Congratulations to Zhengwei Li for winning the inaugural Steven M. Woodward Outstanding Dissertation Award from the College of Engineering and Applied Science.
Li's research spans mechanics of stretchable electronics and optoelectronics, mechanics of soft materials, stretchable thin film, optical functional materials and nanomaterials.
The objective of his thesis was to study and to develop innovative stretchable and tunable optical systems based on surface morphologies with potential applications in bioinspired imaging sensors, smart windows, optical gratings and optical diffusers.
"I firstly studied coupled mechanics and optics of elastomeric microlens array, solved critically important designing issues of artificial compound eye cameras and then further proposed an effective tuning mechanism to tune the optics. I have also developed a series of innovative material systems with potential applications in smart windows, optical gratings and optical diffusers. These material designs developed by me offer promising methods to fabricate cheap, large-scale and multifunctional mechanoresponsive optical systems.
"My PhD studies also spans several other different areas, including mechanics of soft materials, stretchable electronics and optoelectronics, stretchable thin film, and nanomaterials. I am always dedicated to high-impact research and exhibits extraordinary capabilities and potential in my research field," Li says.
He has published 14 journal papers in prestigious journals and has 6 papers in the pipeline to be published soon. Li has supervised three master's and three undergraduate students, and has earned numerous awards, including the Thomas & Brenda GEERS Graduate Fellowship, Summer Graduate School Fellowship, Haythornthwaite Foundation Travel Award and NSF Travel Award.
Li's is now a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His thesis advisor was mechanical engineering professor Jianliang Xiao.