By Sara Cody
Professor Xin Zhang (ME, MSE) has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for her “distinguished contributions to the field of micro/nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS), addressing a wide range of important problems in advanced materials, biophotonics and energy.”
“Elevation to AAAS fellow is a richly deserved honor for Xin,” says Professor Alice White (ME, MSE), chair of ME. “It recognizes her impressive body of work using MEMS devices to enable groundbreaking interdisciplinary experiments from terahertz optics to cell biology. We are so proud to call her a colleague!”
Zhang has applied MEMS techniques to develop metamaterials, arrays of engineered structures that act like artificial atoms and exhibit unusual properties such as negative refractive indices and cloaking. She has focused on creating metamaterials in the terahertz range (wavelengths between optical and microwave frequencies) that may ultimately be used for imaging, chemical detection, surveillance and high-speed electronic circuits.
In biomedicine, Zhang has developed a MEMS-based toolset that uses a unique sensing approach to analyze cellular behavior, yielding knowledge that could improve our understanding of cardiovascular, liver and other diseases and potentially lead to novel therapies. In the energy domain, Zhang has explored microfluidic applications in the mid-IR range, and developed micro gas chromatography and microfluidic communication systems designed to improve the efficiency and safety of oil and gas extraction.
AAAS is the largest general scientific society in the world and publisher of the journal Science. The fellowship, a AAAS tradition dating back to 1875, is an honor awarded to members by a panel of their peers. Recipients are selected for “their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.” Zhang will receive her award at the next AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston in February.