Professor Yihui ZHANG


Professor of Engineering Mechanics
Tsinghua University
Yihui Zhang is a Professor of Engineering Mechanics at Tsinghua University. His group ( is dedicated to addressing the grand challenges in the frontiers of science and technologies through creative uses of mechanics principles and cross-fertilization among diverse disciplines, which drives the development of new mechanics theories and computational models of advanced materials/structures, as well as novel designs and fabrication approaches of materials/devices/systems with unprecedented properties and functionalities. His current research interests include mechanically guided 3D assembly, soft architected materials, and mechanics of flexible structures. He has published > 170 peer-reviewed journal papers, including, 4 in Science, 1 in Nature, 12 in Science sister journals, 15 in Nature sister journals, 1 in NSR, 8 in PNAS, 15 in JMPS (the best solid-mechanics journal), 13 in Advanced Materials, among others, as of November 2023. He is an inventor on 9 China patents and 3 US patents. Dr. Zhang is the recipient of several honors and awards, including, Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher (2023, 2022 & 2020), NSFC National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars (2022), ASME Gustus L. Larson Memorial Award (2022), The Xplorer Prize (2021), ASME Thomas J.R. Hughes Young Investigator Award (2019), Society of Engineering Science’s Young Investigator Medal (2018), ASME Sia Nemat-Nasser Early Career Award (2018), Eshelby Mechanics Award for Young Faculty (2017), ASME Melville Medal (2017), Qiu Shi Outstanding Young Scholar Award (2016), and MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35 (Global) (2016). He is an editor of Mechanics of Materials, an associate editor of Science Advances, Research, and International Journal of Smart and Nano Materials, a past associate editor of ASME Journal of Applied Mechanics, and serves on the editorial board of several other academic journals.

Mechanics-guided 3D Assembly Technology for Microrobot Development

3D micro-/nano-structures have widespread applications in a broad spectrum of cutting-edge areas, such as bio-integrated electronics, microrobots, among others. Existing approaches of 3D assembly/fabrication to form such micro-/nano-structures, however, can only be used directly with a narrow range of materials and/or 3D geometries. A grand challenge in the field is in the development of schemes that allow construction of 3D structures in device-grade crystalline inorganic materials essential for high-quality electronic systems and MEMS. In this talk, I will introduce a mechanics-guided assembly approach that exploits controlled buckling to construct complex 3D micro/nanostructures rapidly from patterned 2D micro/nanoscale precursors. This approach applies to a broad set of materials (e.g., semiconductors, polymers, metals, and ceramics) and even their heterogeneous integration, over a wide range of length scales (e.g., from 100 nm to 10 cm). Development of a rational microlattice design allows transformation of 2D films into programmable 3D curved mesosurfaces through this assembly approach. The compatibility of the approach with the state-of-the-art fabrication/processing techniques available in semiconductor industries, allow transformation of diverse existing 2D microsystems into 3D configurations, providing unusual design options in the development of fundamentally new devices. I will introduce a few examples of microrobots enabled by the mechanics-guided 3D assembly, such as bioinspired electronic microfliers that can monitor air pollution and airborne disease, soft microrobots capable of climbing and transitioning complex surfaces, and submillimeter-scale terrestrial robots.