Anuj Saini

Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics

Rockefeller Building 211

Other Information

Classes: PHYS 221: Introduction to Modern Physics

Degree: B.S. Delphi University (2004) | M.S. Jamia Millia Islamia (2006) | Ph.D. Case Western Reserve University (2016)


Experimental Soft Condensed Matter Physics, Modern Optics, Non-linear Optics, Material Science, Microscopy, Spectroscopy, Degradation Science, Optical Data Storage, Single Molecule Detection, Fluorescence, Fluorescent Materials, Optical Characterization, Surface Analysis, Organic Photovoltaics

Materials Degradation Lab


My research is focused on understanding the physics of various degradation processes at the single-molecule scale in various man-made systems and apply them for better materials and system design.

We often think about single molecules while describing processes like degradation of materials, yet, our experimental procedures to understand the same involve ensemble approaches. Single-molecule spectroscopy techniques that have been developed for biosciences are now being applied to the problems in chemistry and physics and show the remarkable heterogeneities that are not visible in the ensemble. However, there are still many problems in soft-mater and biological engineering, such as tablet disintegration and polymer photo-degradation that require closer investigation to understand the mechanistic dynamics taking place.

Man-made systems that are designed to degrade or disintegrate either naturally or induced are currently studied using conventional ensemble methods. These systems lack the understanding of material breakdown at the micro and nanoscale. My research uses novel SMS techniques to not just understand the various physical processes in natural- and induced-degradation in these material systems, but also to develop better methods for understanding the various the physical processes during the degradation of materials. I also utilize non-linear techniques used in single molecule spectroscopy to challenge the limits imposed by the classical domains in top-down fabrication.

Currently, we are exploring several interesting practical problems, such as:

Drug or Tablet Dissolution:

Pharmacokinetics of oral drug candidates are therefore performed at an ‘ensemble average’ level to generate heuristic models that ignore the heterogeneity of the diffusion and dispersion of the drug in the complex gastric environment. Revealing heterogeneities in the molecular mechanics of drug dissolution using the capabilities of single-molecule fluorescence microscopy will lead to more efficient and predicable drug absorption, thereby speeding up the drug development process.

Beating the Diffraction Limit in Optical Data Storage:

Currently, there is a huge demand for replacing data storage materials involving magnetic materials to be replaced by optical data storage, which provide lower energy consumption, higher capacity, along with longer lifetimes. There has been a fundamental limitation imposed by far-field diffraction physics that creates a restriction on the current state-of-the-art in optical data storage systems. This restriction can be overcome by using photoswitching dyes along with the optical illumination techniques from the STED microscopy to enhance the resolution in Optical Data Storage.

There are some other projects that are currently under development and planning phases like:

  • Understanding the slow process of microbial induced corrosion in sea water using the techniques from single molecule microscopy.
  • Cheaper way to perform TIRF microscopy by utilizing multilayered polymer films as substrates.
  • Fabrication of ordered bulk heterojunction organic photovoltaics for a theoretical maximum efficiency of solar cells.

I welcome undergraduate scientists and engineers excited about interdisciplinary research to join our research. No prior experience of doing science in the lab is necessary – just passion to talk about science, work hard, and having fun while learning new science. Please contact me if interested.


Most recent publications can be found on Google Scholar.

  1. Anuj Saini, Zachary Gatland, Jack Begley, Lydia Kisley; “Investigation of Fluorophores for Single-Molecule Detection of Anodic Corrosion Redox Reactions” MRS Communications 2021, Just Accepted.
  2. Anuj Saini, Hannah Messenger, Lydia Kisley; “Fluorophores “Turned-On” by Corrosion Reactions Can Be Detected at the Single-Molecule Level” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 13, 1, 2000–2006 (2021).
  3. Anuj Saini; L. Kisley; “Fluorescence microscopy of biophysical protein dynamics in nanoporous hydrogels” Appl. Phys. 126, 081101 (2019).
  4. Anuj Saini; F. Etheridge; K. Peters; S. Pejić; L. Gao; S. Hellring; G. Sauvé; K. D. Singer; “Aqueous Deposition of a Semiconducting Polymer by Electrocoating” Organic Electronics 53C pp. 332-338 (2018).
  5. Anuj Saini, W. Christenson, T. A. Khattab, R. Wang, R. J. Twieg, and K. D. Singer; “Threshold response using modulated CW illumination for multilayer 3D optical data storage” J. Appl. Phys. 121, 043101 (2017).
  6. W. Christenson, Anuj Saini and K. D. Singer; “3D Optical Data Storage in Organic Film using Single Photon Absorption” Optical Data Processing and Storage, 2.1 (2016).
  7. W. Christenson; Anuj Saini; B. Valle; J. Shan; K. D. Singer; “Non-linear fluorescence modulation of an organic dye for optical data storage” JOSA B, Vol. 31, Issue 3, pp. 637-641 (2014).
  8. C. Ryan; C. W. Christenson, B. Valle, Anuj Saini; J. Lott; J. Johnson; J. Shan; K. D. Singer; C. Weder; E. Baer; “Roll-to-Roll Fabrication of Multilayer Films for High Capacity Optical Data Storage” Advanced Materials, Volume 24, Issue 38, 5222- 5226 (2012).