College Introduction

The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) has been established at Shenzhen University to provide both undergraduate and postgraduate education, focusing on interdisciplinary teaching and research. As a special platform at Shenzhen University, IAS seeks to

Postgraduate Course

Yongxiang Gao

Ph.D,Principal Investigator


Address: Room 337, Administration Building, Shenzhen University, Nanhai Avenue 3688, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, China, 518060


2002.08 – 2008.11 PhD, Physics, McGill University, Canada

1998.09 – 2002.07 B.S., Physics, Jilin University, China

Research Experience

2017 – present  Principal Investigator, Institute for Advanced Study, Shenzhen University

2016 – 2017 Associate Professor, Xi'an Jiaotong University

2013 – 2016 Marie-Curie Fellow, University of Oxford

2012 – 2013 Postdoctor, University of California Santa Barbara

2010 – 2012 Postdoctor, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign

2008 – 2010 Postdoctor, The Australian National University


2018 Shenzhen Overseas High-Level Talent (Peacock Plan; Level C)

2017 ‘One hundred youth talents’ of Shaanxi Province

2016 “Young Talent Support Plan” of Xi'an Jiaotong University (B level)

2013 Marie-Curie Fellow

2007 Dow-Hickson Fellowship in Physics

Research Interests

Colloid Chemistry and Physics

Colloid Chemistry

Develop advanced chemical methods for controlling the morphology, surface chemistry and site-specific chemistry of colloids with high precision and synthesizing functional colloids

Colloid Physics


Control colloidal interactions, including entropic force, depletion interactions, electric and magnetic dipolar interactions; Design and discover new self-assembly principles for directing colloids spontaneously self-organize into specific ordered structures; Provide practical methods and knowledge base for low-cost and massive production of micro/nano structures.

Active colloids

Living matter, such as motor proteins, bacteria, ants and birds, gain active motion by constantly consuming energy at the individual level and display rich nonequilibrium dynamic and collective behaviors. These systems share similarities with vibrated grains and self-propelled colloids in their behaviors, which defy traditional equilibrium physics, and together are known as active matter. Using well-controlled self-propelled active colloids as model systems, we aim to unravel the physical principles underlying the behaviors of active matter, push forward the development of nonequilibrium statistical physics, and further predict and emulate the behaviors of living matter. Furthermore, we are interested in understanding how active colloids will influence self-assembly, crystallization and melting, and the microstructural dynamics and rheological properties of materials.

In addition, active colloids are also micro/nanorobots that have great application potentials in transportation and delivery on cellular or even smaller scales. We will develop stimuli-responsive and intelligent micro/nanorobotic systems that sense and respond to chemical, light, electric and magnetic fields, control their biomimetic functions and behaviors in locomotion, transportation, communication, cooperation and assembly, and explore their applications in the fields of medicine, environment and energy.

Research tools and skills

Colloidal synthesis and functionalization, electric and magnetic field, optical microscopy, optical tweezing, particle localization and tracking, rheology and micro-rheology, soft lithography and microfluidics, computer simulations and finite element analysis.

Research grants

2020-2021 The Innovation Program of Guangdong Provincial Department of Education

2019-2021 Shenzhen Overseas High-Level Talent Startup Fund

2018-2020 The Free Exploration Program of Natural Science Foundation of Shenzhen

2018-2021 The General Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China

2015-2016 John Fell OUP Research Fund from Oxford University

2013-2015 European commission “Marie-Curie Actions” International Incoming Fellowship

Group member

Associate Professor

Scott A. Edwards, PhD in Physics, Australian National University

Research interests: Physics of biomolecules; micro-scale fluid dynamics; electrokinetic flow phenomena

Personal website:

PLoS Comput Biol, 2012, 8, e1002509.

EPL, 2009, 85, 18008.

PRL, 2004, 92, 248303.

Research Associate Professor

Dr. Guanhua Lin (Shenzhen Overseas High-Level Talent), PhD in Physical Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Postdoc, National University of Singapore

Research Interests: Colloidal synthesis, self-assembly and applications

Personal website:

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces, 2020, 12, 50152.

ACS Nano, 2016, 10, 7443.

Nano Lett, 2016, 16, 1092.


Shuo Wang, PhD in Inorganic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Research Interests: Mechanisms of self-propulsion and collective dynamics of active colloids

Langmuir, 2021, accepted for publication.

