Benjamin B. Yellen
Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials ScienceYellen's group is interested in developing highly parallel mechanisms for controlling the transport and assembly of ensembles of objects ranging from micron-sized colloidal particles to single cells. As of 2013, Professor Yellen is active in two main areas of research:
1) Development of single cell analysis tools using magnetic circuits. The goal of this project is to develop an automated single cell analysis platform that allows for highly flexible and highly parallel manipulation of single cells. Our approach draws inspiration from electronic circuit theory through the development highly flexible methods for transporting particles above magnetic thin film patterns either reversibly (conductor) or irreversibly (rectifier), storing cells in well-defined regions of space either temporarily (capacitor) or permanently (data storage), switching current pathways at selected junctions (transistor) and coordinating a large set of electronic functions with few input wires (multiplexer). When combined with microfluidic systems that allow for repeated doses of pharmaceuticals, we will have a developed a platform that is ripe to have a major impact on the field of HIV eradication and cancer suppression.
2) Multiparticle assembly of colloidal crystals. The goal of this project is to understand the formation and phase transitions occuring inside single crystals composed of alloys of colloidal particles. Here, we are interested in observing crystals forming from magnetic and non-magnetic colloidal particles dispersed inside ferrofluid. We are just beginning to solve the questions of how to grow large single crystals, and how to transform these crystals by tilting of an external magnetic field. The results of this project will serve as useful models for understanding how crystals form and transform in the corollary atomic scale materials in nature.
Appointments and Affiliations
- Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
- Office Location: 4304 Chesterfield Building, Box 90300, Durham, NC 27708
- Office Phone: (919) 660-8261
- Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ph.D. Drexel University, 2004
Research InterestsOur group currently has two main research activities. Project #1. Development of single cell random access memory. The goal of this project is to develop an automated system for reading and writing single cells (e.g., immune cells, yeast cells, etc.) to arbitrary sites on a micro fabricated chip. We then plan to query the behavior of single cells in response to pharmaceutical compounds and their interactions with other single cells. Finally, we are developing automated tools to extract single cells from the array for follow on gene analysis. Project #2. Phase transformations and dynamics in colloidal systems. The goal of this project is to study ensemble behavior in dense suspensions of magnetic colloidal particles. In particular, we are interested in studying phase transformations in alloys of magnetic and non-magnetic particles immersed in a ferrofluid. We are also interested in domain growth, and far from equilibrium behavior.
Micro-electronic mechanical machines
Nanomaterial manufacturing and characterization
Heat and mass transfer
- EGR 244L: Dynamics
- ME 391: Undergraduate Projects in Mechanical Engineering
- ME 392: Undergraduate Projects in Mechanical Engineering
- ME 491: Special Projects in Mechanical Engineering
- ME 492: Special Projects in Mechanical Engineering
- ME 517: Electromagnetic Processes in Fluids
- ME 555: Advanced Topics in Mechanical Engineering
- ME 591: Research Independent Study in Mechanical Engineering or Material Science
In the News
- Visualizing how matter changes from one state to another, on an atomic level (Mar 3, 2015)
- Microchip-Like Technology Allows Single-Cell Analysis (May 14, 2014)
- Ohiri, KA; Kelly, ST; Motschman, JD; Lin, KH; Wood, KC; Yellen, BB, An acoustofluidic trap and transfer approach for organizing a high density single cell array., Lab on a Chip, vol 18 no. 14 (2018), pp. 2124-2133 [10.1039/c8lc00196k] [abs].
- Pham, AT; Zhuang, Y; Detwiler, P; Socolar, JES; Charbonneau, P; Yellen, BB, Phase diagram and aggregation dynamics of a monolayer of paramagnetic colloids., Physical Review. E, vol 95 no. 5-1 (2017) [10.1103/physreve.95.052607] [abs].
- Joh, DY; McGuire, F; Abedini-Nassab, R; Andrews, JB; Achar, RK; Zimmers, Z; Mozhdehi, D; Blair, R; Albarghouthi, F; Oles, W; Richter, J; Fontes, CM; Hucknall, AM; Yellen, BB; Franklin, AD; Chilkoti, A, Poly(oligo(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate) Brushes on High-κ Metal Oxide Dielectric Surfaces for Bioelectrical Environments., Acs Applied Materials & Interfaces, vol 9 no. 6 (2017), pp. 5522-5529 [10.1021/acsami.6b15836] [abs].
- Pham, AT; Seto, R; Schönke, J; Joh, DY; Chilkoti, A; Fried, E; Yellen, BB, Crystallization kinetics of binary colloidal monolayers., Soft Matter, vol 12 no. 37 (2016), pp. 7735-7746 [10.1039/c6sm01072e] [abs].
- Abedini-Nassab, R; Joh, DY; Albarghouthi, F; Chilkoti, A; Murdoch, DM; Yellen, BB, Magnetophoretic transistors in a tri-axial magnetic field., Lab on a Chip, vol 16 no. 21 (2016), pp. 4181-4188 [10.1039/c6lc00878j] [abs].