Eui-Hyeok "EH" Yang, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Micro Device Laboratory at Stevens Institute of Technology, has been elected a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) for his extensive contributions to the fields of micro- and nanotechnology, with applications as diverse as biomedical devices, self-powered smart wearables, energy storage, oil/water separation, infrared detection, and space telescopes.
The leading professional association for the advancement of multidisciplinary engineering and allied sciences, ASME bestows this honor on less than four percent of its membership in recognition of significant and outstanding achievements in engineering. Yang is the fourth Stevens mechanical engineering faculty member to achieve this distinction.
"I am honored to be elected an ASME Fellow," Yang said, expressing gratitude for the award's reflection of his 30 years of service, academic leadership, and research as a leading expert in nanomaterials and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).
Combining fundamental research with practical application, Yang leverages his expertise in nanofabrication, nanophysics, and materials science to design, grow, and develop flexible, ultra-lightweight, ultra-thin materials and nanostructures for a variety of innovative scientific, military, and civilian uses.
Using carbon nanotubes grown on graphene, he investigates semi-transparent supercapacitors that can bend and stretch across any flat or curved surface—such as a skyscraper window, car windshield, or cell phone—to detect, harvest, and store solar energy that would otherwise be wasted. Similarly, he investigates flexible biomedical electrodes that can seamlessly mold to and move with human skin, which can generate and store energy while sensing a person's pulse, temperature, or other vital signs. Potential uses for this technology include electronic skins or e-tattoos that measure diabetic foot ulcer development and smart contact lenses that monitor intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients.
Together these contributions advance and expand the capabilities of the nanomanufacturing sector, while harnessing untapped energy and giving new purpose to un- or underutilized surfaces.
Additional areas of Yang's research include developing cost-effective graphene-based sensors for infrared radiation detection for space exploration, military surveillance, and tactical reconnaissance; investigating the degradation behaviors and surface properties of semiconducting transition metal dichalcogenides and other 2D crystal materials for use in next-generation wearables and photonic devices; and manipulating and controlling microfluids on smart polymer surfaces for potential use in areas as varied as industrial cleaning, oily water separation, antibacterial coatings, and lab-on-a-chip biomedical fluids testing.
A staunch advocate of entrepreneurship, Yang believes even fundamental research should be developed with an eye toward real-world application and prevailing market demand. He holds 17 issued or pending patents in the fields of micro- and nanotechnology and in 2018 was elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the highest professional distinction for academic inventors. Yang has secured more than 35 federal grants and contracts totaling approximately $8 million, including funding from the National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, National Reconnaissance Office, U.S. Army, and NASA.
The first to receive a MEMS Ph.D. in his native South Korea, Yang joined Stevens in 2006 following tenure as a senior member of the engineering staff at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he was awarded, among other honors, the Lew Allen Award for Excellence for developing MEMS-based actuators and microvalves for large-aperture space telescopes and deformable mirrors capable of correcting for optical aberrations to improve high-resolution imaging.
Through the Stevens Micro Device Laboratory, Yang facilitates student research and hands-on education in emerging nanotechnologies. In addition to his role as a faculty advisor of the nanotechnology graduate program, he spearheaded the design of Stevens' first undergraduate nanotechnology research-track training program.
Yang's professional service credits include editorial or editorial board positions for several journals including Nature’s Scientific Reports and multiple track chair positions for ASME's International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE). He has produced more than 300 journal papers, conference proceedings, and presentations and has delivered 86 keynote or invited talks. Yang was a featured Micro- and Nano- Systems Engineering and Packaging track plenary speaker at IMECE in 2018.