Skip to main content

Mechanical Engineering


Nanoscale Engineering deals with materials and devices with critical dimensions that are of the order of 1 to 100 billionths of a meter. Working at these scales can have a number of advantages. For instance, the properties of nanostructured materials can be tuned over a wide range. This engineering of materials arises, in large part, because devices have the same length scale as that of energy carriers such as photons, phonons, and electrons providing new freedoms to control energy flow and interactions with matter.

In the Mechanical Engineering Department we have a strong emphasis on Nanoscale Engineering with faculty researching how nanoscale materials can be used for a wide variety of applications. This includes fundamental studies focused on manipulating light, heat and fluids as well as more applied work such as developing more efficient energy storage/conversion devices and controlling interactions with biological systems such as cells. Ultimately, Nanoscale Engineering is an inherently interdisciplinary area of research that is at the cutting edge of technology, and Vanderbilt is a significant contributor to the state-of-the-art.


Leon Bellan

Research Focus: Microfluidics, microfluidic materials, smart materials, biomaterials, micro and nanotechnology, bioMEMS.

Xiaoguang Dong

Research Focus: The design, manufacture and control of miniature soft robots, and their applications in minimally invasive medicine, microfluidics and biomechanics. The design, manufacture and control of miniature swarm robots, and their applications in biomedicine and biomechanics. The modeling, design, manufacture and control of intelligent soft materials

Deyu Li

Research Focus: Micro/Nano scale energy and molecular transport phenomena,. Nanofabrication techniques, Molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo Simulation, Micro/Nanofluidics.  

Jason Valentine

Research Focus: Optical metamaterials, plasmonics, transformation optics, nanophotonics, nanoimaging, active photonics, gradient index optics, high spatial resolution bioimaging and sensing, solar energy conversion, scalable 3D nanomanufacturing.

Greg Walker

Research Focus: Micro-scale heat transfer, heat flux measurement, energy transport processes, ultrasonic pyrometry, thermographic phospors, energy conversion devices, high-performance computing