Two students writing on a glass whiteboard

Energy Materials and Nano-Biomedicine Laboratory

The Laboratory for Energy Materials and Nano-Biomedicine investigates fundamental materials structures and properties for energy applications and nano biomedicine. 

Energy Materials

For energy materials, the research focuses on developing novel structures, via design and thin film deposition, for unique physical properties in nano-photonics and soft magnetic materials. One of the NSF-funded projects (CMMI 1635089) deals with spectral-selective, photon-activated nanomaterials for efficient energy materials. We investigate the fundamental photonic physics that dictates the photothermal effects of several highly photothermal nanomaterials including Fe3O4 nanoparticles and chlorophyll under simulated solar light. The research focuses on the relationships between their electronic structures and the photothermal effects for several novel nano systems.

Another project supported by the Ohio Federal Research Network develops soft magnetic alloys to provide a highly power dense magnetic core with low losses. The research includes rapid solidification, crystallization, and fine powder processing for high-temperature soft magnetic materials. By developing ferromagnetic nano-crystallites (~10 nm) embedded in an amorphous matrix, which are considerably shorter than the correlation length, we obtain a unique combination of large magnetization, high permeability, and low core loss.

Nano Biomedicine

There is a critical need for the development of effective strategies for small molecule or non-viral gene therapy for tailored treatment at the molecular level. Nanotechnology provides a promising avenue for tailored treatment of these diseases, overcoming the struggles of current regimens. In collaboration with Dr. Vladimir V. Kalinichenko from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Research Foundation, we jointly develop novel formulations of cationic based, non-viral nanoparticles that efficiently target the pulmonary microvascular network for the delivery of nucleic acids. Nanoparticles are created by functionalizing low molecular weight polyethylenimine (PEI) with biological fatty acids and carboxylate terminated poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) through a one-pot EDC/NHS reaction. These polyplexes provide a powerful basis for selective delivery of nucleic acids for therapeutic treatments.


Headshot of Donglu Shi

Donglu Shi

Professor, CEAS - Materials Science & Engineering

493 Rhodes Hall


Dr. Donglu Shi is currently the Chair and Graduate Director of the Materials Science and Engineering Program and a Graduate School Fellow at the University of Cincinnati. For Dr. Shi's research programs, please visit: