Zhenhua Tian
Mississippi State University
11:00AM, February 9, 2022
310 Kelly Hall

Leveraging Acoustics: From Damage Diagnosis to Matter Manipulation

Acoustic waves carry both information and energy that allow them to inspect material defects as well as create invisible robotic hands (i.e., acoustic tweezers) capable of manipulating matter. This talk will cover my recent studies and future vision to leverage acoustics for damage diagnosis and manipulating micro/nanoparticles and cells for applications in aerospace, energy, manufacturing, and health care. First, we will cover ultrasonic damage diagnosis using laser ultrasonics, embeddable optical fibers, and piezoelectric sensors. Related future research on inspecting and monitoring aerospace composites, spent fuel canisters, and additively manufactured metals will be discussed. Second, we will visit the dynamic-field acoustic tweezers that leverage dynamically controlled acoustic fields to achieve noncontact manipulation of objects across 7 orders of length scales. Their versatile functions will be discussed with experimental examples, including (i) constructing diverse lattice-like patterns of micro/nanoparticles, (ii) manufacturing stretchable nanocomposites with patterned carbon nanotubes, (iii) printing anisotropic tissues with aligned cells, (iv) squeezing and disrupting single cells, (v) delivering DNA into stem cells, and (vi) moving objects enclosed by soft tissues and bones. I will also share some recent work on developing metamaterials for advancing our acoustic tweezers through the subwavelength-scale manipulation (e.g., guiding, focusing, and filtering) of kHz to MHz acoustic waves.

Zhenhua Tian is an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Mississippi State University. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of South Carolina in 2015 and completed postdoc training at Duke University in 2019. His research focuses on acoustic tweezers, smart materials, metamaterials, and ultrasonic imaging with applications in aerospace, manufacturing, energy, and healthcare. He has published 50+ journal articles with 8 of them in Science Advances, Nature Communications, and PNAS. His articles have amassed an H-index of 22 and been reported 60+ times by public media such as Science Daily, Phys.org, Physics Today, etc. His current research is supported by NSF, DOE, NIH, NASA, MSU Advanced Composite Institute, and MSU Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems.

Host: Professor Saied Taheri