Skip to main content

Orlin Velev

S. Frank and Doris Culberson Distinguished Professor

Engineering Building I (EB1) 2030



Professor Orlin Velev has established a record of innovative interdisciplinary studies, creativity and intellectual leadership in colloid science, nanoscience, and microfluidics. His key contributions are in the area of colloidal assembly. His group advanced the field of directed and programmed colloidal assembly by using electric fields to make structures out of nanoparticles, microspheres, Janus and patchy particles. Velev’s group has also recently discovered and developed new types of self-propelling microdevices, gel-based photovoltaic cells, soft robotic hydrogel actuators and microbot prototypes. His earlier research achievements include the first report of convective assembly of 2D colloidal crystals, the first templated fabrication of “colloidosome” and supraparticle clusters and the synthesis of “inverse opal” structures.

For more information, visit Prof. Velev’s personal academic website


Nanocapillary Liquid Bridging: Making Ultraflexible Nanoparticle Filaments and Reconfigurable Gel Networks (2014-)
Velev’s group discovered a new class of materials where ultraflexible filaments are assembled from magnetic nanoparticles wetted by liquid and bound by capillarity. The superparamagnetic nanoparticles used as structural units are covered by condensed lipid films, which form nanocapillary liquid bridges between them. These new soft and magnetically responsive structures can be dynamically reconfigured and used in magnetically self-repairing gels and new types of inks for 3D printing.
Representative publications: Adv. Mater. 29, 1701554 (2017); JACS, 138, 14948 (2016); Nature Mater., 14, 1104 (2015); Faraday Discuss., 181, 437 (2015).


Directed and programmed electric and magnetic field assembly (2006-)
The group has performed extensive work in using electric and magnetic fields as a tool for on-chip assembly and manipulation of nanoparticles, microparticles, and live cells. Their research has been among the first to focus on Janus, patchy and cubic metallodielectric particles. A new AC-electrokinetic mobility mode of Janus metallodielectric particles was discovered. Means to form percolated networks by induced multipolar interactions hold promise for numerous new materials.
Representative publications: Small, 12, 2283 (2016); Langmuir, 31, 7897 (2015); Langmuir, 30, 6577 (2014); Sci. Rep., 2:1004 (2012); Soft Mater, 6, 1413 (2010); Soft Matter, 5, 1285 (2009); Langmuir, 24, 13312 (2008); Soft Mater, 2, 738 (2006); Science, 294, 1082 (2001).


Active particles: Self-propelling microcircuits, novel functional motile particles and microbots (2007-)
Velev’s group has demonstrated how miniature semiconductor diode “particles” suspended in water propel themselves electroosmotically. The diodes suggest rudimentary solutions to problems facing self-propelling microdevices, including harvesting power from external sources, internally controlled movement, and can be steered remotely.
Representative publications: Science Adv. 3, e1701108 Adv. Funct. Mater., 25, 5512 (2015); Langmuir, 28, 10128 (2012); Annu. Rep. Prog. Chem., Sect. C, 105, 213 (2009); Phys. Rev. Lett., 100, 058302 (2008); Nature Mater., 6, 235 (2007).


New types of electronic, photovoltaic and soft robotic devices based on aqueous soft matter (2007-)
Velev is a leader in the emerging research area of constructing biomimetic circuits, solar cell and “soft robots” from hydrogels. The latest research revealed new hydrogel actuators, “walkers” and soft robotic prototypes.
Representative publications: Soft Matter, 10, 1337 (2014); Nature Comm., 4, 2257 (2013); Sci. Rep., 3, 2357 (2013); Biomicrofluidics, 7, 031501 (2013); Adv. Mater, 23, 3559 (2011); Small, 6, 1393 (2010); JACS, 129, 10801 (2007).


Scalable liquid nanofabrication of nanofibers and environmentally benign nanoparticles (2006-)
Velev and collaborators have developed a number of scalable, rapid and cost-effective processes for the synthesis of functional nanomaterials by biphasic precipitation under shear. Their “shear nanospinning” liquid-based technique for scalable fabrication may revolutionize the scale and scope of nanofiber application. Velev at al. also introduced a new class of environmentally-benign microbicidal nanoparticles with biodegradable cores made of lignin.
Representative publications: Nature Nanotech., 10, 817 (2015); Adv. Mater., 27, 2642 (2015); Curr. Opin. Colloid Interface Sci., 19, 490 (2014).


Synthesis of responsive capsules, rod-like particles and foam superstabilization (2005-)
Velev and his group have engineered new classes of magnetically, thermally and light-responsive foams. Earlier, the group discovered a novel shear-based method for the efficient scalable preparation of polymeric microrods that make ultrastable foams and emulsions. Historically, Velev is the first to report formation of the (later-named) “colloidosome” assemblies during his independent research in Japan.
Representative publ.: Chem. Sci., 4, 3874 (2013); Langmuir, 29, 10019 (2013); J. Am. Chem. Soc., 133, 13856 (2011); Langmuir, 24, 11959 (2008); Adv. Mater., 16, 1653 (2004); Chem. Mater, 18, 3308 (2006); Langmuir, 12, 2374 (1996).


View on Google Scholar

Honors and Awards

  • Langmuir Lecture Award (ACS)
  • S. Frank and Doris Culberson Distinguished Professor
  • 2018Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering (AIChE)
  • R.J. Reynolds Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Extension (NCSU)
  • Fellow of the Materials Research Society (MRS)
  • Dinesh O. Shah Annual Lecture in Surface Science (UFL)
  • Chancellors' Innovation Fund Award (NCSU)
  • Springer 1st Colloid and Polymer Science Lecture Award
  • NC ACS 2013 Distinguished Speaker Award (NC ACS Section)
  • Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor (NCSU)
  • Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • Alumni Association Outstanding Research Award (NCSU)
  • Innovator of the Year Award (NC State University)
  • Mercator Visiting Professor Fellowship (DFG – Germany & TU-Berlin)
  • Alcoa Foundation Distinguished Engineering Research Award (NCSU)
  • INVISTA named professorship (NC State University)
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation)
  • NC State University Academy of Outstanding Teachers
  • 3M Nontenured Faculty Award (3M Company)
  • Sigma Xi Faculty Research Award (Sigma Xi NCSU Chapter)
  • CAREER award (The National Science Foundation)
  • Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Award (Oak Ridge Associated Universities)
  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award (Camille and Henry Dreyfus Found.)