Prof. Nicholas X Fang

Professor in Engineering Design

Primary DLC

Department of Mechanical Engineering

MIT Room: 3-449D

Areas of Interest and Expertise

Advancing Micro 3D Printing Techniques to Facilitate Discovery and Research Development of Functional Materials in Application of Tissue Engineering and Medical Imaging
Patterning and Characterization of Thin Film Optical Materials to Break the Diffraction Limit, with Application in Nanoscale Imaging, Information Processing and Energy Conversion
Design and Testing of Lightweight Composite Materials for Efficient Sound Attenuation, Ultrasound Focusing and Targeted Delivery and for Energy Dissipation

Specialties: Photonics, Nanofabrication and Advanced Imaging Technology

Research Summary

Professor Fang seeks to bridge new frontiers in nanophotonics and nanomanufacturing. His research group concentrates on creating devices for focusing photon and sound into nanometer scale and using them for imaging and nanofabrication. These devices and technologies could lead revolutionary methods of diagnosing living cells at molecular scale details, without the use of an electron microscope, and open the door for the non-destructive screening of drugs and other biological materials.

Recent Work

  • Video
    January 28, 2021Conference Video Duration: 37:14


    Nicholas Fang
    Professor of Mechanical Engineering
    MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering
    November 5, 2020Conference Video Duration: 37:13


    Nicholas Fang
    Professor of Mechanical Engineering
    MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering
    January 29, 2016Conference Video Duration: 42:32

    Nicholas Fang - 2016 Japan

    Teaching Old Waves New Tricks: The Quest For Acoustic Meta-Materials

    For centuries we enjoyed light and sound as tools to manipulate, store and control the flow of information and energy. However, our need to transmit information and energy through these wave channels suffered a physical limit dictated by diffraction. For example, Young’s double slit experiments suggest that for an observer at a distance away from the two slits, one cannot distinguish these slits from one when the gap of these slits are close to wavelength of light. Can we overcome the diffraction limit by bending and folding waves, in a similar fashion to paper origami?

    In this seminar, I will present our efforts to fabricate 3D complex microstructures at unprecedented dimensions. In the arena of sound waves, these structures show promise on focusing and rerouting ultrasound through broadband and highly transparent metamaterials. Recently our research effort on acoustic metamaterials has been expanded to tailoring the wavefront and energy flow of elastic waves. In the optical domain, we report our development of optical imaging probes to measure the distinct local modes in the nanostructures that promote electron-photon interaction down to layers of a few atoms thick, which promise for efficient light emission and detection. These novel metamaterials could be the foundation of broadband photo-absorbers, directional emitters, as well as compact and power-efficient devices.