News. Recent Press Coverage.




  • 3/21/2013, Prof. Peter Davies and the dept pulled another surprise party to Prof. Shu Yang for her promotion to full professorship. Congrats! Thanks for all the students and postdocs in the Yang group and the MSE department.
  • 2/1/2013, farewell to Prof. Liping Zhu returning to Zhejiang University. Welcome to Prof. Youfa Zhang, a visiting scholar to the Yang group from Southeast University, China.



  • 12/14/2012, Apiradee successfully defended her PhD thesis. Congrats!
  • Our paper titled as"Understanding pattern transformation mechanisms in different responsive hydrogel
    membranes" by Xuelian Zhu, Rong Dong, Gaoxiang Wu and Shu Yang, has been awarded the Arthur K. Doolittle Award for the best paper presented in a PMSE symposium at the 242nd ACS 2011 Fall National Meeting in Denver, CO. This award will be presented at the 243rd ACS National Meeting in San Diego, CA in March 2012. Congratulations to all the coauthors! Doolittle Award,



  • Kelvin Wong, Issei B. Suzuki and Xiao Qiao's senior design project, "Shape Memory Polymer Micro-Pillars for Super Strong-Dry Adhesion via Mechanical Interlocking" won 2nd place in MSE senior design competition. Congrats!


  • SEAS senior design 2011 competition. "Shape Memory Polymer Micro Pillars for Super-Strong Dry Adhesion".




Kick-off Meeting of NSF EFRI/SEED Project

Time: 8:40am-6:30pm, Oct 8, 2010

Location: Upper Gallery of Meyerson Hall, 1st Floor, School of Design, PENN



  • 9/1/2010, Yang team received a $2.0 million NSF EFRI/SEED grant on "Energy Minimization via Multi-Scale
    Architectures: From Cell Contractility to Sensing Materials to Adaptive Building Skins." She leads an exciting collaboration of material scientists, electrical engineers, biologists, and architects! (see press coverages below)


A preliminary design for an energy-efficient building


  • 7/28/2010, Xuelian has successfully defended her PhD thesis. Congrats!
  • 7/2010, our own MSE senior, Kelvin Wong joined the group for independent study. Welcome.
  • 6/1/2010, we have two REU students, Priya Balasubramanian (Duke) and Justin Deng (Cornell), and high school student, Hunter van Adelsberg from Haverford School jointed us in summer research. Welcome.
  • 4/2010, Ying and Edward's work on fabricaton of hierarchical pillar arrays was selected as cover of June issue of Small.



  • 10/2009, Murat's paper on swelling PHEMA gradient gels for wrinkled patterns were selected as Frontispieces of Adv. Funct. Mater.
  • 8/2009, Ying and Jason's work on Au nanostructures fabricated by pattern transformation and pattern transfer has been selected to the cover of August issue of ACS Nano. Congrats!
  • 8/4/2009, Dinesh defended this thesis very smoothly, with confidence and good stories to tell. (Congrats, Dr. Chandra!)
  • 7/21/2009, Jun Hyuk and Jin Seok's paper on 3D POSS has been selected to the cover of the July issue of J. Mater. Chem. Congrats!
  • 3/31/20009, Prof. Yang was announced the promotion to the tenured Associate Professor during a surprise visit of Dean Glandt (Cheers!)
  • 3/31/2009, Jamie will soon start a new postdoc position at NIST.
  • 2/2009, Jamie's work on synthesis of nanofruit textures on photopatterned surface (Chem. Mater., 2009, 21(3), 476-483. DOI) was highlighted in Lab on a Chip, 2009, 9 (5), 642 - 643, as an article of particular significance/value to miniaturization research.



  • 11/24/2008, Ying starts his new life at Corning (Congrats!)
  • 11/11/2008, new group web page is launched. (Many thanks to our webmaster, Felice!)
  • 10/31/2008, Yue left for Princeton for a new exciting research in biosensing.
  • 10/9/2008, Dr. Guan-quan Liang arrived. He finished Ph.D. in Optics at Sun Yat-sen (Zhongshan) University, Guangzhou, CHINA.
  • 8/6/2008, "Crytal clue in army injury". New Scientist and BBC News have reported our latest findings using 3D photonic crystals as blast injury dosimeter, which was presented by Dr. Kacy Cullen at the National Neurotrauma Conference. This work is a collaboration between Yongan Xu in Yang's group and Dr. Kacy Cullen in Dr. Douglas Smith's group at Center for Brian Injury and Repair, Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine at Penn. (Nice work, Yongan and Kacy!)
  • 7/2008, "University of Pennsylvania Researchers Demonstrate a Flexible, One-Step Assembly of Nanoscale Structures" (pdf). Our recent work published on Nano Letter, "One-step nanoscale assembly of complex structures via harnessing of an elastic instability”, Nano Lett . 2008 , 8 (4), 1192-1196 (pdf), was featured by several nanotech and semiconductor news outlets, including, Semiconductor International, R&D Magazine,,, Alibaba, DailyTech,,,,,,, to name a few. This work was carried out by Ying Zhang, Anna Peter (ETH exchange student), Dr. Pei-Chun Lin in collaboration with Sabetta Matsumoto and Prof. Randall Kamien in Physics Department.


Recent Press Coverage


Penn newsCut and Fold (Dec. 12, 2014)


KirigamiphotoA team of University of Pennsylvania researchers is turning kirigami, a related art form that allows the paper to be cut, into a technique that can be applied equally to structures on those vastly divergent length scales.

