Charles Dhong

Charles Dhong

Assistant Professor

Material Science and Engineering & Biomedical Engineering

Phone : (302) 831-2280


Charles Dhong’s research is interested in measuring or controlling the mechanical forces at biological interfaces. Biological interfaces, ranging from cells to the human sense of touch, are complex because they are soft and patterned. Although they are complex, controlling these biological interfaces are important in a range of applications, including basic biology, cancer detection, and virtual reality for the sense of touch. To achieve these goals, we build devices, perform simulations and modeling, and incorporate new materials including conductive polymers and graphene sensors.

Research Interests

Quantifying and Designing for the Sense of Touch

We seek to build devices that can convincingly recreate the human sense of touch. To achieve this goal, we are investigating the basic mechanical forces that generate tactile sensations. By identifying and quantifying these mechanical forces, we can identify materials and design devices that recreate arbitrary tactile sensations. These insights are important for many fields, from basic biology, remote surgery, training in virtual reality, to entertainment.

Mechanical Properties of Single Cells and Thin Tissues

The mechanical properties of cells and tissues are important biomarkers for diagnosing diseases and studying basic biology. However, directly measuring the mechanical properties of cells and tissues is difficult, especially with live cells and in a high-throughput manner. We develop platforms that can measure these properties in a convenient method that is orthogonal to many existing techniques.

Mechanical Forces in Complex Geometries and Deformable Interfaces

In nature, most systems are comprised of heterogenous and complex shapes, whereas most man-made objects are relatively simple and smooth. Although these systems in nature are more complex, the enhanced function of natural systems is often derived from these irregular shapes and deformable interfaces. We seek to recreate these complex geometries and provide experimental evidence to explain a variety of mechanical phenomena.

Representative Publications

  • Dhong, C., Miller, R., Root, N.B, Gupta, S., Kayser, L.V., Carpenter, C.W., Loh, K.J., Ramachandran, V.S., Lipomi, D.J., (2019) “Role of Indentation Depth and Contact Area on Human Perception of Softness for Haptic Interfaces”. Science Advances
  • Dhong, C., Kayser, L.V, Arroyo, R., Shin, A., Finn, M., Kleinschmidt, A.T, Lipomi, D.J. (2018), “Role of fingerprint-inspired relief structures in elastomeric slabs for detecting frictional differences arising from surface monolayers”. Soft Matter
  • Dhong, C., Edmunds S.J., Ramirez, J., Kayser., L.V., Chen, F., Jokerst, J.V., Lipomi, D.J., (2018) “Optics-free, non-contact measurement of fluids, particles, and bubbles in microchannels using metallic nanoislands on graphene”. Nano Letters
  • Wang, Y., Dhong, C., & Frechette, J. (2015). Out-of-contact elastohydrodynamic deformation due to lubrication forces. Physical Review Letters