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Doctor of Philosophy in Physics, 2017

University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), Philadelphia, PA, USA

Doctoral advisor: Prof. Robert W. Carpick, John Henry Towne Professor and Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics.

Bachelor of Science in Physics, 2011

University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), Hefei, China.

Professional Research Experience

  • Postdoctoral Fellow (June. 2019 – present)

Prof. Ophelia Tsui’s group, Department of Physics, HKUST. My project is on polymer thin film physics and mechanics.

  • Postdoctoral Associate (Nov. 2017 – Feb. 2019)

Prof. Susan Daniel’s group, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Cornell University. My project was on microbial fuel cell (MFC) optimization through digital microfluidic electrochemistry in single-bacteria drops. I set up the equipment for the project from scratch. I successfully designed and fabricated electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD) devices which could control the dynamics of droplets. I also worked on MFC and electrochemical measurement.

  • Research Assistant (Aug. 2012 – Oct. 2017)

Prof. Robert Carpick’s Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, UPenn. I led a series of experimental studies, mainly using the atomic force microscope (AFM), and established physical models and theories, on the rate and state friction (RSF) behaviors of nanoscale single asperity contacts. Collaborating with Prof. David Goldsby, a geophysicist at UPenn, and Prof. Izabela Szlufarska, a material theorist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, we have uncovered new physical mechanisms underlying RSF behavior at the nanoscale.

  • Research Assistant (Jun. 2010 – Jun. 2011)

Soft Condensed Matter Physics Laboratory, USTC. Advised by Prof. Ning Xu. I participated in the theoretical study of the jamming transition of amorphous systems. We discovered a new jamming regime called “deep jamming”.

Research Interests

I am currently interested in polymer thin film physics and mechanics.

My previous research interests are broadly in understanding friction and other surface mechanical properties at the nanoscale, and the applications of AFM to various fields. I am specifically fascinated with establishing physically-based RSF laws at the nanoscale, which could help understand the physical origin of RSF laws (which are widely used for macroscale contacts, especially for seismic rocks related to earthquakes, but are empirical), and could also be applied to control the frictional behaviors of nanoscale materials and devices.

I am also interested in the dynamics and mechanics of droplet, the related microfluidic technology such as electowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD) devices.

I am also interested in soft matter physics. More generally, I am interested in non-equilibrium behaviors of amorphous systems.


Media Coverage

  • Load and time dependence of interfacial chemical bond-induced friction at the nanoscale, Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 076103 (2017): Physics BuzzPhys.orgEurekAlert!Science AlertBusiness InsiderYahoo!FinancePost Online MediaPennNews (also the headline for Penn News Today on 02/28/2017). Altmetrics score: 96 (20 days after the online publication, and top 5 % of all research outputs).
  • Rate and state friction relation for nanoscale contacts: Thermally activated Prandtl-Tomlinson model with chemical aging, Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 186101 (2018): PennNews.


  • Tribology and Lubrication Engineering Society (STLE) Philadelphia Chapter Scholarship, 2015.
  • My work “The Study of the Relationship Between the Structure of Colloids and the Potential of Particles” was awarded the “Optimal of the University” of the Undergraduate Research Project, USTC, 2011.
  • Group work on upconversion luminescence materials won the first prize in the Physics Experiment Research Contest, USTC, 2010.
  • Outstanding Students Silver Award (top 10 % among physics undergraduate students in USTC), 2010.
  • The National Encouragement Scholarship (top 5 % among physics undergraduate students in USTC), 2009.
  • Outstanding Students Silver Award, USTC, 2008.

Teaching Experience

  • Teaching assistant (also as guest lecturer) for MEAM 537 (Nanotribology and Nanomechanics, given by Prof. Robert Carpick) at UPenn , Jan. 2017 – May. 2017.
  • Grader for Physics 101 (General Physics) at UPenn, Sept. 2011 – May 2012.

Outreach Activities

UPenn and Drexel University, Philadelphia PA

Hands-on activities and demos of tribology for children aged 5-years and above.

UPenn, Philadelphia PA

Hands-on activities and demos of tribology for high school students.