In a new study, the researchers lay out the rules for folding and cutting a hexagonal lattice into a wide variety of useful three-dimensional shapes. Because these rules ensure the proportions of the hexagons remain intact after the cuts and folds are made, the rules apply to starting materials of any size. This enables materials to be selected based on their relevance to the ultimate application, whether it is in nanotechnology, architecture or aerospace. (see Video)
Read more




Penn currentPenn Engineering plan filters wastewater produced by fracking (Dec. 4, 2014)

Giant clams inspire Penn duo’s alternative energy researchKirigamiphoto

Natural selection in an extreme environment has gradually sculpted the giant clam into an exceedingly efficient farmer; it turns the fierce sunlight in its equatorial ocean home into algae, and those single-celled plants into food.

Two Penn researchers are teaming up to unlock the secrets of this living greenhouse and use it as a blueprint for new materials that harvest solar energy or convert it to biofuel. Learn more


(Image courtesy of Alison Sweeney, Penn Physics)


Penn newsPenn Researchers Grow Liquid Crystal 'Flowers' That Can Be Used as Lenses (Dec. 18, 2013)


KirigamiphotoA team of material scientists, chemical engineers and physicists from the University of Pennsylvania has made another advance in their effort to use liquid crystals as a medium for assembling structures.

In their earlier studies, the team produced patterns of “defects,” useful disruptions in the repeating patterns found in liquid crystals, in nanoscale grids and rings. The new study adds a more complex pattern out of an even simpler template: a three-dimensional array in the shape of a flower.

Learn more

Gizmag interview (Dec. 24, 2013)


NSF news. (Dec. 18. 2013)


Penn newsNanotech Innovation Keeps Surfaces Clean and Transparent

Hanging hundreds of feet off the ground to wash a skyscraper's windows or pumping water out to a desert solar array to keep its panels and mirrors clean is more than just a hassle—it's an expensive problem with serious ecological implications.

Researchers at Penn and the spin off company has found a way to solve the problem of keeping surfaces clean, while also keeping them transparent.


Researchers at Penn Add Another Tool in Their Directed Assembly Toolkit, Nov 6, 2013


r-create-building-skins-adapt-heatlight-environment"Penn newsPenn researchers integrate origami and engineering (May 30, 2013)

The quintessential piece of origami might be a decorative paper crane, but in the hands of an interdisciplinary Penn research team, it could lead to a drug-delivery device, an emergency shelter, or even a space station.

Led by Randall Kamien, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the Penn team will collaborate with researchers at Cornell University on the National Science Foundation’s Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation Program called ODISSEI, or Origami Design For The Integration Of Self-assembling Systems For Engineering Innovation.

The project draws inspiration from the Japanese art of paper folding, but the Penn team suggested adding a variant of the technique, known as kirigami, in which the paper can be cut as well as folded. Allowing for cuts and holes in the material makes it easier to fold rigid, three-dimensional structures.

(Image courtesy of Randall Kamien, Penn Physics)


LRSMLRSM Research highlight. Making Waves with Liquid Crystals.

Penn currentPenn Team Making Waves with Liquid Crystals. (December 20, 2012)

Penn news

Penn Researchers Find New Way to Mimic the Color and Texture of Butterfly Wings (October 10, 2012)


NILT Nano Newsletter. Penn Researchers Use Holographic Lithography To Mimic Color Of Butterfly Wings. (October 19, 2012)


RedOrbitRedOrbit Exclusive Interview: Professor Shu Yang, University of Pennsylvania. (October 18, 2012)

Researchers learn to print butterfly wings. (October 18, 2012)

'Butterfly wing' buildings would never need painting. (October 18, 2012)


WorldofChemicals Researchers mimic the colour and texture of butterfly wings. (October 17, 2012)


Short Sharp Science: Butterfly-wing wafers to clad iridescent buildings. (October 16, 2012)

Photonics Material Could Provide Self-Cleaning, Waterproof Optics.(October 16, 2012)

 'Butterfly Wing' Buildings Would Never Need Painting ...(October 16, 2012)

RedOrbit Penn Researchers Create Iridescent, Ultra Water Proof Material. (October 16, 2012)

ScienceDaily New way to mimic the color and texture of butterfly. (October 16, 2012)


Penn news

Penn Faculty Receive Alternative Energy Project Grants (July 16, 2012)



Penn Engineering magazine "Naturally Inspired Materials" (Spring 2011)


Penn newsPenn Researchers Tap Into Cell Power to Create Building “Skins” That Adapt to Heat/Light of Environment (September 21, 2010)


also see Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, World News, EE|Times


DP Profs collaborate to design futuristic building (The Daily Pennsylvanian, September 16, 2010)


BBC Crytal clue in army injury (BBC news, August 6, 2008)


New Sci. Tech Color-changing crystal could forecast bomb trauma
(New Scientist, August 7, 2008)


Pop Sci. A "Mood Ring" For Brain Trauma (, August 10, 2008)


PENN University of Pennsylvania Researchers Demonstrate a Flexible, One-Step Assembly of Nanoscale Structures. (July 2008)


Photonics Two Imaging Elements Create One Multipattern Mask (Photonic Spectra, August 2005)


Business Wire New Technique to Control Fluids Using Specially Fabricated Silicon 'Nanograss' (Business Wire, March 12, 2004)