Albert Liu

Assistant Professor

NCRC-B28 2001E


Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, MIT, 2020
B.S. in Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, 2014


Arming nano-electronics with mobility extends artificial systems into traditionally inaccessible environments. Albert’s prior work has established that carbon nanotubes (1D), graphene (2D) and other crystalline materials with well-defined lattice structures can be incorporated into polymer microparticles, granting them unique electronic functions. The resulting colloidal electronic ‘cells’ (ca. 10 μm in diameter), comprised of microscopic circuits connecting artificial ‘organelles’ (e.g., generators, sensors, logic gates, etc.), combine the modularity of modern electronics with the characteristic mobility found in dispersive colloidal systems. They perform autonomous functions integrating optical energy harvesting, chemical detection and digital memory recording – all within a form-factor no larger than biological cells.

The Liu laboratory seeks to advance device capabilities for individual colloidal electronic particles, and explores higher-order assemblies of these building-blocks into hierarchical colloidal electronic matter. This research program, positioned at the intersection between materials design, chemical catalysis, and electronic device fabrication, aims to address one central challenge: Can we build materials the way nature builds us? Biological scaffolds are constructed with long-range order that spans many orders of magnitude, affording control checkpoints not only at the molecular (e.g., protein) level, but also on the micro- (e.g., organelle) and meso- (e.g., cellular) scales. The ability to create ‘tissue’-like colloidal electronic matter, consisting of heterogeneously integrated electronic ‘cells’, will enable access to complex functions observed previously only in biological systems.


Early Career Advisory Board, ACS Materials Letters, American Chemical Society, 2020

Rising Star, IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society, 2020

MRS Graduate Student Award, Materials Research Society, 2020

Individual Accomplishment Citation, Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT, 2019

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award (for 10.65 – Chemical Reaction Engineering), MIT, 2019

Teaching Development Fellowship, MIT, 2018

Inorganic Materials Graduate Student Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineering, 2018

1st Place Team Award, Harvard Surgical Program in Innovation, Harvard Medical School, 2018

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award (for 10.50 – Analysis of Transport Phenomena), MIT, 2017

Carbon Nanomaterials Graduate Student Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineering, 2016

Presidential Graduate Fellowship, MIT, 2014

Jack E. Froehlich Memorial Award, Caltech, 2013