Research Overview

At the Phan laboratory, we explore the physics of functional nanomaterials, with the ultimate goal being the development of innovative sensing technologies for niche applications. Our group also synthesizes and grows new material systems that are tolerant to harsh environments (e.g. high temperature, high corrosion, extreme irradiation, and bio-fluid) where the conventional silicon counterpart does not function properly. Applications of electronic devices developed at the Phan-Lab include but not limited to environmental monitoring, space applications, and bio-medical devices.  

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Materials 

Researchers at Phan-Lab develop functional materials for a broad range of industrial applications. One of our main focused material is silicon carbide nanothin films which are deposited on standard Si wafers using CVD. We also collaborate with other research groups in synthesizing nanowires and porous materials for highly sensitive bio-chemical sensors.

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Advanced manufacturing (Collaborator: D.G. Senesky, Stanford )

We invent innovative fabrication technologies which can be scaled up to wafer level for mass production. Our novel fabrication processes also ease the integration of sensing elements with standard electronics devices, as well as enabling new functionalities such as flexibility and streachability. 

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Physics of nanomaterials

The Phan-Lab explores the physical properties of nanomaterials such as the piezoresistive, piezoelectric, thermoelectric, thermoresistive, photovoltaic effects, which lay the foundation for the design and development of ubiquitous micro and nanosensing applications.

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Sensors and electronics for system monitoring and energy

 

Employing advanced micro/nanomachining process and combined with the elucidated sensing phenomena, researchers at Phanlab fabricate and characterize several electronic devices for sensing and monitoring applications. These devices include strain sensors for structural health monitoring, pressure sensors for combustion engines, high temperature sensors, and UV detectors.

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Unusual  electronics (Collaborator: H.B. Zhao, USC, CA, USA)

 

We develop unconventional electronics with new functions such as flexibility and stretch-ability using nanothin film materials. These electronic devices take advantages of the superior properties in inorganic semiconductors (e.g. SiC and GaN) as well as their mechanical flexibility, opening a new route toward wearable and implantable electronics for health monitoring and medical treatment.

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Flexible bio-implanted electronics (Collaborator: Prof. John Rogers, Northwestern, IL, USA)

 

The Phan lab develops flexible electronic platforms with low impedance, high density of electrodes, and long-term stability for biomedical implanted applications for physiological recording, health monitoring, and electrical stimulation. The use of our flexible platform can enhance the treatment for brain disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and spinal cord injury.

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Wearable electronics (Dr. Vinh Nguyen, AIST; Prof. John Rogers, Northwestern; Prof. David Lloyd, Griffith)

 

We employ industrial compatible materials and processing to fabricate a range of wearable devices that can sense multiple biophysiological parameters including temperature, skin strain, respiration, and heart rate. Application of our wearable platform including personalised health care, telehealth, and advanced rehabilitation. 

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Robots and control systems (Collaborators: Dr. Thanh-Nho Do, Prof. Nigel Lovell, UNSW)

 

The Phan lab has established technological know-how for robotic sensors (e.g. 3D-tactile, pressure, and acoustic) for grip and haptic control, advanced biomedical tools (e.g. RF electrodes, impedance sensors) for surgical robotics. We are collaborating with robotics engineers and medical doctors to validate and translate our functional platform into a real-world scenario.