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Yu, Miao

Miao Yu
Associate Professor
2108 Glenn L. Martin Hall

Research Interests 

Optical sensors; sensor mechanics and material behavior at multiple spatial scales; micro- and nano-scale sensor systems; bio-inspired sensors, and sensor networks; adaptive optics, wavefront sensing and control, imaging through turbulence; smart materials and structures; and theoretical and experimental mechanics



Dr. Miao Yu received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Engineering Mechanics from Tsinghua University in 1996 and 1998, respectively and her Ph.D. in 2002 from the University of Maryland. She joined the University of Maryland (UMD) as an Assistant Professor in January 2005.A core focus of her work is to study biologically systems and apply biologically inspired ideas in engineering systems, with specific research directions promising significant impacts in areas such as health care, safety, and defense. Prof.Yu has also focused on developing fundamental understanding of light and matter interactions at micro and nanoscales, specifically manipulation and sensing of bio-particles with light and manipulation of light with surface plasmonics and metamaterials. (Her primary approach to these studies is to develop microscale and nanoscale photonic structures and to study the light and matter interaction at micro and nanoscales. remove this sentence.) Her awards and honors include receipt of the 2006 Oak Ridge Associated Universities’ Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. In 2007 she was recognized with both the NSF CAREER Award and the Young Investigator Research Program Award from AFOSR for her work on biology inspired sensors. Prof.Yu holds 10 invention disclosures and 4 issued U.S. patents and one pending U.S. patent. One of these patents was the basis for her receipt of the University of Maryland’s 2002 Invention of theYear award in the category of Physical Sciences and her two other inventions were selected as one of the three finalists for the same award in 2010 and 2011.

She is the director of “The Sensors & Actuators Laboratory” dedicated to research on micro/nano sensors, photonics, and smart materials and structures. For more information about the lab, visit

Honors and Awards 

Young faculty awards
NSF CAREER for "Biology-Inspired Miniature Optical Directional Microphones: Bridging Biological Systems and Sensor Technology," 2007
AFOSR Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award for fly ear-inspired sensors for micro-air vehicles, 2007

University of Maryland awards
The Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, 2006
Invention of the Year Award in the Physical Sciences Category, 2002

Selected Publications 

Y. Liu and M. Yu, "Investigation of inclined dual-fiber optical tweezers for 3D manipulation and force sensing," Opt. Express, 17, 13624-13638, 2009.

H. Liu, M. Yu, and X. M. Zhang, “Biomimetic optical directional microphone with structurally coupled diaphragms,”  Applied Physics Letters, 93, 243902, 2008.

M. Yu, X. Long, and B. Balachandran, “Sensor diaphragm under initial tension: nonlinear responses and design implications,” Journal of Sound and Vibration, Vol. 312, pp. 39–54, 2008.S. Nesson,

M. Yu, X. M. Zhang, and A. Hsieh, “Miniature fiber-optic pressure sensor with composite polymer-metal diaphragm for intradiscal pressure measurements,” Journal of Biomedical Optics, Vol. 13(4), 044040, 2008.

L. Currano, S. Bauman, W. Churaman, M. Peckerar, J. Wienke, S. Kim, M. Yu, and B. Balachandran, “Latching MEMS shock sensors for ultra-low power acceleration monitoring,” Sensors and Actuators A: Physical,  Vol. 147 (2), pp. 490-497, 2008.

W. M. Zhu, T. Zhong, A. Q. Liu, X. M. Zhang, and M. Yu, “Micromachined optical well structure for thermo-optic switching,” Applied Physics Letters, 91, 261106, 2007.

M. Yu and B. Balachandran, “Pressure sensor diaphragm under initial tension: linear analysis,” Experimental Mechanics, Vol. 45 (2): pp 123-129, 2005.

M. Yu and M. A. Vorontsov, “Compensation of distant phase-distorting layers I: Narrow field of view adaptive receiver system,” Journal of the Optical Society of America A, Vol. 21(9), pp.1645-1658, 2004.

