Dr. Pilgyu Kang, Assistant Professor


Dr. Pilgyu Kang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University. Prior to joining GMU, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). At UIUC with Dr. SungWoo Nam, he investigated Mechanics and Nanomanufacturing of Atomically-Thin Two-Dimensional (2D) Materials such as graphene and MoS2 atomic layers for Flexible Optoelectronic Devices and Integrated Nano-Bio Sensors. He obtained his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, advised by Prof. David Erickson. His PhD research focused on Nano Tweezers based on Resonant Optical Nanostructures for Nano-biotechnology. He earned a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2009 from Carnegie Mellon University with research focus in Microfluidics and Interfacial Sciences, with guidance of Prof. Shelley Anna. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Electrical Engineering at Seoul National University in 2007.


  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Cornell University, 2014
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2009
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering (Minor: Electrical Engineering), Seoul National University, 2007

Research Areas

  • Nanomaterials and Atomically-thin Two-dimensional (2D) Materials
  • Micro and Nano Mechanics
  • Micro and Nano Manufacturing
  • Nano-Photonics and Opto-Fluidics
  • Optoelectronics and Plasmonics
  • Nano-Bio Sensors

Research Description
Dr. Pilgyu Kang’s research at the George Mason University pursues scientific advancements and engineering innovations based on the fundamental studies of Mechanics and Photonics with Nanomaterials at Micro and Nano scale. His research motivation is to create high performance materials with new functionalities in mechanical, optical, and electrical properties. The main approach for creating such functionalities is nanostructuring of nanomaterials by using micro-/nanomanufacturing and micro-/nanofabrication techniques. Nanomaterials explored include atomically-thin 2D materials such as graphene and MoS2 atomic layers as well as photonic materials such as silicon and dielectrics. Based on the approach, he explores various fields including nano-photonics, opto-fluidic, optoelectronics, and plasmonics to achieve high performance materials and devices for nano-bio sensors.  

Courses Teaching
Fall 2017 & Spring 2018- ME 313 Materials Science

Email: pkang7@gmu.edu

Latest News


Farbod Moghaddam and Daniel Mitchell, undergraduate research assistant students in the Kang Lab, received one of the 3 outstanding project awards from the 150 participating groups for our presentation at the OSCAR Celebration of Student Scholarship. Congratulations!

Poster Title: “Highly Sensitive, Wireless Gas Sensing Based on 3D Nanoporous Graphene and RFID
Farbod is an OSCAR Federal Work Study (FWS) Research Assistant in the Kang Lab and the President of the ASME at GMU and Daniel is an undergraduate research assistant in the Kang Lab and the Treasurer of ASME at GMU.

For information about the OSCAR and the OSCAR Celebration of Student Scholarship,
The Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR) supports undergraduate research and creative activity, both within and beyond the classroom, at George Mason University.
The OSCAR Celebration of Student Scholarship is OSCAR’s annual university-wide event that showcases the most outstanding undergraduate scholars from all schools and colleges at Mason.



Dr. Kang (PI) is awarded for COS-VSE (College of Science - Vogenau School of Engineering) Seed Funding on the project entitled “Atomically-thin Photodetectors by Crumple-Nanostructuring of Graphene-MoS2 Heterostructures” with his collaborator, Dr. Patrick Vora (co-PI, Physics Department, GMU).


Alex Walter joins Kang Lab as an undergraduate research assistant. He will be working on the project of a photodetector based on crumpled layered 2D materials heterostructures with our collaborator Dr. Patrick Vora (Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, George Mason University). Wecome to the team!


Dr. Kang's paper, Pilgyu Kang, Kyoung-Ho Kim, and Hong-Gyu Park, and SungWoo Nam, "Mechanically Reconfigurable Architectured Graphene for Tunable Plasmonic Resonances" is accepted in Light: Science & Applications (Nature Publishing Group, Impact Factor = 14.098). Tune in the paper that will be avaialbe online soon.



Please feel free to contact me via an email (pkang7@illinois.edu), should you have any question about my research.

*** Last Update: 05/07/2018

View Plgyu Kang's profile on LinkedIn