Plenary Fan

Donglei (Emma) Fan
Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin

Multiscale robotic materials and platforms for biomedical and environmental applications

In this talk, I will delve into our recent innovations spanning various scales in materials fabrication, manipulation, and robotization, specifically tailored for biomedical and environmental applications. Beginning at the nanoscale, I will showcase our innovative 3D electrokinetic tweezers— a precision tool capable of manipulating individual nanowires for untethered probing of single-cell signaling in aqueous solutions with a remarkable precision of 20 nm in position and 0.5° in orientation under a standard optical microscope. Moving to the chip-scale, I will present a cutting-edge technique enabling the massive patterning of microbubbles as soft, reconfigurable actuators. This advancement opens doors for applications such as scalable, accurate printing of nanoparticles, cells, and their hybrids. At the decimeter scale, I will discuss a manipulation-enabled bulk-water disinfection technique based on our patent-awarded thin-graphite foams, which enables all-weather, portable, and low-energy water treatment, successfully disinfecting bulk fresh water from the Waller Creek at UT-Austin.