Nanomanipulation for single live cell stimulation and sensing
  4. Rational synthesis of 3-D nanosuperstructures for energy conversion and storage devices

We are always on the lookout for talented and enthusiastic graduate and undergraduate students to join our research group. Please contact Dr. Fan by email at dfan@austin.utexas.edu.

Selected Publications

  1. D. L. Fan, Z. Z. Yin, R. Cheong, F. Q. Zhu, R. C. Cammarata, C. L. Chien, A. Levchenko, "Sub-Cellular resolution delivery of a cytokine through precisely manipulated nanowires", Nature Nanotechnology, Vol. 5, (2010), pp. 545 - 551
  2. D. L. Fan, F. Q. Zhu, X. B. Xu, R. C. Cammarata and C. L. Chien, "Electronic properties of nanoentities revealed by electrically driven rotation", Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 109, (2012), pp. 9309-9313
  3. D.L. Fan, F.Q. Zhu, R.C. Cammarata, C.L. Chien, "Electric Tweezers", Nano Today, Vol. 6, (2011), 4, pp. 339-354
  4. K. Kim, F. Q. Zhu, and D. L. Fan, "Innovative Mechanism for Precision Assembling and Actuation of Arrays of Nanowire Oscillators", ACS Nano, Vol. 7, (2013), pp. 3476-3483
  5. X. B. Xu, K. Kim, H. Li and D. L. Fan, "Ordered Arrays of Raman Nanosensors for Ultrasensitive and Location Predictable Biochemical Detection", Advanced Materials,(featured on the back cover), Vol. 24, (2012), pp. 5457- 5463

Most Recent Publications

  1. X. B. Xu, H. Li, R. Ruoff, A. X. Wang and D. L. Fan, "Near-Field Enhanced Magnetic Plasmonic Bifunctional Nanotubes for Single Cell Bioanalysis," Advanced Functional Materials, Doi: 10.1002/adfm.20120382 (front Cover Paper) , (2013), pp. 1-5
  2. L. Chao, Alex Rettie, X. B. Xu, C. Mullins and D. L. Fan, "One-step Waferscale Synthesis of 3-D ZnO Nanosuperstructures by Designed Catalysts for Substantial Improvement of Solar Water Oxidation Efficiency," Journal Of Materials Chemistry A (front Cover Paper), Vol. 1, (2013), pp. 8111- 8117
  3. K. Kim, F. Q. Zhu, and D. L. Fan, "Innovative Mechanism for Precision Assembling and Actuation of Arrays of Nanowire Oscillators," ACS Nano, Vol. 7, (2013), pp. 3476-3483
  4. X. B. Xu, M. Wu, M. Asoro, P. Ferreira and D. L. Fan, "One Step Hydrothermal Synthesis of Comb-like ZnO Nanostructures," Crystal Growth And Design, Vol. 12, (2012), pp. 4829- 4833
  5. X. B. Xu, K. Kim, H. Li and D. L. Fan, "Ordered Arrays of Raman Nanosensors for Ultrasensitive and Location Predictable Biochemical Detection," Advanced Materials,(featured On The Back Cover), Vol. 24, (2012), pp. 5457- 5463
  6. X. B. Xu, Dihan Hasan, Swapnajit Chakravarty, Ray T. Chen, Donglei Fan* and Alan X. Wang*, "Guided-Mode-Resonance-Coupled Plasmonic-Active SiO2 Nanotubes for Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy," Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 100, 191114, (2012), pp. 1-5
  7. D. L. Fan, F. Q. Zhu, X. B. Xu, R. C. Cammarata and C. L. Chien, "Electronic properties of nanoentities revealed by electrically driven rotation," Proceeding Of The National Academy Of Sciences, Vol. 109, (2012), pp. 9309-9313
  8. D.L. Fan, F.Q. Zhu, R.C. Cammarata, C.L. Chien, "Electric Tweezers," Nano Today, Vol. 6, (2011), 4, pp. 339-354
  9. D. L. Fan, Z. Z. Yin, R. Cheong, F. Q. Zhu, R. C. Cammarata, C. L. Chien, A. Levchenko, "Sub-Cellular resolution delivery of a cytokine through precisely manipulated nanowires," Nature Nanotechnology, Vol. 5, (2010), pp. 545 - 551
  10. D. L. Fan, R. C. Cammarata and C. L. Chien, "Precision transport and assembling of nanowires in suspension by electric fields," Applied Physics Letters 92, 093115, (2008)