Nanometer-sized materials represent a natural size limit of the miniaturization trend of current technology, and they exhibit physical and chemical properties significantly different from their bulk counterparts. The Park group is exploring these materials to develop solid-state photonic, optoelectronic, and plasmonic devices that work all the way down to the single photon level. Some examples of these devices include single-photon transistors, electrically driven surface plasmon lasers, and on-chip plasmon sources and detectors. These devices, whose operation is critically dependent upon quantum mechanical principles, may enable all-optical computing and provide the basis for solid-state quantum information processing.
The Park group is also developing new nanoscale tools for interrogating living cells and cell networks. We developed a vertical nanowire platform that can deliver diverse biological effectors into virtually any cell type, and are actively applying the platform to interrogate intracellular circuits that dictate the functions of primary immune cells. Using the same vertical nanowires, we also developed a highly scalable platform for recording and stimulating real-time dynamics of complex neuronal ensembles and are using this tool to study the inner workings of the brain. More recently, we developed a pipeline for single-cell transcriptomics that is applicable to a broad range of cell types, and are using it to study the cell-to-cell variability of immune, cancer, and neuron cells.