Cullen R. Buie




Laboratory: The Laboratory for Energy and Microsystems Innovation (USA)


Department of Mechanical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Building 3, Room 248
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA




My research mission falls into two general fields, the first is Electrokinetic Manufacturing and the second is Microfluidic Microbiology. Our first research thrust is the use of electrokinetics to manufacture thin film surface coatings. In spite of the promise offered by nanotechnology there are still relatively few practical applications employing nanoscale phenomena. One reason for this is the difficulty (both in cost and complexity) associated with scaling nanoscale effects to industrial applications. My research focuses on using electrokinetics as a bridge between the nanoscale and the macroscale. This is achieved by employing electrophoretic deposition where the native surface charge on a colloidal particle is exploited to deposit the particle on a substrate. The key advantage is that the use of electric fields allows manipulation of nanoscale particles in a process that readily scales to industrial relevance.

My second research thrust employs microfluidics to tackle fundamental problems in microbiology. Microfluidics, the manipulation of fluids and particles with length scales of 1-100 mm, offers the ideal platform to analyze microorganisms approaching single cell resolution. We employ electrophoresis and dielectrophoresis to manipulate and simultaneously characterize cell populations. We have invented low cost, high sensitivity techniques that facilitate cell phenotyping for numerous applications, from healthcare to biofuels.


Selected publications