Ning Wu

Associate Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Ning WuOur primary research interest lies in finding simple and elegant ways to precisely control the structures of materials at different length scales. Multi-scale hierarchical structures are found abundantly in nature for surprisingly different purposes. For example, the amazing climbing abilities of geckos on different surfaces can be attributed to a hierarchical structure on their foot pads. Hierarchical structures on the lotus leaf makes the leaf surface both superhydrophobic and self-cleaning. In another totally different situation, Morpho butterflies show brilliant iridescent colors arising from very delicate and hierarchical structures on their wing scales.

All of these structures found in nature are formed by the so-called “bottom up” method, which is a self assembly of nano-scale building blocks into functional macroscopic structures. Taking advantage of their best properties individually and putting them together in a synergistic way is, however, not always an easy task for humankind. Our goal is to study and understand the fundamental principles of self- and guided- assembly of nano-“building blocks”, such as polymers, nanoparticles, cells, biomolecules, etc. Based on our understandings, we will then develop economic routes (by integrating both bottom-up and top-down methods) to fabricate organic-inorganic hybrid materials with both hierarchical structures and multiple functionalities. Those revolutionary materials will have impacts on the development of more efficient photovoltaics, photonic crystals, multi-functional and environmentally adaptive nanomotors, as well as biomedical diagnostic/therapeutic systems.


441 Alderson Hall
1613 Illinois Street
Golden, CO 80401
Office: (303) 273-3702
Fax: (303) 273-3730

Research Group

  • Yan Gao, MS – Harbin Institute of Technology
  • Md Ashraful Haque, MS – The University of Toledo
  • Xingfu Yang, MS – Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Xingrui Zhu, MS – Purdue University

Wu Research Group Website


  • BS – National University of Singapore
  • PhD – Princeton University
  • Post-Doctoral Study – Harvard University

Selected Publications

  • Xingfu Yang and Ning Wu, “Change the Collective Behaviors of Colloidal Motors by Tuning Electrohydrodynamic Flow at the Subparticle Level”, Langmuir 34, 952-960 (2018).
  • Tao Yang, Tonguc O. Tasci, Keith B. Neeves, Ning Wu, and David W.M. Marr, “Magnetic Microlassos for Reversible Cargo Capture, Transport, and Release”, Langmuir 33, 5932-5937 (2017).
  • Fuduo Ma, Xingfu Yang, Hui Zhao, and Ning Wu, “Inducing Propulsion of Colloidal Dimers by Breaking the Symmetry in Electrohydrodynamic Flow”, Physical Review Letters, 115, 208302 (2015).
  • Fuduo Ma, Sijia Wang, David T Wu, Ning Wu, “Electric-Field Induced Assembly and Propulsion of Chiral Colloidal Clusters”, Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, 112, 6307–6312 (2015).
  • Sijia Wang and Ning Wu, “Selecting the Swimming Mechanisms of Colloidal Particles: Bubble Propulsion vs. Self-diffusiophoresis”, Langmuir, 30, 3477–3486 (2014).
  • Fuduo Ma, David T. Wu, and Ning Wu, “Formation of Colloidal Molecules Induced by AC Electric Fields”, Journal of the American Chemical Society135, 7839-7842 (2013).
  • Fuduo Ma, Sijia Wang, Lois Smith, Ning Wu, “Two-dimensional Assembly of Symmetric Colloidal Dimers under Electric Fields”, Advanced Functional Materials22, 4334-4343 (2012).

Google Scholar Citations Page

Honors and Awards

  • 2015 NSF CAREER Award