About Yimin Luo
Yimin Luo is a postdoctoral scholar leading the instrument development front for microrheology and structure characterization to facilitate high-throughput material discovery. Born in Shanghai, she spent her formative years in Texas. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Rice University and earned her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in Fall 2018. As part of her graduate work, she designed means to steer the motion and directed the assembly of inclusions in nematic liquid crystals, a material that underlies the billion-dollar liquid crystal display industry. Previously, she was a postdoc at the University of Delaware studying how microscopic roughness and chemistry contribute to shear thickening, which impacts processes from paint manufacturing to avalanches.
What Excites You About the NSF BioPACIFIC MIP?
Having obtained my Ph.D. from an institution that was one of the NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers, I witnessed firsthand the great synergy coming out of collaborative efforts from different disciplines. UCSB has traditionally been a powerhouse for soft matter research. I love how I can easily find someone who knows a great deal about every aspects of material discovery within BioPACIFIC MIP, and how readily people are willing to share their expertise to contribute to the success of others. I am truly impressed by the caliber of research within BioPACIFIC MIP: researchers pursue unique problems that are not only rooted in fundamentals but are also well informed of current development in the world, for instance, the opportunity afforded by the unprecedented ability to store, mine and process data. It is usually difficult to get both – but BioPACIFIC MIP does it seamlessly.
Collaborations with Other BioPACIFIC MIP Faculty
My work focuses primarily on developing means to rapidly downsize a selection of materials for applications in biomedical and material settings. Because of this interest, I will work closely with various groups to help target, screen and iterate in order to get optimal material design tailored for a particular application. I am eager to tap into the wealth of knowledge within BioPACIFIC MIP. In particular, some initial collaborations I am envisioning are with groups with strong synthesis expertise, and those with biomaterial manufacturing capabilities – these groups will benefit most immediately from the platform I am developing, which utilizes a small amount of material and gives rapid feedback across a large composition space.
A lot of the systems I have studied fall into the category of soft matters - The softness of these substances originates from weak forces that hold them together. These forces can be readily tuned by environmental stimuli, which profoundly affect the timescales at which the particles migrate, the segregation of components, and the final structures formed. During my time at UPenn, I observed these migrations patterns directly by microscopy and they vary in time. For my work at UD, these forces manifest collectively by packing fraction, scattering and rheology, varying in composition space. Now I am developing an approach that units the two, where microscopic dynamics are ensemble averaged, probed across a wide parameter space, and optimized for applications. I propose to use my expertise in complex fluids and leverage fundamental work to identify scalable approaches that can lead to manufacturing technology.