Nanomaterials and Spintronics Laboratory

Cheng Research

People Facilities PublicatioNS Research Experience

The Nanomaterials and Spintronics Laboratory at Bryn Mawr College is directed by Prof. Xuemei May Cheng in the Physics Department. We are always on the lookout for enthusiastic undergraduate and graduate students to be a part of our research group. If you are interested, please contact Prof. Xuemei May Cheng at xcheng@brynmawr.edu.

Nanostructured materials are materials with one or more dimensions at the nanoscale (10-7-10-9 meters). Examples of nanostructured materials include 2-dimensional ultrathin films, 1-dimensional nanowires, 0-dimensional nanodots, and more complex structures that could have a combination of these characteristics. Nanostructured materials often exhibit new and enhanced properties over their bulk counterparts, so they not only offer ideal material systems for exploring fundamental physics, but also hold promise for applications in data storage and sensing, energy generation and storage, and biomedical engineering. The discovery of the giant magnetoresistance (GMR) effect in nanostructured layered composite (2007 Nobel Prize in Physics) is a great example.

One attractive research area in nanoscience that is of interest to our group is Spintronics.  We seek to explore the interplay between the electron charge and the electron spin as well as its associated magnetic moment to create novel electronics. Spintronic devices, combining the advantages of magnetic materials and semiconductors, are expected to be stable, fast, and energy-efficient. Such devices could contribute to the development of quantum computers and quantum communication, thus dramatically changing the information technology of the future.

Nanomagnetic materials for biological and biomedical applications is the new area of research focus we have developed since 2016, supported by an NSF-funded Center for Engineering MechanoBiology. The advancement in the fabrication of composite magnetic materials has provided innovative approaches to mimic biophysical mechanical cues and regulators of cells in vitro. 

The Nanomaterials and Spintronics Laboratory is well-resourced with support from the College and multiple grants of over $1.5M from the National Science Foundation (NSF), including an NSF CAREER award and an NSF MRI grant. The facilities enable the fabrication, characterization, and modeling of nanostructured materials. In our lab, undergraduates and graduate students collaborate as dynamic partners in research and often participate as co-authors of the group publications