Carnegie Mellon University

Hamerschlag Hall

November 15, 2023

Zhang Receives NSF CAREER Award

The College of Engineering’s Xu Zhang was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER grant for his research. The NSF Faculty Early Career Development Program awards grants to “early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.”

Zhang, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) before joining CMU. He founded the Zhang Lab, whose research focuses include device fabrication and system-level applications of atomically thin 2D materials.

This prestigious five-year funding opportunity will allow Zhang to continue his work on a specific class of kirigami-actuated adapted metasurfaces whose dynamic tunability makes them ideal for use in biomedical imaging, drone-based sensing and imaging, and wearable augmented reality glasses.

Zhang wants to make optical devices that take inspiration from fish, reptiles, and mammals–all of whom have adaptable irises that can adjust to different light environments. More specifically, Zhang will take an interdisciplinary approach to “build kirigami-inspired actuators and heterogeneously integrate them with tunable metasurfaces based on emerging nanomaterials,” according to the research abstract.

This ongoing project stands as an opportunity to experiment with the newest metasurfaces for the next generation of scientists and engineers who work in Zhang’s lab.