Chemical, Microsystem, and Nanoscale Technologies
Our group combines many disciplines — chemistry, photonics, microfluidics, materials science, nanofabrication, and more — to develop new sensors, actuators, and microsystems that are integrated into systems across the Laboratory's research areas. Our studies of trace chemical signatures have led us to develop improved sensors for detecting improvised explosive devices, positioning the Laboratory at the forefront of the nation's counter-IED technology. We're engineering materials with predesigned functions and integrating those materials into devices. Examples encompass 2D materials for enabling new kinds of computers, phase-change materials that provide new functionalities for cameras, and advanced fibers that can sense and communicate and be woven into soldiers' uniforms. We're also inventing new ways to process materials in order to achieve new levels of integration. Rather than limiting ourselves to integrated electronics, we are working on advanced techniques to integrate whole systems — systems into wafers, systems into clothing, and systems into individual threads. We're inventing microhydraulic actuators that can achieve motion with very low power at a microscopic scale, opening the door to advances in robotics of sub-centimeter size. In addition, we're applying microfluidics and electrowetting to develop enhanced eyewear, advance brain research, and enable lab-on-chip biomedical devices.