SF Bay Area Nanotechnology Council


July 21 2017: Giving Optical Vision to Nanorobots

TITLE: Giving Optical Vision to Nanorobots

SPEAKER: Dr. Wen J. Li

Chair Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Dept. of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering

City University of Hong Kong

Friday, July 21, 2017  11:30 AM – 1:00  pm

Texas Instruments (TI) Auditorium E-1
2900 Semiconductor Drive
Santa Clara, CA  map

Cost $6, discount for IEEE Members, Students & Unemployed. Please register here.


The resolution of optical microscopes has been constrained by Ernst Abbe’s limit of diffraction to 200–250nm under visible light illumination since the 17th Century. The invention of the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) about 80 years ago and Scanning Tunneling Microscope/Atomic Force Microscope (STM/AFM) about 35 years have made tremendous breakthroughs in observing and analyzing sub-diffraction scale features. Although non-optical technologies such as the SEM can provide resolution much beyond the optical diffraction limit, they are still mostly not compatible with real-time and non-destructive imaging (especially for biological samples) requirements, and therefore, a non-invasive and non-destructive imaging technology that can break the diffraction limit is still in demand.

In this lecture, we will present a novel time-efficient and non-invasive microsphere-based scanning superlens microscopy (SSUM) method that enables the observation of biological and non-bioligical samples over a large area with sub-diffraction limited resolution.  This technology operates in both non-invasive and contact modes with approximately 200 times the acquisition efficiency of atomic force microscopy. Our method marks a path to visible light based non-invasive nanoscale resolution with foreseeable applications in integrated circuit defect detection and bio-molecular imaging.


    Wen J. Li (BSc/MSc, Univ. of Southern California, and PhD, UCLA) is Chair Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Dept. of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering of the City University of Hong Kong (CityU).  He is currently the President of the IEEE Nanotechnology Council and Director of the Institute for Intelligent Cyber Physical Sensing Systems of the Shenzhen Academy of Robotics, China. Prior to joining CityU, Dr. Li was with The Chinese University of Hong Kong (1997-2011), where he headed the Centre for Micro and Nano Systems. He held research positions at the NASA/CalTech Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1995-1997) and The Aerospace Corporation (1989-1995) before moving to Hong Kong in 1997.

Dr. Li’s team has published more than 300 technical papers related to MEMS, nanotechnology, and robotics; the team has received best conference/student paper awards from well-known conferences such as IEEE-ICRA, IEEE/ASME AIM, IEEE-ROBIO, and IEEE-NANO in the past 15 years.

Dr. Li served as the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Nanotechnology Magazine (2007 to 2013) and is an Editorial Board Member of Scientific Reports.   Dr. Li was elected IEEE Fellow in 2010 and ASME Fellow in 2011, and was a Distinguished Overseas Scholar of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  He also held/holds honorary academic positions at the Shenyang Institute of Automation, Peking University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, and Soochow University.

Dr. Li’s current research interest includes super-resolution nanoscopy, cyber physical sensors, and micro/nano robotics for biomedical applications.

  • 11:30 am – Registration & light lunch (pizza & drinks)
  • Noon – Presentation & Questions/Answers
  • 1:00 pm – Adjourn
COST: $6, discount for IEEE Members, Students & Unemployed.

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