Birck Nanotechnology Center

Xiulin Ruan


Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering


Contact Information:

Phone: +1 765 49-45721



Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering/University of Michigan/2007


Research Interests:

quantum dot solar cell materials, thermal radiation in photonic crystals, nano-thermoelectrics


Research Impact Statement:

In our laboratory, we are addressing renewable energy issues using the emerging nanotechnology. The behavior of all energy systems can be related to atomic-scale description. With an atomic-level knowledge of the thermal energy carriers (photon, electron, phonon, and fluid particle), one is able to design nano- and micro-structures with the desired size effects, or to synthesize new materials with the desired functionalities. Our lab is building and expanding the understanding of the fundamentals of atomic-level carrier transport and interactions, and is applying this knowledge to important energy, information, and biomedical technologies. Current projects include the engineering of electron-phonon coupling in quantum dot solar cells, multiscale control of thermal radiation of ordered array of carbon nanotubes, enhanced laser cooling of semiconductors and ion-doped solids, high-performance nanostructured thermoelectric materials. These projects involve theoretical, computational, and experimental aspects. The theoretical tools include heat transfer, nanoscale energy transport, quantum mechanics, solid state physics, optics, and electromagnetic theory. The computational component is primarily the multiscale simulations of nanoscale energy transport which expands from first principle calculations, molecular dynamics simulations, and numerical electromagnetics. Experiments include the fabrication of nanomaterials and devices, and the characterization of these materials by optical spectroscopy.


Current Projects:

  • Optically modulated radiative surface coatings using ordered arrays of vertical carbon nanotubes, with Timothy Fisher and Timothy Sands. Predictive design of nanocrystal solar cell materials based on the phonon bottleneck effect, with Xianfan Xu. Graphene-based thermal interface materials, with Yong Chen and Tim Fisher.



Group Web Site
Purdue University Engineering Faculty Page


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