100 Institute RD
BS NIT, India 1994
PhD Mechanical Engineering 2001

Dr. Panchapakesan is the director of the Small Systems Laboratory (SSL) which is dedicated to the development of multi-functional materials, devices and systems at the macro-, micro-, meso- and nanoscales. Our work spans in multiple areas bridging multiple disciplines and multiple length scales. Facilities at SSL include fabrication and characterization units for advanced materials, device processing and testing and biomaterials characterization. Access to the clean room facilities around the Boston area adds to the excitement of student learning as well as experimentation. Specific ongoing research projects are in the area of novel nanocomposites, energy efficient materials and devices, stimuli responsive materials, photoconductive devices and biomedical nanotechnology. Students in SSL and undergraduate students at WPI have a unique opportunity to work in interdisciplinary projects with knowledge in several disciplines to train themselves and contribute towards globally engaged science and engineering workforce for the future. Specifically, the MQP projects at WPI with focus in area of micro and nanotechnology adds excitement to the students where they get to work as a team with graduate students from the laboratory in line with the Boyer’s model.  We are constantly looking for outstanding and motivated students who can challenge themselves and work in a dynamic environment.

Scholarly Work

J. Loomis, X. Fan, F. Khosravi, P. Xu, M. Fletcher, R.W. Cohn and B. Panchapakesan, “Graphene/elastomer composite-based photo-thermal nanopositioners”, 2013 Scientific Reports 3, 1900
J. Loomis and B. Panchapakesan, “Large photocurrents in single layer graphene thin films: effects of diffusion and drift”, 2012 Nanotechnology 23 265203
J. Loomis, B. King, T. Burkhead, P.Xu, N. Bessler, E. Terentjev and B. Panchapakesan, “Graphene nanoplatelet based photomechanical actuators”, 2012 Nanotechnology 23 045501
B. Panchapakesan, B. Book, P. Sethu, M. Rao and J. Irudayaraj, “Gold nanoparticles for theranostics”, 2011 Nanomedicine, 6 (10); 1787-1811
Professional Highlights & Honors
WBZ News Radio 1030
WPI Designs Chip to Capture Circulating Cancer Cells

WBZ Radio interviewed Balaji Panchapakesan, professor of mechanical engineering, on the chip he designed to capture circulating tumor cells, making it possible for early-stage cancer detection.  “He says the chip could be revolutionary,” WBZ reported. “If we can detect it using this chip early detection, which is actually the key, we could actually save lives,” Panchapakesan said.