Principal Investigator Jian Cui
The nanoPROBE lab

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)

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

Our Approach

Creative combinations of engineered nanomaterials and nano-optical detection allow us to develop new platforms for measuring, and potentially controlling, biological processes in previously unexplored ways.

Dr. Jian Cui

Principal Investigator, Nanomaterials and Nanophotonics

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 PhD 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. 


Dr. Jian Cui

Positions and Career

2018 - present
Principal Investigator Helmholtz Pioneer Campus, Helmholtz Zentrum München

2017 - 2018
Junior Group Leader - ETH Zürich

2014 - 2016
Postdoctoral Fellow – ETH Zurich


PhD in Physical Chemistry – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

BS in Chemistry – Stanford University, USA


ETH Zurich and Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship

Member of USA Delegation to the 63rd Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Students

Materials Research Society Graduate Student Award (Silver)

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship


American Chemical Society
Materials Research Society


Dr. Nicolai Hoinka


Dr.rer.nat. in Physical Chemistry, University of Kassel, Germany
Focus: Applied Material Science
Doctoral Thesis: “Optical Amplification in Disordered Waveguiding Systems“

Dr. Luciano Santino


PhD in Chemistry, Washington University in St. Louis, USA
Focus: Materials Chemistry
Doctoral Thesis: "Self-assembly of conducting polymer nano- and microstructures for energy storage"

Dr. Fangyuan Song

PhD in Chemistry, University of Zurich, Switzerland 
Focus: Inorganic Chemistry
Doctoral Thesis: "Synthetic and Catalytic Investigations of Homo- and Heterometallic Cobalt Cubanes as Water Oxidation Catalysts"

PhD Students

Korneel Ridderbeek


MSc in Applied Physics, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands
Focus: Bio/Nanoscience and Technology
Master's Thesis: "Hyperelastic Collapse Mechanism in an Easy-to-follow Framework for Soft Lithography Engineers"

Ruyu Ma


MSc in Precision Instrument, Tsinghua University, China
Focus: Application of optical frequency combs
Master's thesis: "Angular velocity measurement with wide range based on dual-comb Sagnac interferometer"

Sapthagiri Sukumaran


MTech in Molecular Medicine, Amrita Center for Nanosciences and Molecular Medicine, India
Focus: Stem cells in regenerative medicine
Master's Thesis: "Characterization and investigation of  Extracellular vesicles from chondrogenically-primed MSCs - an investigation on the effect of Oxygen tensions"

Christine Tiringer


MSc in Biology, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany 
Focus: Neuroscience and Cell Biology
Master's Thesis: "iPSC-derived Human Astrocytes: Reprogramming into Neurons & Proteomic Analysis of LPS mediated Inflammation"


Marius Maibach


Selected Publications

Observation of Electron Shakeup in CdSe/CdS Core/Shell Nanoplatelets

Felipe V. Antolinez, Freddy T. Rabouw, Aurelio A. Rossinelli, Jian Cui, David J. Norris

Nano Lett. 2019, 19, 12, 8495–8502 November 5, 2019,

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Defect-Tolerant Plasmonic Elliptical Resonators for Long-Range Energy Transfer

Felipe V. Antolinez, Jan M. Winkler, Patrik Rohner, Stephan J. P. Kress, Robert C. Keitel, David K. Kim, Patricia Marqués-Gallego, Jian Cui, Freddy T. Rabouw, Dimos Poulikakos, David J. Norris

ACS Nano 2019, 13, 8, 9048–9056, July 11, 2019, doi.org10.1021 acsnano.9b03201

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A customizable class of colloidal-quantum-dot spasers and plasmonic amplifiers.

Kress SJP*, Cui J*, Rohner P, Kim DK, Antolinez FV, Zaininger KA, Jayanti SV, Richner P, McPeak KM, Poulikakos D, Norris DJ.
Sci Adv. 2017 Sep 22;3(9):e1700688. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1700688.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

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Direct Patterning of Colloidal Quantum-Dot Thin Films for Enhanced and Spectrally Selective Out-Coupling of Emission.

Prins F, Kim DK, Cui J, De Leo E, Spiegel LL, McPeak KM, Norris DJ.
Nano Lett. 2017 Mar 8;17(3):1319-1325. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b03212.

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Evolution of the Single-Nanocrystal Photoluminescence Linewidth with Size and Shell: Implications for Exciton-Phonon Coupling and the Optimization of Spectral Linewidths.

Cui J, Beyler AP, Coropceanu I, Cleary L, Avila TR, Chen Y, Cordero JM, Heathcote SL, Harris DK, Chen O, Cao J, Bawendi MG.
Nano Lett. 2016 Jan 13;16(1):289-96. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b03790.

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Deconstructing the photon stream from single nanocrystals: from binning to correlation.

Cui J, Beyler AP, Bischof TS, Wilson MW, Bawendi MG.
Chem Soc Rev. 2014 Feb 21;43(4):1287-310. doi: 10.1039/c3cs60330j.

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Direct probe of spectral inhomogeneity reveals synthetic tunability of single-nanocrystal spectral linewidths.

Cui J, Beyler AP, Marshall LF, Chen O, Harris DK, Wanger DD, Brokmann X, Bawendi MG.
Nat Chem. 2013 Jul;5(7):602-6. doi: 10.1038/nchem.1654.

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Extracting spectral dynamics from single chromophores in solution.

Marshall LF, Cui J, Brokmann X, Bawendi MG.
Phys Rev Lett. 2010 Jul 30;105(5):053005.

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Compact high-quality CdSe-CdS core-shell nanocrystals with narrow emission linewidths and suppressed blinking.

Chen O, Zhao J, Chauhan VP, Cui J, Wong C, Harris DK, Wei H, Han HS, Fukumura D, Jain RK, Bawendi MG.
Nat Mater. 2013 May;12(5):445-51. doi: 10.1038/nmat3539.

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Multistage nanoparticle delivery system for deep penetration into tumor tissue.

Wong C, Stylianopoulos T, Cui J, Martin J, Chauhan VP, Jiang W, Popovic Z, Jain RK, Bawendi MG, Fukumura D.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Feb 8;108(6):2426-31. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1018382108.

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Contact us

HPC contact Cui


Helmholtz Pioneer Campus
Helmholtz Zentrum München
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt (GmbH)

Ingolstädter Landstr. 1
85764 Neuherberg