Langmuir, 2021, 37, 1429..

Langmuir, 2019, 35, 2498..

Xuemao Zhou (Overseas Incoming Fellow of Guangdong), PhD in Physics, the University of Edinburgh

Research Interests: Self-propelled mechanism and dynamics of active colloids

Langmuir, 2021, 37, 1429.

Phys Rev E, 2011, 83, 041801.

Acta Phys Sin, 2011, 60, 036102.

Lijie Lei (Overseas Incoming Fellow of Guangdong), PhD in Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore

Research Interest: Computational active soft matter

Chin Phys B, 2021, 30, 056112.

J Non-Newton Fluid, 2018, 260, 163.

J Eng Gas Turb Power, 2014, 136, 041901.

Nan Yu, PhD in Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Research interest: Computational active soft Matter

Soft Matter, 2019, 15, 408.

Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 1319.

Majid Basharat, PhD in Chemistry, Beijing University of Chemical Technology

Research Interest: Light-driven active colloids

J Mater Chem C, 2020, 8, 13612

Mater Chem Front, 2020, 4, 3216

Polymer, 2019, 185, 121942

Muhammad Ikram, PhD in Physical Chemistry, Heilongjiang University

Research interest: MOF-based micromotors and their applications

J Mater Chem A, 2021, DOI: 10.1039/D1TA03578A.

Chem Mater, 2020, 32, 7215

J Mater Chem A, 2019, 7, 14602

Salah Eddine Ghellab, PhD in Chemical Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology

Research interest: Active colloids and their transportation

Phys Rev Lett, 2020, under revision.

Colloids and surfaces B: Biointerfaces. 2017, 160, 697.

Chem Phys Lett, 2018, 706, 515.

Nawishta Jabeen, PhD in Materials Science and Engineering, Nanjing University of Science and Technology

Research interest: Light-driven micromotors

Adv Mater, 2017, 32, 1700804.

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces, 2016, 09, 6093.

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces, 2016, 09, 33732.

Mohammad Tavakkoli Yaraki, PhD in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, National University of Singapore

Part Part Syst Charact, 2020, 2000027.

Phys Chem Chem Phys, 2020, 22, 5673.

Renew Sust Energ Rev, 2019, 107, 535.

Graduate Students

Xiyuan Zhang, 2019

Yurou Li, 2020

Undergraduate students

Jinyu Wu, 2017, PhD candidate of Zhejiang University

Aohan Li, 2017, PhD candidate of Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Science

Wenjie Lai, 2017

Zihao Wang, 2018

Feifan, Hu, 2018

Shengjie He, 2019

Yiyang Zhang, 2019

Yicheng Yang, 2019

Publications (*corresponding author)


A Rastmaneh, MT Yaraki*, J Wu, Z Wang, P Ghoderao, Y Gao* & YN Tan*, Bioinspired micro/nanomotors towards self-powered non-invasive diagnosis and treatment of cancer, Mol Syst Des Eng, under review.

ZH Shah, N Yu, S Wang, X Zhou, G Lin, SA Edwards, M Yang* and Y Gao*, Active self-assembly of colloidal machines with internal rotational degrees of freedom via coordination of phoresis and osmosis, under review.

S Wang, L Zhou, Y Gao*, Can bulk nanobubbles be stabilized by electrostatic interactions, under review.

X Zhou, S Wang, L Xian, Y Li, ZH Shah, G Lin & Y Gao*, Ionic effects in ionic diffusiophoresis of chemically-driven active colloids, under revision.

S Wang, L Zhou, X Wang, J Hu, L Pan, G Lin, Y Gao*, L Zhang*, C Wang*, Collective dynamics of bulk nanobubbles with size-dependent surface tension, Langmuir, accepted.

M Ikram, H Lv, Z Liu, K Shi*, Y Gao*, Hydrothermally derived p-n MoS2-ZnO from p-p MoS2-ZIF-8 for efficient detection of NO2 at room temperature, J Mater Chem A, accepted.

L Lei, S Wang, X Zhang, W Lai, J Wu & Y Gao*, Phoretic self-assembly of active colloidal molecules, Chin Phys B, 2021, 30, 056112.

