• Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1992
  • M.S., University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, 1985
  • B.S., University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, 1982

Research Areas and Descriptors


Dr. Zhang seeks to advance basic science involving heat transfer and thermodynamics and apply the result to cutting-edge technological problems. After spending three years as a guest scientist in the Optical Technology Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), he started an academic career in 1995 at the University of Florida, where he established a strong research program in thermal radiation and microscale heat transfer, including the development of a Microscale Thermal Radiation (MicroRAD) Laboratory for research and teaching and the creation of several new courses in microscale thermal science and advanced measurement technology. He began at Tech in Fall 2002 as an Associate Professor.


A three-axis goniometric table for measuring the bidirectional reflectance of silicon wafers.

Dr. Zhang works closely with his graduate students and collaborates extensively with physicists and materials research scientists to conduct research in heat transfer and thermophysical engineering, including measurements of the radiative properties and optical response. The result is a broad spectrum of research activities and accomplishments in heat transfer and thermophysical engineering, including measurements of the radiative properties and optical response of high-temperature superconducting thin-film materials and devices; thermal modeling of absolute cryogenic radiometers, space-based solar radiometers, and pulsed-laser calorimeters; radiation temperature measurement for rapid thermal processing (RTP) and heat transfer modeling of RTP systems; and investigation of the bidirectional reflectance of rough silicon wafers. The research has applications in microscale and nanoscale science and technology, such as a better understanding of the electronic interactions in superconducting and semiconductor materials, developing far-infrared optoelectronic devices based on high-temperature superconducting films on silicon substrates, improving the accuracy in optical power and laser energy measurements, and improving the temperature measurement techniques for the fabrication of integrated circuits. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and private companies.

Nanotechnology is becoming a strategic branch of science and engineering for the 21st century. It holds promise to fundamentally restructure the technologies currently used in manufacturing, medicine, energy production, communication, defense, and education. Understanding the energy transport mechanisms in small dimensions and short time scale is crucial for the future advance of nanoscale science and engineering. Dr. Zhang is developing an active research program in nanoscale thermophysical engineering, which will include measurements and modeling of the thermophysical properties of materials at micro and nanoscales, investigation of the electron and phonon transport in small structures, and the application of scanning optical and scanning thermal microscopy to micro and nanodevices.


  • American Physical Society, Fellow, 2015
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, 2011
  • Sigma Xi
    • (Georgia Tech Chapter) Best M.S. Thesis Award for Trevor Bright, 2010
    • (Georgia Tech Chapter) Best Ph.D. Thesis Award for Bong Jae Lee and for Soumyadipta Basu, 2008 and 2010
    • (University of Florida Chapter) Junior Faculty Research Award, 1999
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
    • Program Chair, 3rd ASME Micro/Nanoscale Heat and Mass Transfer International Conference (MNHMT2012), Atlanta, GA, March 3-6, 2012.
    • Conference General Chair, 5th ASME Micro/Nanoscale Heat and Mass Transfer International Conference (MNHMT2016), Singapore, January 4-6, 2016.
    • Associated Editor, Journal of Heat Transfer (2012-2018).
    • Founding Chair (2012-2015), ASME K9 Committee on Nanoscale Thermal Transport.
    • Member (2006-2015), Touloukian Award Committee.
    • 2015 ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award (category Science).
    • Committee on Thermophysical Properties (K7) Chair (2009-2012); also Vice-Chair, ASME/AIChE Joint Committee on Thermophysical Properties
    • 17th Symposium on Thermophysical Properties Vice-Chair (Solids), Boulder, CO, 2009
    • 2nd Integration and Commercialization of Micro and Nanosystems International Conference and Exhibition Co-Chair (Program Chair), Hong Kong, China, 2008
    • Fellow, 2005
    • Committee on Low Temperature Heat Transfer Chair, 2000-2003
    • Heat Transfer Division Best Paper Award, 2000
  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    • Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer Associate Editor, 2007-2012
    • Associate Fellow, since 2002
    • Member on the Thermophysics Technical Committee, 2001-2007
    • Thermophysics Best Paper Award, 2005
    • 37th Thermophysics Conference Technical Program Chair, Portland, OR, 2004
  • International Centre for Heat and Mass Transfer (ICHMT)
    • Member on the Scientific Council, 2014-present
    • 2010 Hartnett-Irvine (Best Paper) Award
  • Frontiers in Energy Editorial Board Member, 2009-present
  • International Journal of Thermophysics Editorial Board Member, 2007-2012; Associate Editor, 2012-2015
  • Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer Associate Editor, 2007-present
  • National Science Foundation Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 1999-2004
  • Pi Tau Sigma Outstanding Teacher Award, 1997


  • Copper-Nickel Alloy Films for Infrared Neutral Density Filters, U. S. Patent 5,726,797, with R. U. Datla and L. M. Hanssen, March 10, 1998.
  • Superconducting Detector and Method of Making Same, U. S. Patent 5,264,375, with C. A. Bang, M. I. Flik, and M. A. Schmidt, November 23, 1993.

Representative Publications

  • Z. M. Zhang. 2007. Nano/Microscale Heat Transfer. McGraw-Hill, New York. 479p. ISBN 007143674X.
  • B. J. Lee, Y.-B. Chen, and Z. M. Zhang. 2008. Surface Waves between Metallic Films and Truncated Photonic Crystals Observed with Reflectance Spectroscopy. Optics Letters 33, 204-206.
  • B. J. Lee, K. Park, and Z. M. Zhang. 2007. Energy Pathways in Nanoscale Thermal Radiation. Applied Physics Letters 91, 153101.
  • S. Basu, Y.-B. Chen, and Z. M. Zhang. 2007. Microscale Radiation in Thermophotovoltaic Devices - A Review.International Journal of Energy Research 31, 689-716.
  • H. J. Lee, Y.-B. Chen, and Z. M. Zhang. 2006. Directional Radiative Properties of Anisotropic Rough Silicon and Gold Surfaces. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 49, 4482-4495.