Silicon Nanomaterials Research Laboratory

Research group of Prof. Michael J. Sailor at UC San Diego

We study fundamentals and applications of silicon-based nanomaterials. We focus on mesoporous silicon, harnessing its properties to answer fundamental questions in chemistry, materials science, biology, and medicine. Current research topics emphasize using tissue-specific peptide targeting groups and biologic (proteins and nucleic acid) drug payloads incorporated with porous silicon nanoparticles to help understand and treat conditions such as cancer, bacterial and viral infections, neuronal injuries, and diseases of the eye. We also use the porous nanostructures to encapsulate and enhance the performance of enzymes and other catalytic compounds for a range of medical, environmental remediation, and energy storage/harvesting applications. We explore luminescent silicon quantum dots as in-vitro and in-vivo imaging agents. We construct dielectric mesostructures such as photonic crystals for chemical/biochemical sensor applications. Trainees in our lab engage in these projects with a network of academic and industrial research collaborators from around the globe.

Our group is part of the NSF UC San Diego Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, which Prof. Sailor directs, and the cross-divisional Institute for Materials Discovery and Design, which Prof. Sailor co-directs. We leverage the research tools of the San Diego Nanotechnology Infrastructure (a member of the NSF National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure) to discover, design, and characterize advanced materials needed to address global societal challenges.

Graduate student applicants interested in joining our research team can apply through the following UC San Diego MS or PhD programs: