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Ye Ai

Associate Professor

Website: https://people.sutd.edu.sg/~ye_ai/
Telephone: +65 6499 4553
Research Areas:
Bio-Medical Engineering, BioMedtech, Biosensors, Mechanobiology, Microfluidics and Microsystems

Pillar / Cluster: Engineering Product Development


Dr Ye Ai obtained his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China) in 2005, and his Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Old Dominion University (USA) in 2011. From 2005 to 2008, he worked as a research associate at Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics (China). Prior to joining SUTD as an assistant professor in 2013, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher and expanded his research in bioengineering at Los Alamos National Laboratory (USA). He was a visiting scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from August 2014 to July 2015. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in September 2019. He serves as Editorial Board Member of Elsevier Organs-on-a-chip and Editorial Advisory Board Member of ACS Analytical Chemistry. Dr Ai’s professional expertise lies on Micro/nanofluidics, BioMEMS and Lab-on-a-chip. His research aims to develop low cost and field-deployable devices for various biomedical, energy and environmental applications.

Education Background

  • PhD, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Old Dominion University, USA, 2011
  • BS, Mechanical Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China, 2005

Research Interests and Objectives

Micro/nanofluidics refers to a set of technologies that can precisely control ions, fluids or particles confined in micron and nanometer scale channels. Due to similar length sales and fluid environments, BioMEMS or Lab-on-a-chip devices based on micro/nanofluidics technology are ideally suited to manipulate and analyze biological entities for various bioanalytical applications. This intrinsically multidisciplinary research field lies at the interface between engineering, micro/nanofabrication, material, chemistry and biology, which has great potential to revolutionize the study of complex biological systems and also leads to the development of novel biomedical devices.

A primary objective of Dr Ai’s research is to explore unique physical phenomena associated with fluid flows at small length scales and their interactions with structures, electrics, acoustics, optics and magnetics. Dr Ai’s long-term research goal aims to apply the understandings and discoveries to develop novel micro/nanofluidics technologies and BioMEMS or Lab-on-a-chip devices with applications in biomedical analysis, healthcare, bioenergy and environmental monitoring. Dr Ai’s research group is also striving to translate their innovative micro/nanofluidics technologies to commercial market through collaborations with industry.

Key Publications

Book and Book Chapter

  1. Liang M.H., Zhong J.W., and Ai Y., Biosensors for Single-cell Mechanical Characterization. In Biosensors for Single-Cell Analysis, Elsevier Academic Press, 2022. Link
  2. Qian S. and Ai Y., Electrokinetic Particle Transport in Micro/Nanofluidics: Direct Numerical Simulation Analysis, CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group, ISBN: 9781439854389, Boca Raton, Florida, USA, 2012.
  3. Ai Y. and Qian S., Field Effect Control of Ion, Fluid, and Particle Transport in Micro/Nanofluidics. In Encyclopedia of Surface and Colloid Science, CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group, New York, USA, 2012.

Selected Journal Publications After Joining SUTD
Full List of Publication

  1. Liang L., Liang M.H., Zuo Z.W., and Ai Y., Label-free single-cell analysis in microdroplets using a light-scattering-based optofluidic chip, Biosensors & Bioelectronics, 2024, accepted.
  2. Liang M.H., Zhong J.W., Choo S.S., Agrawal R., and Ai Y., Intelligent image-based deformability assessment of red blood cells via dynamic shape classification, Sensors & Actuators B: Chemical, 2024: 135056. Link
  3. Chen J.H., Zhong J.W., Chang Y.F., Zhou Y.N., Koo S.H., Tan T.Y., Lei H.T., and Ai Y., Rapid and accurate antimicrobial susceptibility testing using label-free electrical impedance-based microfluidic platform, Small, 2023, 2303352. Link
  4. Zhong J.W., Liang M.H., and Ai Y., DUPLETS: Deformability-assisted dual-particle encapsulation via electrically activated sorting, Small Methods, 2023, 2300089. Link
  5. Chen J.H., Zhong J.W., Lei H.T., and Ai Y., Label-free multidimensional bacterial characterization with ultrawide detectable concentration by microfluidic impedance cytometry, Lab on a chip, 2023, 23: 5029-5038. Link
  6. Zhong J.W., Liang M.H., Tang Q., and Ai Y., Selectable encapsulated cell quantity in droplets via label-free electrical screening and impedance-activated sorting, Materials Today Bio, 2023: 100594. Link
  7. Liang M.H., Tang Q., Zhong J.W., and Ai Y., Machine learning empowered multi-stress level electromechanical phenotyping for high-dimensional single cell analysis, Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2023, 225: 115086. Link
  8. Liang, L., Hu X.J., Shi Y., Zhao S.K., Hu Q.H., Liang M.H., and Ai Y., Tunable and dynamic optofluidic microlens arrays based on droplets, Analytical Chemistry, 2022, 94 (43): 14938-14946. Link
  9. Liang M.H., Zhong J.W., and Ai Y., A systematic study of size correlation and Young’s modulus sensitivity for cellular mechanical phenotyping by microfluidic approaches, Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2022, 11: 2200628. Link
  10. Lu X.G. and Ai Y., An automatic microfluidic cell wash platform for purifying cells in suspension: Puriogen, Analytical Chemistry, 2022, 94(26): 9424–9433. Link (Featured on the cover page)
  11. Zhong J.W., Tang Q., Liang M.H., and Ai Y., Accurate profiling of blood components in microliter with position-insensitive coplanar electrodes-based cytometry, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 2022, 367:  132068. Link
  12. Zhong J.W., Li P.X., Liang M.H., and Ai Y., Label-free cell viability assay and enrichment of cryopreserved cells using microfluidic cytometry and on-demand sorting, Advanced Materials Technologies, 2022, 7: 2100906. Link
  13. Tayebi M., Yang D.H., Collins D.J., and Ai Y., Deterministic sorting of submicron particles and extracellular vesicles using a combined electric and acoustic field, Nano Letters, 2021, 21(16): 6835–6842. Link
  14. Zhong J.W., Liang M.H., and Ai Y., Submicron-precision particle characterization in microfluidic impedance cytometry with double differential electrodes, Lab on a Chip, 2021, 21: 2869-2880 (Featured on the cover page)Link
  15. Li P.X., Zhong J.W., Liu N., Lu X.G., Liang M.H., and Ai Y., Physical properties-based microparticle sorting at submicron resolution using a tunable acoustofluidic device, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 2021, 344: 130203. Link
  16. Lu X.G., Chow J.M., Koo S.H., Jiang B.R., Tan T.Y., Yang D.H., and Ai Y., Sheathless and high-throughput elasto-inertial bacterial sorting for enhancing molecular diagnosis of bloodstream infection, Lab on a Chip, 2021, 21: 2163-2177 (Featured on the cover page). Link
  17. Lu X.G, Tayebi M., and Ai Y., A low-cost and high-throughput benchtop cell sorter for isolating white blood cells from whole blood, Electrophoresis, 2021, accepted. Link
  18. Liang M.H., Yang D.H., Zhou Y.N., Li P.X., Zhong J.W., and Ai Y., Single cell stretching in viscoelastic fluids with electronically triggered imaging for cellular mechanical phenotyping, Analytical Chemistry, 2021, 93(10): 4567–4575. Link
  19. Li P.X. and Ai Y., Label-free multivariate biophysical phenotyping-activated acoustic sorting at the single-cell level, Analytical Chemistry, 2021, 93(8): 4108–4117. Link
  20. Zhong J.W., Yang D.H., Zhou Y.N., Liang M.H., and Ai Y., Multi-frequency single cell electrical impedance measurement for label-free cell viability analysis, Analyst, 2021, 146(6): 1781-2084 (Featured on the cover page)Link
  21. Lu X.G., Chow J.M., Koo S.H., Tan T.Y., Jiang B.R., and Ai Y., Enhanced molecular diagnosis of bloodstream Candida infection with size-based inertial sorting at submicron resolution, Analytical Chemistry, 2020, 92: 15579–15586. Link
  22. Zhou Y.N., Ma Z.C., and Ai Y., Submicron particle concentration and patterning with ultra-low frequency acoustic vibration, Analytical Chemistry, 2020, 92: 12795-12800. (Featured on the cover pageLink
  23. Ma Z.C., Zhou Y.N., Cai F.Y., Meng L., Zheng H.R., and Ai Y., Ultrasonic microstreaming for complex-trajectory transport and rotation of single particles and cells, Lab on a Chip, 2020, 20(16): 2947-2953. Link
  24. Xu C.P., Ai Y., Zheng T.F., and Wang C.H., Acoustic manipulation of breathing MOFs particles for self-folding polymer film preparation, Sensors and Actuators: A. Physical, 2020, 315: 112288. Link
  25. Tayebi M., Zhou Y.N., Tripathi P., Chandramohanadas R., and Ai Y., Exosome purification and analysis using a facile microfluidic hydrodynamic trapping device, Analytical Chemistry, 2020, 92(15): 10733-10742. Link
  26. Devendran C., Choi K.Y., Han J., Ai Y., Neild A., Collins D., Diffraction-based acoustic manipulation in microchannels enables continuous particle and bacteria focusing, Lab on a Chip, 2020, 20(15): 2674-2688. Link
  27. Zhou Y.N., Wang H., Ma Z.C., Yang J.K.W. and Ai Y., Acoustic vibration-induced actuation of multiple micro-rotors in microfluidics, Advanced Materials Technologies, 2020, 2000323. Link
  28. Raymond S., Collins D.J., O’Rorke R., Taybi M., Ai Y., and Williams J., A deep learning approach for designed diffraction-based acoustic patterning in microchannels, Scientific Reports, 2020, 10: 8745. Link
  29. O’Rorke R., Winkler A., Collins D.J., and Ai Y., Slowness curve surface acoustic wave transducers for optimized acoustic streaming, RSC Advances2020, 10: 11582 – 1158. Link
  30. Taybi M., O’Rorke R., Wong H.C., Low H.Y., Han J., Collins D.J., and Ai Y., Massively multiplexed sub-micron particle patterning in acoustically driven oscillating nanocavities, Small, 2020: 2000462. (Featured on the cover page and in Phys.org; EurekAlert Science News; Nano WerkSUTD NewsLink
  31. Zhou Y.N., Ma Z.C., and Ai Y., Dynamically tunable elasto-inertial particle focusing and sorting in microfluidics, Lab on a Chip, 2020, 20: 568-581. Link
  32. Li P.X., Liang M.H., Lu X.G., Chow J.M., Ramachandra C.J.A., and Ai Y., Sheathless acoustic fluorescence activated cell sorting (aFACS) with high cell viability, Analytical Chemistry, 2019, 91(24): 15425-15435. (Featured in Phys.org; EurekAlert Science News; Bioengineer; SUTD News). Link
  33. Collins D.J., O’Rorke R., Neild A., Han J., and Ai Y., Acoustic fields and microfluidic patterning around embedded micro-structures subject to surface acoustic waves, Soft Matter, 2019, 15(43): 8691-8705. (Featured on the cover page) Link
  34. Zhou Y.N., Ma Z.C., and Ai Y., Hybrid microfluidic sorting of rare cells based on high throughput inertial focusing and high accuracy acoustic manipulation, RSC Advances, 2019, 9: 31186-31195. Link
  35. Yang D.H. and Ai Y., Microfluidic impedance cytometry with N-shaped electrodes for lateral position measurement of single cells/particles, Lab on a Chip, 2019, 19: 3609-3617. (This article is part of the themed collection: Lab on a Chip Emerging Investigators, Lab Chip Blog, also featured on the cover page and in Phys.org; EurekAlert Science News; SciTechDaily; Bioengineer; SUTD NewsLink
  36. Taybi M., Tavakkoli Yaraki M., Yang H.Y., and Ai Y., A MoS2-MWCNT based fluorometric nanosensor for exosome detection and quantification, Nanoscale Advances, 2019, 1: 2866-2872. (Featured on the cover page) Link
  37. Li P.X., Ma Z.C., Zhou Y.N., Collins D.J., Wang Z.F., and Ai Y., Detachable acoustophoretic system for fluorescence activated sorting at the single-droplet level, Analytical Chemistry, 2019, 91(15): 9970-9977. (Featured on the cover page and SUTD NewsLink
  38. Zhou Y.N., Ma Z.C., Tayebi M., and Ai Y., Submicron particle focusing and exosome sorting by wavy microchannel structures within viscoelastic fluids, Analytical Chemistry, 2019, 91(7): 4577-4584. Link
  39. Yang D.H., Zhou Y., Zhou Y.N., Han J., and Ai Y., Biophysical phenotyping of single cells using a differential multiconstriction microfluidic device with self-aligned 3D electrodes, Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2019, 133: 16-23. Link
  40. O’Rorke R., Collins D.J., and Ai Y., A rapid and meshless analytical model of acoustofluidic pressure fields for waveguide design, Biomicrofluidics, 2018, 12: 024104. Link
  41. Zhou Y.N., Ma Z.C., and Ai Y., Sheathless inertial cell focusing and sorting with serial reverse wavy channel structures, Microsystems & Nanoengineering, 2018, 4: 5. Link (Featured in Science DailyEurekAlert Science NewsPhys.org)
  42. Collins D.J., O’Rorke R., Devendran C., Ma Z.C., Neild A., Han J., and Ai Y., Self-aligned acoustofluidic particle focusing and patterning in microfluidic channels from channel based acoustic waveguides, Physical Review Letters, 2018, 120(7): 074502.Link (Highlighted by the editors as an Editors’ Suggestion and Featured in Physics)
  43. Zhou Y., Yang D.H., Zhou Y.N., Khoo B.L., Han J., and Ai Y., Characterizing deformability and electrical impedance of cancer cells in a microfluidic device, Analytical Chemistry, 2018, 90: 912-919. Link
  44. Ma Z.C., Zhou Y.N., Collins D.J., and Ai Y., Fluorescence activated cell sorting via a focused traveling surface acoustic beam, Lab on a Chip, 2017, 17: 3176-3185. Link (Featured in Science Daily; EurekAlert Science NewsPhys.orgMedgadgetAsian Scientist Magazine)
  45. Yang D.H., Subramanian G., Duan J.M., Gao S.B., Bai L., Chandramohanadas R., and Ai Y., A portable image-based cytometer for rapid malaria detection and quantification, PLOS One, 2017, 12(6): e0179161. Link (Featured in The Straits Times)
  46. Kishor R., Ma Z.C., Sreejith S., Seah Y.P., Wang H.Y., Ai Y., Wang Z.F., Lim T.T., and Zheng Y.J., Real time size-dependent particle segregation and detection in a surface acoustic wave-photoacoustic integrated microfluidic system, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 2017, 252: 568-576. Link
  47. Collins D.J., Khoo B.L., Ma Z.C., Winkler A., Weser R., Schmidt H., Han J.Y., and Ai Y., Selective particle and cell capture in a continuous flow using micro-vortex acoustic streaming, Lab on a Chip, 2017, 17: 1769-1777. Link
  48. Devendran C., Collins D.J., Ai Y., and Neild A., Huygens-Fresnel acoustic self-interaction and the development of robust time-averaged patterns from travelling surface acoustic waves, Physical Review Letters, 2017, 118: 154501. Link
  49. Chen F.M., Ai Y., and Yang H.Y., Boron detection and quantification based on the absorption spectra of pyridoxine and its boron complex, Environmental Chemistry, 2017, 14: 135-140. Link
  50. Xi H.D., Zheng H., Guo W., Ganan-Calvo A.M., Ai Y., Tsao C.W., Zhou J., Li W.H., Huang Y.Y., Nguyen N.T., and Tan S.H., Active droplet sorting in microfluidics: a review, Lab on a Chip, 2017, 17: 751-771. Link
  51. Ma Z.C., Collins D.J., and Ai Y., Single-actuator bandpass microparticle filtration via traveling surface acoustic waves, Colloids and Interface Science Communications, 2017, 16: 6-9. Link
  52. Collins D.J., Ma Z.C., Han J.Y., and Ai Y., Continuous micro-vortex-based nanoparticle manipulation via focused surface acoustic waves, Lab on a Chip, 2017, 17: 91–103. (Featured as the front cover article) Link
  53. Ma Z.C., Collins D.J., Guo J.H., and Ai Y., Mechanical properties based particle separation via traveling surface acoustic wave, Analytical Chemistry, 2016, 88 (23): 11844–11851. Link
  54. Ma Z.C., Teo A.J.T., Tan S.H., Ai Y., and Nguyen N.T., Self-aligned interdigitated transducers for acoustofluidics, Micromachines, 2016, 7: 216. (Featured as the front cover article) Link
  55. Yang D.H., Taybi M., Huang Y.X., Yang H.Y., and Ai Y., A microfluidic DNA sensor based on three dimensional (3D) hierarchical MoS2/carbon nanotube nanocomposites, Sensors, 2016, 16: 1911. Link
  56. Ng J.A., Collins D.J., Devendran C., Ai Y. and Neild A., Flow-rate insensitive deterministic particle sorting using a combination of travelling and standing surface acoustic waves, Microfluidics and Nanofluidics, 2016, 20: 151. Link
  57. Collins D.J., Devendran C., Ma Z.C., Ng J.A., Neild A., and Ai Y., Acoustic tweezers via sub time-of-flight regime surface acoustic waves, Science Advances, 2016, 2: e1600089. Link
  58. Fakhfouri A., Devendran C., Collins D.J., Ai Y. and Neild A., Virtual membrane for filtration of particles using surface acoustic waves (SAW), Lab on a Chip, 2016, 16: 3515-3523. Link
  59. Collins D.J., Ma Z.C., and Ai Y., Highly localized acoustic streaming and size-selective sub-micron particle concentration using high frequency microscale focused acoustic fields, Analytical Chemistry, 2016, 88: 5513–5522. Link
  60. Ma Z.C., Collins D.J., and Ai Y., A detachable acoustofluidic system for particle separation via a travelling surface acoustic wave, Analytical Chemistry, 2016, 88: 5316–5323. Link
  61. Collins D.J., Neild A., and Ai Y., Highly focused high-frequency travelling surface acoustic waves (SAW) for rapid single-particle sorting, Lab on a Chip, 2016, 16: 471-479. (Featured as the front cover article) Link
  62. Huang Y.X., Guo J.H., Kang Y.J., Ai Y., and Li C.M., Preparation of two dimensional atomically thin MoS2 nanosheets and their sensing applications, Nanoscale, 2015, 7: 19358-19376. Link
  63. Collins D.J., Neild A., deMello A., Liu A.Q., and Ai Y., The Poisson distribution and beyond: methods for microfluidic droplet production and single cell encapsulation, Lab on a Chip, 2015, 15: 3439-3459. Link
  64. Guo J.H., Kang Y.J.,and Ai Y., Radiation dominated acoustophoresis driven by surface acoustic waves, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 2015, 455(1): 203-211. Link
  65. Ma Z.C., Guo J.H., Liu Y.J., and Ai Y., The patterning mechanism of carbon nanotubes using surface acoustic waves: the acoustic radiation effect or the dielectrophoretic effect, Nanoscale, 2015, 7: 14047-14054. Link
  66. Guo J.H., Huang X.W., and Ai Y., On-demand lensless single cell imaging activated by differential resistive pulse sensing, Analytical Chemistry, 2015, 87: 6516-6519. Link
  67. Huang Y.X., Yang H.Y., and Ai Y., DNA single-base mismatch study using graphene oxide nanosheets based fluorometric biosensor, Analytical Chemistry, 2015, 87 (18): 9132–9136. Link
  68. Guo J.H., Liu X.H., Kang K., Ai Y., Wang Z.M., and Kang Y.J., A compact optofluidic cytometer for detection and enumeration of tumor cells, Journal of Lightwave Technology, 2015, 33(16): 3433-3438. Link
  69. Huang Y.X., Shi Y.M., Yang H.Y., and Ai Y., A novel single-layered MoS2 nanosheets based microfluidic biosensor for ultrasensitive detection of DNA, Nanoscale, 2015, 7: 2245-2249. Link
  70. Guo J.H., Chen L., Ai Y., Chen Y.B., Li C.M., Kang Y.J., and Wang Z.M., Numerical and experimental characterization of solid-state micropore-based cytometer for detection and enumeration of biological cells, Electrophoresis, 2015, 36(5): 737-743. Link
  71. Puttaswamy S.V., Xue P., Kang Y.J., and Ai Y., Simple and low cost integration of highly conductive three-dimensional electrodes in microfluidic devices, Biomedical Microdevices, 2015, 17: 4. Link
  72. Ai Y., Zeng Z.P., and Qian S., Direct numerical simulation of AC dielectrophoretic particle-particle interactive motions, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 2014, 417: 72−79. (Featured as the front cover article) Link
  73. Ai Y., Sanders C.K., and Marrone B.L., Separation of E. coli bacteria from peripheral blood mononuclear cells using standing surface acoustic waves, Analytical Chemistry, 2013, 85(19): 9126−9134. Link
Multiple Research Positions Available (!!NEW!!)

