Dr. Zhong Lin Wang, Georgia Institute of Technology (Podcast and Interview Transcript)

Recorded from an earlier interview.

Select, related slides are Slides from Georgia Institute of Technology.

BlogTalkRadio

Lisa Padilla: Good morning. It’s 08:32 AM Pacific Time on Friday, narrowly escaping Friday the 13th today so 12th 2008 and we are talking with Dr. Zhong Lin Wang today who is Regents’ Professor of the School of Materials Science and Engineering for the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. And he is joining us today to give us his thoughts and ideas about biomimicry and the future of technology. And I see on my switchboard that Dr. Wang has called in so let’s see if I can bring him in. Dr. Wang, are you there?

Dr. Wang: Yes. Can you hear me?

Lisa Padilla: I can hear you just fine. Thank you very much, it works out very well that you can call me. We are actually doing a dual live broadcast because the phone call is another audio technology that doesn’t do live videos but does fantastic audio and I just have to give some — to those guys just. This is going to be a show about technology and I am comparing Ustream versus the audio platform BlogTalkRadio. And Ustream has some very attractive features to it and you can see the UI feels comfortable and they are meant for live broadcast but definitely more on the video side. So Dr. Wang, enough about that, let’s talk about you because I know we are riding a little bit late and I want to be sure that if we run past let’s see what is noon your time that–

Dr. Wang: Okay I have till 2 o’clock.

Lisa Padilla: Okay no problem. One second, okay. So are you on the Ustream site now?

Dr. Wang: Yeah you mean the video right?

Lisa Padilla: Yeah the video. Why don’t we go ahead and start the broadcast?

(Informal Talk)

Lisa Padilla: Okay. So let’s start with you introducing yourself and then I can just step through these questions with you. How does that sound?

(Informal Talk)

Lisa Padilla: Okay so go ahead, let’s just get started. Why don’t we start by having you introduce yourself.

Dr. Wang: Okay. My name is Dr. Zhong Lin Wang, people normally call me by my two initials ZL Wang. I am Regents’ Professor at Georgia Tech, and my expertise is in nanotechnology nanomaterials. My personal background is in physics. I received PhD from Arizona State University in 1987 and I have been a professor at Georgia Tech for the last 15 years, and my main research is on nanotechnology and some related to energy research in Biotechnology.

Lisa Padilla: Fantastic. And you are widely cited as an expert in this field and involved in many projects globally and there is a couple that we will get into. And maybe it will be most natural to talk about those two projects that I mentioned earlier after we sort of investigate the question about your inspiration for studying in this field and your work in biomimicry?

Dr. Wang: We have several projects going on and the first one is related to energy holistic and the second project that is biomimetic applications, and let me come to the first project for the energy. I have been involved in nanotechnology over last 15 years, we build all kind of nano-devices for biological sensing, gas sensing, chemical sensing, and various devices. One key challenging question came to my mind a few years ago that if you build those devices, how are you going to power that because these devices are very small, power consumption is extremely low. So the key question is that can we have energy from environment so that we don’t need to use a battery so this little device can be sustainable working, wireless remotely for whatever time you expect it. So with this in my mind we started research in energy harvesting and that’s one of my major research project today. The second project is related to biomimic. We utilize biological species to fabricate new materials and let me probably use a couple of photographs to show you our research. And what I have here is if you can see this is a butterfly wing, right. Do you see the butterfly wing? And if you see this picture here, this is a scanning electron microscope image of the butterfly wing. This has unique colors and what we try to do is that can we replicate these butterfly wings to make new photonic devices. And biological species have the most advanced, most unique and most optimized structures that have photonic, many, many different properties so I will go can we replicate this to make new photonic devices that we are unable to fabricate by our own. So that was one of the inspiration to do this biomimic studies. So that would be a very brief overview of the two topics we do now, and let me elaborate a little bit on the energy side. Why do we need a small power source for applications involved? If you have a biological (Indiscernible) sensor, cancer detections, biological species detections, you are unable to have a battery to run in your body to drive these devices. Over a big scope, can you replace the battery that run the pacemaker by the energy generated from your heart beating, from your blood flow, from your body movement, your muscle movement. If we can have this energy, you can power some biological sensors, and this is one of our motivations to develop this energy harvesting technology.

Lisa Padilla: And Dr. Wang can you elaborate a little bit on application of being able to replicate how replicating the colors in those wings and in optical splitters might switch us from computer chips that are predominant today? [Full article]