Silicon Nanomaterials Research Laboratory

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

We study fundamentals and applications of silicon-based nanomaterials. Current research topics emphasize mesoporous silicon, harnessing its properties to answer questions in chemistry, materials science, biology, and medicine. Major themes in the lab:

Porous silicon nanoparticles as host matrices for biologic (protein and nucleic acid) payloads

Peptide-targeted drug delivery using tissue-specific peptides grafted to the exterior of the nanoparticle for treatment of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, cancer, traumatic brain and peripheral nerve injuries, and diseases of the eye

Nano-cages of porous nanostructures to encapsulate and enhance the performance of enzymes and other catalytic payloads for selected medical, environmental remediation, and energy storage/harvesting applications

Luminescent silicon quantum dots as in-vitro and in-vivo probes

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: