Research Dr. Jian Cui

Short Bio

Dr. Jian Cui was born in China and moved to the United States at the age of 5. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from Stanford University, while performing undergraduate research in single-molecule biophysical chemistry with Professor W. E. Moerner (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2014). He then obtained his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from MIT under Professor Moungi Bawendi, where he worked on a new optical method that combines interferometry and single-photon counting, to study the photoluminescence spectra of semiconductor nanoparticles. Subsequently, he pursued postdoctoral research in the Optical Materials Engineering Laboratory of Professor David Norris at ETH Zürich, working on the fabrication and characterization of miniaturized optical devices in the field of plasmonics and nanophotonics. He will join the Helmholtz Pioneer Campus in October, 2018.


The most compelling characteristic of nanoscale materials is the emergence of different physical phenomena upon the shrinking of dimensions. We are interested in exploiting these unique properties of the nanoscopic world to develop a new toolkit that will help us understand, and perhaps ultimately control, biological systems.

We are a diverse team of researchers asking interdisciplinary questions, and engaging in multidisciplinary approaches, in the hopes of achieving transdisciplinary outcomes (transcending disciplines).1

1Choi et al. Multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity in health research, services, education and policy: 1. Definitions, objectives, and evidence of effectiveness. Clin. Invest. Med. 2006

Image courtesy of Jian Cui

Selected Publications

Plasmonics and Nanophotonics

Kress SJP*, Cui J*, Rohner P, Kim DK, Antolinez FV, Zaininger K-A, Jayanti SV, Richner P, McPeak KM, Poulikakos D, Norris DJ. A customizable class of colloidal-quantum-dot spasers and plasmonic amplifiers. Science Adv. 3, e1700688 (2017).

Prins F*, Kim DK*, Cui J, De Leo E, Spiegel LL, McPeak KM, Norris DJ. Direct Patterning of Colloidal Quantum-Dot Thin Films for Enhanced and Spectrally Selective Out-Coupling of Emission. Nano Lett. 17, 1319–1325 (2017).

Optical Spectroscopy of Nanomaterials

Cui J, Beyler AP, Coropceanu I, Cleary L, Avila TR, Chen Y, Cordero JM, Heathcote SL, Harris DK, Chen O, Cao J, and Bawendi MG. Evolution of the Single-Nanocrystal Photoluminescence Linewidth with Size and Shell: Implications for Exciton-Phonon Coupling and the Optimization of Spectral Linewidths. Nano Lett. 16, 289–296 (2016).

Cui J, Beyler AP, Bischof TS, Wilson MWB, and Bawendi MG. Deconstructing the Photon Stream From Single Nanocrystals: Binning to Correlation. Chem. Soc. Rev. 43, 1287–1310 (2014).

Cui J, Beyler AP, Marshall LF, Chen O, Harris DK, Wanger DD, Brokmann X, and Bawendi MG. Direct Probe of Spectral Inhomogeneity Reveals Synthetic Tunability of Single-Nanocrystal Spectral Linewidths. Nature Chem. 5, 602–606 (2013).

Marshall LF, Cui J, Brokmann X, and Bawendi MG Extracting Spectral Dynamics from Single Chromophores in Solution. Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 053005 (2010).

Nanomaterials Synthesis and Biological Applications

Chen O, Zhao J, Chauhan VP, Cui J, Wong C, Harris DK, Wei He, Han HS, Fukumura D, Jain RK, and Bawendi MG. Compact high-quality CdSe-CdS core-shell nanocrystals with narrow emission linewidths and suppressed blinking. Nature Mater. 12, 445–451 (2013).

Wong C, Stylianopoulos T, Cui J, Martin J, Chauhan VP, Jiang W, Popovic Z, Jain RK, Bawendi MG, and Fukumura D. Multistage nanoparticle delivery system for deep penetration into tumor tissue. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. (USA) 108, 2426–2431 (2011).

Join the Team

Adventurous spirits are invited to inquire about PhD or postdoc positions. Help build a team that fosters a culture ripe for invention and discovery! A background in any field of science or engineering is desired, but curiosity, motivation, and imagination are the real requirements. Given that research is a human enterprise, we recognize the individuality and humanity of each member of the team, and are committed to supporting their development and growth towards reaching their potential.


Dr. Jian Cui
Team Leader

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