In our daily life, we use eyes and ears to sense the world, and our hands to shape the world. However, if we want to shape the world at microscale, we need help from miniaturized sensors and actuators. Our lab is focused on developing advanced microfluidic sensors and actuators. In particular, we are interested in acoustic-bubble-based actuation and low-cost/high-performance sensing techniques.

  1. Acoustofluidics (bubble-based actuation)

The acoustofluidics research thrust in our laboratory explores interesting phenomena occurring when acoustic waves meet fluids at microscale. We are particularly interested in using acoustically-actuated microbubbles to create microstreaming, both symmetric (top left) and directional (top right), as well as creating a trapping force. Applications include microfluidic mixing, pumping, particle manipulation, worm/sperm sorting, fish manipulation, sensing enhancement, soundproofing, and additive manufacturing.

Recent publications:

  1. A. De Vellis, D. Gritsenko, Y. Lin, Z. Wu, X. Zhang, Y. Pan, W. Xue and J. Xu, Drastic sensing enhancement using acoustic bubbles for surface-based microfluidic sensorsSensors and Actuators B, 2017, 243, 298-302
  2. Y. Chen, Z. Fang, B. Merritt, D. Strack, J. Xu and S. Lee, Onset of Particle Trapping and Release via Acoustic BubblesLab on a Chip, 2016, 16, 3024-3032
  3. J. Xu and D. Attinger, Piezoelectric Actuation in Multiphase Microfluidics, Encyclopedia of Microfluidics and Nanofluidics, Springer, 2014
  4. Y. Xu, A. Hashmi, G. Yu, X. Lu, H.-J. Kwon, X.L. Chen and J. Xu, Microbubble array for on-chip worm processingApplied Physics Letters, 2013, 102(2): 023702
  5. A. Hashmi, G. Heiman, G. Yu, M. Lewis, H.-J. Kwon and J. Xu, Oscillating bubbles in teardrop cavities for microflow controlMicrofluidics and Nanofluidics, 2013, 14: 591-596
  6. A. Hashmi, G. Yu, M. Reilly-Collette, G. Heiman and J. Xu, Oscillating Bubbles: a Versatile Tool for Lab on a Chip ApplicationsLab on a Chip, 2012, 12: 4216-4227
  7. G. Yu, X. L. Chen and J. Xu, Acoustophoresis in Variously Shaped Liquid DropletsSoft Matter, 2011, 7, 10063-10069


  1. Microfluidic biosensors

The biosensors research thrust in our laboratory focuses on cost-effective, user-friendly and reliable biological microfluidic chips to address various concerns in global health. Various sensing techniques and fabrication methods have been studied including electrochemical detection (left), optical detection (right) and 3D-printed microfluidic sensors. Specifically, ongoing research projects involve rapid biological detection based on paper devices, determination of foodborne pathogens based on DNA probes, early cancer detection by separating circulating tumor cells from blood samples and enzymatic/microbial electrochemical sensors.


Recent publications:

  1. Y. Lin and J. Xu, Paper-fluidic based sensing in food safety and quality analysisSensing Techniques for Food Safety and Quality Control, Royal Society of Chemistry, in press
  2. A. Yazdi, R. Preite, R. Milton, D. Hickey, S. Minteer and J. Xu, Rechargeable membraneless glucose biobattery: Towards solid-state cathodes for implantable enzymatic devices, Journal of Power Sources, 2017, 343, 103-108
  3. N. Lei, P. Li, A. Hashmi, W. Xue and J. Xu, Graphene Chemiresistors as pH sensors: Fabrication and CharacterizationGraphene Science Handbook, Taylor & Francis Group – CRC Press, 2016, 309-318
  4. Y. Lin, D. Gritsenko, Q. Liu, X. Lu and J. Xu, Recent advancements in functionalized paper based electronics, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2016, 8(32), 20501-20515
  5. A. Yazdi, L. D’Angelo, N. Omer, G. Windiasti, X. Lu and J. Xu, Carbon nanotube modification of microbial fuel cell electrodesBiosensors and Bioelectronics, 2016, 85, 536-552
  6. Y. Lin, D. Gritsenko, S. Feng, Y. C. Teh, X. Lu and J. Xu, Detection of heavy metal by paper-based microfluidicsBiosensors and Bioelectronics, 2016, 83, 256-266
  7. L. Guo, J. Feng, Z. Fang, J. Xu, and X. Lu, Application of Microfluidic “Lab-on-a-Chip” for the Detection of Mycotoxins in FoodsTrends in Food Science and Technology, 2015, 46(2), 252-263
  8. M. Aghaamoo, Z. Zhang, X. Chen, and J. Xu, Deformability-based circulating tumor cell separation with conical-shaped microfilters: concept, optimization and design criteriaBiomicrofluidics, 2015, 9, 034106
  9. J. Feng, C. de la Fuente-Núñez, M. Trimble, J. Xu, R. Hancock, and X. Lu, An In-situ Raman spectroscopy-based microfluidic “lab-on-a-chip” platform for non-destructive and continuous characterization of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilmsChemical Communications, 2015, 51, 8966-8969
  10. C. Rivera, H-J Kwon, A. Hashmi, G. Yu, J. Zhao, J. Gao, J. Xu, W. Xue, and A. Dimitrov, Towards a dynamic clamp for neurochemical modalitiesSensors, 2015, 15(5), 10465-10480
  11. Z. Zhang, X.L. Chen, and J. Xu, Entry effects of droplet in a micro confinement: implications for deformation-based circulating tumor cell microfiltrationBiomicrofluidics, 2015, 9, 024108
  12. J. Chen, S. Feng, F. Gao, E. Grant, J. Xu, Q. Huang, and X. Lu, Fabrication of SERS-Active Substrates Using Silver Nanofilm-Coated Porous Anodic Aluminum Oxide for Detection of AntibioticsJournal of Food Science, 2015, 80(4), N834-N840
  13. J. Xu, Microfluidics “lab-on-a-chip” system for food chemical hazard detectionFood Chemical hazard detection: development and application of new technologies, Wiley-Blackwell, 2014
  14. Z. Zhang, J. Xu, B. Hong and X.L. Chen, The effects of 3D channel geometry on CTC passing pressure – towards deformability-based cancer cell separationLab on a Chip, 2014, 14, 2576-2584
  15. X. Lu, D. R. Samuelson, Y. Xu, H. Zhang, S. Wang, B. A. Rasco, J. Xu and M. E. Konkel, Detecting and tracking nosocomial methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus using a microfluidic SERS biosensorAnalytical Chemistry, 2013, 85(4): 2320-2327