M. A. Vorontsov and M. Yu, “Compensation of distant phase-distorting layers II: Extended field of view adaptive receiver system,” Journal of the Optical Society of America A, Vol. 21(9), pp. 1659-1668, 2004.

M. Yu and B. Balachandran, “Acoustic measurements using a fiber optic sensor system,” Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, Vol. 14(7), pp. 409-414, 2003.

Related News 

Miao Yu wins NSF grant to develop planar photonic crystals
Work could contribute to development of novel ultrasound transducers. June 1, 2015

New AFOSR NIFTI Center features eight Clark School faculty
Center will create bio-inspired solutions for small, remotely operated aircraft. April 14, 2015

Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program Approves 18 Technology Development Projects
Worth $4.7 million, the projects team Maryland faculty and companies to bring products closer to market. September 9, 2014

Students present final projects for 2014 NSF Microrobotics REU
Research ranged from robotic skin to leg designs, inertial tail actuators, and more. August 10, 2014

Bruck, Smela, Yu receive NSF grant for compliant multifunctional robotic structures
National Robotics Initiative grant will develop a robotic 'nervous system.' September 3, 2013

Six ISR students named to Future Faculty Fellows program
Clark School program prepares students for academic careers in Top-50 engineering schools. January 18, 2013

Miao Yu selected for NAE Frontiers of Engineering Symposium
Yu is one of 100 young engineers selected to discuss cutting-edge research. June 18, 2012

Davis, Yu, Subrahmanian finalists at Invention of the Year Awards
Annual awards honor outstanding inventors and inventions from the University of Maryland. April 19, 2011

Miao Yu promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure
Yu recently was a finalist for Invention of the Year. April 13, 2011

Miao Yu wins NSF grant for fiber optic tweezers
The project will develop a flexible and efficient dexterous dual fiber tweezers system. August 15, 2010

Espy-Wilson, Rubloff win 'Invention of the Year' awards
Inventions could improve speech comprehension in noisy environments, battery capacity. April 14, 2010

Mathieu Aubailly is new Assistant Research Scientist
Former ISR postdoc conducts research in the Intelligent Optics Laboratory. April 17, 2009

Six ISR students selected for Future Faculty Program
Clark School program helps students prepare for academic positions. February 15, 2009

Aerospace publication highlights Miao Yu research
Fly ear work of ISR-affiliated professor could aid MAV navigation. December 8, 2008

Yu, Balachandran awarded US Patent 7,428,054
Micro-optical fiber tip based sensor system will measure pressure, acceleration and pressure gradients. October 2, 2008

Spring 2008 Systems Solutions available
Two symposiums, research and industry news, faculty and alumni updates, and more in ISR's newsletter. February 20, 2008

Miao Yu Receives AFOSR YIP Award
Award will support research on fly ear-inspired sensors for detection and localization. October 24, 2007

Patent issued to Balachandran, Al-Bassyiouni and Yu
The invention is a fiber optic sensor system for pressure measurements. July 2, 2007

OE-MEMS Chip-Based Mass Sensor for Chemical, Gas, and Bio-Hazard Sensing (ISR IP)
This IP is available to license. June 22, 2007

Micro-Optical Sensor Systems for Displacement, Pressure, and Acceleration Measurements (ISR IP)
This IP is available to license. June 21, 2007

Fiber Optic Sensor Systems for Pressure Gradient, Velocity, and Acoustic Intensity Measurements (ISR IP)
This IP is available to license. June 21, 2007

Fiber Tip Based Fiber Optic Sensor Systems (ISR IP)
This IP is available to license. June 20, 2007

Miao Yu wins NSF CAREER Award
Yu's research will create a new class of miniature directional microphones inspired by the remarkable sound localizing ears of the fly Ormia. March 14, 2007

Miao Yu wins Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award
ISR-affiliated Assistant Professor Miao Yu (ME) will receive funds to assist with research. May 5, 2006

Yu joining Mechanical Engineering Department
December 2004—ISR postdoctoral researcher accepts tenure-track position. December 5, 2004