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The over-arching mission of the Armani research lab is to develop advanced materials and integrated optical devices that can be used in portable disease diagnostics and telecommunications.

  • Fall 2019 Group Photo

  • A new route to enhance microcavity-based Raman lasing is demonstrated by leveraging a single monolayer of oriented molecules. Work published in: X. Shen*, H. Choi*, et al,  Nature Photonics, (2019). Link:

  • A new method for synthesizing core-shell nanoparticles comprised of gold cores and ZnO shells doped with a range of heavy metals is developed. Work published in: R. Zeto, et al, Journal of Materials Research, (2019). link: DOI: 10.1557/jmr.2019.352

  • Using a silicon oxynitride optical microcavity, an environmentally stable optical frequency comb was demonstrated. Published in D. Chen et al, Applied Physics Letters, 115 (5), 1105 (2019). Link:


  • Cavity enhanced Kerr-frequency comb span is improved by leveraging increased Raman efficiency by adding a Zr dopant. Published in H. Choi et al, Optics Letters 43 (12), (2018). Link:


    A lightweight portable diagnostic for malaria is demonstrated by combining a magnetic collection system with self-referencing spectroscopy. Work published in: S. E McBirney et al, ACS Sensors, (2018). link:


  • Combining small organic molecules with optical cavities, the threshold for optical parametric generation is significantly reduced. Published in X. Shen et al, Science Advances, 4 (1) eaao4507 (2108). Link:

Our research efforts include a wide range of topics including materials synthesis, integrated optics and instrumentation development, and characterization of tissue and disease diagnostics. We also perform a significant amount of computational work to support our experimental efforts. Given the diversity of measurements, we perform experiments on the main campus and at the medical school.

To enable this research breadth, our group members include researchers with diverse academic and research backgrounds, and we have numerous ongoing collaborations, both at USC and at other institutions around the world. The lab also supports a large number of undergraduate researchers as well as high school researchers. We are also very active in a wide range of STEM outreach activities. Financial support comes from several different government agencies and companies as well as philanthropic contributions.

The lab is primarily located in the Viterbi School of Engineering, and it is affiliated (through courtesy appointments in different depts and institutes) with the Dornsife College and the Keck Medical School. The research facilities are located in the newly constructed Michelson Center for Convergent Biosciences.


We value Black lives

When members of our community are intentionally and unintentionally harmed by the acts of individuals, longstanding institutional policies, and societal behaviors, it is our responsibility to support and to stand up for them. In this context, we acknowledge the legacy of exclusion of the Black community in academia and STEM, and we confirm our commitment to dismantle the policies and practices that enable this system. Our group culture is anti-racist, having a zero tolerance policy for bigotry and hatred. This is reflected in our history of efforts to improve access to science and education in communities most vulnerable to these systemic problems. We have held many outreach events in the South LA community and routinely have mentorship opportunities for local high school students. We are active members of the USC faculty and student leadership, supporting changes to the research and campus climate to fight systemic biases. Black lives matter.

COVID-19 Efforts

  • During the COVID-19 Pandemic for the safety of our research team, the Armani Lab temporarily closed its experimental research lab doors on March 13th. But we have continued to "work from home" to help healthcare workers and the scientific community during this time. Here are some of our efforts. If you are interested in supporting, please visit the link on this page.

  • Development of a UV-C disinfection system. In collaboration with local industry and the Keck School of Medicine, we have developed, built, validated, and deployed over 45 systems to hospitals and private practices around Southern California (Orange County and Los Angeles) and beyond. Read more here: arxiv paper.

  • 3D Printable Faceshields. Collaborating with the Keck School of Medicine and local industry, we developed a 3D printed faceshield design and submitted it for NIH design review and accelerated approval. In parallel, with Keck's approval, we have begun mass production and distribution to medical centers in the SoCal (and beyond) community with a target goal of over 6000 shields, working with the School of Architecture, the Iovine and Young Academy, and industry partners. Link to design files at NIH 3D Print Exchange.

  • PPE donation. With the closure of the cleanroom (which Andrea is the director of), she coordinated the donation of all cleanroom PPE to the Keck Medical School. Cleanroom PPE is particularly useful as it includes full body suits, face shields, and goggles. University article.

  • Online conferences. Last fall/winter, Andrea co-chaired the first distributed online conference (Photonics Online Meet-up). While not clear then, the lessons learned have become an invaluable resource as many conferences are being forced to move in this direction. She and her co-organizers have written a "how-to" guide that was recently published in Nature Reviews Materials to aid researchers in any field.

Interested in joining the Armani group?  Visit our Lab Openings page for more information.