Research Associate Professor
Office: ISA 5004
Lab: FCASST II ISA 5043 & CIFM IV ISA 5048
Ph.D. Engineering Physics, 2006, University of Bristol, England
- Nanomagnetism and Nanospintronics
- Smart Sensor Materials and Technologies
- Multicaloric Nanomaterials
- Complex Oxides
- Multiferroic Thin Films and Heterostructures
- Magnetic Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications
Dr. Phan’s research interests span a wide range of experimental and theoretical topics in magnetic materials and nanomagnetism. He leads efforts in the development of functional magnetic materials with magnetocaloric and magnetoimpedance effects for energy-efficient magnetic refrigeration and smart sensor technologies.
Recently, his group has successfully integrated the radio-frequency magnetoimpedance technology with superparamagnetic nanoparticles to develop a novel biosensing platform for quick, reliable, and sensitive detection of cancer cells and biomolecules. This biosensor demonstrates a sensitivity level comparable to that of a SQUID-based biosensor. It is cryogen-free and operates at room temperature, providing a promising avenue to the development of low-cost highly sensitive biosensors. The biosensor has been successfully employed to detect and quantify various bioanalytes, such as Curcumin-type anticancer drugs, bovine serum albumen (BSA) proteins, and Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) cancer cells that have taken up surface-functionalized iron oxide nanoparticles. Since the iron oxide nanoparticles are widely used as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents, the newly developed biosensing technique can also be used as a new, low-cost, fast and easy pre-detection method before MRI.
In addition, the group has developed a new class of microwave energy sensors using the Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) technology and a soft ferromagnetic glass-coated amorphous microwire as a microwave absorber. The ferromagnetic microwire absorbs microwave energy and heats up, thus raising the temperature of the FBG. As compared to a similar sensor that uses gold to absorb electromagnetic radiation, this newly developed sensor shows a greater sensitivity relative to the perturbation of the microwave field. Since the sensor is physically small and minimally perturbs the field being measured, it can be deployed as a distributed sensor.