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Katherine Yanhang Zhang Looks to Improve Micro- and Nano-scale Devices

ENG’s Katherine Yanhang Zhang was awarded a DARPA grant for her work on micro- and nano-scale devices.

Katherine Yanhang Zhang, the Clare Booth Luce Assistant Professor in the College of Engineering department of aerospace and mechanical engineering, recently received a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Research Award for a proposal titled Micro and NanoMechanics of Thin Film and Thin Film Coatings.

Every year, DARPA, the central research and development agency for the Department of Defense, provides Young Faculty Research grants to 10 assistant professors. The recipients each receive $150,000 for research in electronics, photonics, micro-electromechanical systems, architectures, or algorithms.

There is growing interest in device miniaturization to micro and nanoscale. But when devices are that small (one nanometer is one-billionth of a meter), it’s a challenge to develop reliable tools to help design and analyze them, according to Zhang. She plans to investigate how micro- and nano-electromechanical systems, or small mechanical devices, deform and then relate the behaviors of these systems to their design and analysis in order to improve the performance of the devices at the sub-micron scale.

Zhang’s research integrates biology, nonlinear solid mechanics, and finite element modeling. She’s also interested in the relationship between microscopic biological processes and changes in macroscopic tissue mechanics after illness.

Brittany Jasnoff can be reached at bjasnoff@bu.edu.