About Us

The Han Lab is located in Silverman Hall as part of Northwestern University’s Chemistry of Life Processes (CLP) Institute. We are a physical chemistry lab that is driven by answering fundamental outstanding questions in biophysics and in biomedicine using the oldest tools available to humanity, the power of observation and the ability to draw unbiased conclusions. Clearly, the lenses with which observations are achieved must get brighter, sharper, and more versatile to learn new things.

Han lab’s lenses are coupled electron and nuclear spin systems because spins might be the only sensor that can obtain information with atomic resolution and specificity from a molecular surface, while delivering information about chemistry, structure, and dynamics. There is a lot of excitement about using spins as quantum sensors that has attracted large fundings and a huge research community for several years already. But what if there is a fundamental knowledge gap because characterization of quantum sensors at low magnetic field misses key signatures?

The Han lab believes that merging novel concepts of magnetic resonance with quantum sensing that it refers to as quantum resonance sensing has the potential to transform the field by achieving more efficient and longer-range detection.

As a lab, we are humans before we are scientists, and we value communication and relationships as much as our knowledge. Mutual respect, and trust between the PI and students and among the lab members is the core principle how we get work done, how we conduct collaborative work, how we resolve conflicts and confusion, and how we meet deadlines.

As humans, our values are rooted in the fundamental belief that every person deserves respect and trust because every person possesses an inherent and immutable value that is deserving of respect and recognition, regardless of backgrounds, experiences, and circumstances. Translated to lab life, this means that there is no such thing as a dumb question, no such thing as a superior researcher, while prior knowledge and greater skills does not make anybody a better person or even a scientist for that matter. A good scientist is not defined by skills, even though that helps, but as one who is willing to observe the world with an unbiased vision to REALLY see what it is and how things work, even if what you see goes against the common view or appears inconvenient to advance one’s immediate career or productivity. Being a good scientist is a mindset and a lifestyle.

As scientists, our values are rooted in a deep commitment to the pursuit of truth and understanding, and to the dissemination of knowledge to the world. We embrace the rigors of the scientific method, with a passion for the importance of transparency, clarity, and objectivity in our communication. This means we prioritize the writing of publications for the purpose of increasing knowledge and with a commitment to make our knowledge accessible and informative to readers of diverse background, and to enable other scientists to test and replicate our results or build our instruments. We prioritize the sharing of our knowledge and experience to advance scientific discovery and innovation beyond the confines of our own lab. The fame and recognition for our lab is not an inherently important value. However, pursuing clear communication and putting effort into reaching a larger audience matters to have an impact with our fundamental and applied research discoveries.

With a commitment to empirical evidence and objective analysis, we acknowledge the immense power of science to uncover the mysteries of the universe and improve the human condition. We recognize that the responsible use of scientific inquiry can inform our decisions, broaden our perspectives, and enrich our lives.

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