The Applied Bio-Microfluidics Laboratory at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) has multiple research positions available in developing new microfluidic technologies for clinical applications. Successful candidates will work in an interdisciplinary and collaborative team to develop novel microfluidic devices for single cell analysis and sorting.

Research Fellow should have a Ph.D. degree with a strong background in microfluidics and microfabrication. Priority will be given to candidates who have demonstrated the application of microfluidics for cell manipulation and analysis. Working experience in cell culture is preferred. The successful candidate should have good communication and writing skills.

Research Assistant should have a B.S. degree with experience in optical design and 3D printing for rapid prototyping. Priority will be given to candidates who have basic knowledge in microfluidics and cell sample handling. The successful candidate should have good communication and writing skills.

Interested candidates are requested to send the following materials to Dr. Ai at aiye@sutd.edu.sg: 1) a cover letter highlighting research interests and potential match for the aforementioned expertise; 2) a recent CV with a list of publications; 3) copies of up to three relevant scientific papers; 4) 3 letters of recommendation.

Closing date: 31 May 2022 (NEW!!!)

PhD Scholarship Available

Fully funded PhD student positions (SUTD Fellowship and SUTD-MIT SMART Graduate Fellowship) are available in my group. Please contact Dr. Ai at aiye@sutd.edu.sg for more details.

Media Report

Dr. Ye Ai has been listed among the Top 2% Scientists in a Global List by Stanford University

Precise acousto-electric sorting of submicron cell-secreted extracellular vesicles

Our novel acoustofluidic technology for massively multiplexed submicron particle trapping within nanocavities at the single-particle level

Our sheathless acoustic fluorescence activated cell sorting (aFACS) system that can isolate fragile cells with high purity and viability

Dr. Ye Ai has been selected as an Emerging Investigator by Lab on a Chip in 2019

Simultaneous measurement of biophysical properties and position of single cells in a microdevice

Our new microfluidic fluorescence-activated droplet sorting system that can isolate single-cell droplets with high accuracy and high yield 

Flowing cells in a wavy microchannel for effective size-based cell sorting

Interview by APS TV - Developing innovative microfluidic technologies to advance biological study and diagnosis

Interview by #WeAreSUTD - Making Waves in Bio-Microfluidics: A Breakthrough Technology

Our work on the use of channel-based waveguide for self-aligned particle patterning has been highlighted as an Editors’ Suggestion and featured in Physics

Our work on the development of single cell level sorting technology using sound waves has been featured by several scientific portals

Our collaborative work on the development of a portable image-based flow cytometer for rapid malaria detection and quantification has been featured by The Straits Times

Graduate Students Available

The SUTD-CGU Dual Masters Programme in Nano-Electronic Engineering and Design (NEED) is an 18-month, full-time programme established in collaboration with SUTD and Chang Gung University (CGU). More details can be found here. A list of projects under the NEED program can be found here.