S Wang, Y Chen, X Zhou, L Lei, ZH Shah, G Lin & Y Gao*, Magnetic manipulation and assembly of nonmagnetic colloidal rods in ferrofluid, Langmuir, 2021, 37, 1429.


ZH Shah, S Wang, L Xian, X Zhou, Y Chen, G Lin & Y Gao*, Highly efficient chemically-driven micromotors with controlled snowman-like morphology, Chem Comm, 2020, 56, 15301 (封面论文).

G Lin, L Xian, X Zhou, S Wang, ZH Shah, SA Edwards & Y Gao*, Design and One-Pot Synthesis of Capsid-Like Gold Colloids with Tunable Surface Roughness and Their Enhanced Sensing and Catalytic Performances, ACS Appl Mater Interfaces, 2020, 15,  50512.

C Zhou, N Suematsu, Y Peng, Q Wang, X Chen, Y Gao & W Wang, Coordinating an ensemble of chemical micromotors via a spontaneous synchronization, ACS nano, 2020, 14, 5360.


A Zottl, KE Klop, AK Balin, Y Gao, JM Yeomans & DGAL Aarts, Dynamics of individual Brownian rods in a microchannel flow, Soft Matter, 2019, 15, 5810.

Z Shah, X Xu, S Wang, Y Li, Y Chen, H Shan & Y Gao*, Synthesis of two-patch particles with controlled patch size via nonequilibrium solidification of droplets on rods, Polymer, 2019, 177, 91.

S Wang, L Zhou, X Wang, C Wang, Y Dong, Y Zhang, Y Gao, L Zhang & J Hu, Force spectroscopy revealed a high gas density state near the graphite substrate inside surface nanobubbles, Langmuir, 2019, 35, 2498.


J Abbott, J Spiers, Y Gao, RPA Dullens & DGAL Aarts, Colloidal rods in optical potential energy landscapes, J Phys D: Appl Phys, 2018, 52, 024002.

X Yao, Z Liu, M Ma, Y Chao, Y Gao & T Kong, Control of Particle Adsorption for Stability of Pickering Emulsions in Microfluidics, Small, 2018, 14, 1802902.

Y Gao*, RPA Dullens & DGAL Aarts, Bulk synthesis of silver-head colloidal rodlike micromotors, Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 7119 (封面论文)

Y Gao*, F Romano, RPA, Dullens, J Doye & DGAL Aarts, Directed self-assembly into low-density colloidal liquid crystal phases, PRMaterials, 2018, 2, 015601.


Y Gao*, V Farkas, RPA Dullens & DGAL Aarts, Structural disorder, filament growth and self-poisoning in short rods confined onto a flat wall, Soft Matter, 2017, 13, 8678 (封面论文)

Representative publications before joining Shenzhen University

Phys Rev Lett, 2015, 115, 248301.

Phys Rev Lett, 2007, 99, 078301.

Soft Matter, 2015, 11, 6360.

Opt Express, 2014, 22, 10046.

Opt Express, 2009, 17, 4685.

Alumni and their current positions

Zameer Hussain Shah, Postdoc (2017.11-2020.10), Postdoc at Delaware University

Yurou Li, Undergraduate (2020), Graduate student at Shenzhen University

Longbin Xian, Undergraduate (2020), Graduate student at Shenzhen University

Yi Chen, Undergraduate (2020), Graduate student at Shenzhen University

Lingjie Cui, Undergraduate (2020)

Ruyi Chen, Undergraduate (2020), Xinghuo Semi-Conductor Technology

Xinnan Xu, Undergraduate (2019), Master student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong

Hailin Zou, Undergraduate (2019), Master student at the Science and Technology University of Hong Kong

Huiyi Zhu, Undergraduate (2019), Master student at the Science and Technology University of Hong Kong

Yuqing Ma, Undergraduate (2019), Master student at Rice University, United States

Chengqi Wang, Undergraduate (2019), Dolby Laboratories

Hang Li, Undergraduate (2019), Civil servant of Guangzhou

Luotong Huang, Undergraduate (2018), Self-employment

Yuting Wang, Master, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Research assistant (2018), PhD student at Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Hongying Shan, Master, Oxford Brooks University, Research assistant (2017), Beijing University Shenzhen Hospital


We are always keen in recruiting highly-motivated students and postdocs.