Principal Investigator


Dr. Qin Xu ( 许钦 ) is an assistant professor of physics at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). He received his Ph. D. in Physics at the Unversity of Chicago in 2015 under the supervision of Prof. Heinrich Jaeger. After leaving Chicago, he took a postdoc position in the SoftLab led by Prof. Eric Dufresne at Yale University. In the summer of 2016, he moved to Switzerland with the group to help build the Laboratory of Soft and Living Materials at ETH Zurich. In March 2020, he joined the physics department of HKUST as a faculty member.

Tel:       (+852) 23588591
Faculty Webpage:    HKUST Homepage             Academic Profile:    Google Scholar   

Professional Employment
2020. 3 – Current, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, HKUST, Hong Kong
2016. 8 – 2020. 2,  Postdoc, Department of Materials, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
2015. 8 – 2016. 6,  Postdoc, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Yale University, USA
2010. 9 – 2015. 7,  Research Assistant, Department of Physics and James Franck Institute, University of Chicago, USA

Dr. Yiqiu Zhao (RGC Postdoc Fellow)

Yiqiu joined our lab in August 2021. Yiqiu obtained his PhD in physics at Duke University in May 2020, advised by Dr. Robert Behringer and Dr. Joshua Socolar. During his PhD, Yiqiu worked on experiments to understand the physics of jamming in granular systems. Before joining the group, he spent one year with Dr. Jidong Zhao as a postdoc in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at HKUST, working on numerical studies of micromechanics of granular materials. Yiqiu has a broad interest in characterizing and understanding various types of critical phenomena in soft and disordered systems.

Dr. Caishan Yan (RTH Research Associate, co-advised with Karl Tism and Penger Tong)

Caishan received his B.S. degree in physics from Kuang Yaming Honors School of Nanjing University in 2016 and a Ph.D. degree in physics from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2022. Prior to joining our lab, his research was focused on the experimental investigation of interactions and dynamics at interfaces (especially with a solid surface). His research interests include wetting, nano- and micro-tribology, avalanche dynamics, liquid crystal, and biomechanics.

Haitao Hu (Ph.D. student)

MS in Mechanics, Harbin Institute of Technology (Joint master program with SUSTech)
BS in Engineering Mechanics, Huazhong University of Science and Technology

Research area: Complex fluids, Fluid Mechanics, Aerodynamics, Aeroacoustics

Weiwei Zhao (Ph.D. student)

MS in Aerospace engineering, Xi’an Jiaotong University
BS in Mechanical engineering, Northwest A&F University

Research area: Drop impact, interface dynamics, soft material, high-speed images.

Vaisakh V M (Ph. D. student)

A curious student with research experiences in thin films, liquid crystal- nanoparticle composites and biopolymers (collagen micro-networks). Driven by a passion to explore further in soft matter physics, ranging from theory & experiments to practical applications.

Current Research Interests: Soft Adhesion, Soft Wetting, Strain Dependent Surface Tension & Surface Deformation Studies.

Wenjie Qian (Ph.D. student)

MS in Mechanics, Jiangsu University
BS in Civil Engineering, Qingdao University of Technology

Research area: Soft material, Experimental mechanics, Interfacial mechanics, Optical measurement.

Chang Xu (Ph. D. Student)

Chang Xu obtained his B.S. Degree in Applied Physics in 2022 from the School of the Gifted Young at University of Science and Technology of China. His current research interests include nonlinear mechanics of soft interfaces, soft wetting, and photoelasticity.

BS in Applied Physics, University of Science and Technology of China.
Research area: soft wetting, mechanics of soft interfaces, photoelasticity

Mr. Kwok Fai YEUNG (Technical Officer)
who helps us on everything in the lab!


Jianhui Zhou (Undergraduate Researcher (2020 Summer – 2021 Fall)). Current: ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Law Wai Hong (Undergraduate Researcher (2021 Fall – 2022 Spring))

Lydia MaK (Undergraduate Researcher (2020 Fall – 2021 Summer)). Current: Delft University, Netherlands