June 24, 2024
By Ashley Ritchie

Zhuomin Zhang, J. Erskine Love, Jr. Professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, has been elected an Honorary Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Honorary Membership is awarded for a lifetime of service to engineering or related fields, and Zhang was selected for “outstanding contributions to research, education, and publishing in microscale and nanoscale thermal transport, especially in thermal radiation and radiative properties of micro- and nanostructured materials for energy harvesting, and for dedicated service to scientific and engineering societies.”

“I am truly honored and humbled to receive this award and for being included in this list of distinguished mechanical engineering leaders like former Woodruff School Chair Ward Winer and former MIT President Charles Vest,” said Zhang. “I wish to thank my colleagues, current and former school chairs, and many mentors in the thermal science community for their unwavering support.” Zhang continued, “I am particularly grateful to my students and mentees for their dedication and creative contributions to Georgia Tech and to the field of nanoscale thermal engineering. This recognition is an inspiration for all of us to continue doing innovative research and providing high quality service to the society and the engineering profession.”

Zhang serves as the director of the Nanoscale Thermal Radiation Laboratory at Georgia Tech. During his career, he has made seminal contributions to the theory and measurements of spectral radiative properties of solids and thin films as well as micro/nanostructures including photonic crystals, gratings, carbon nanotube arrays, metamaterials, and two-dimensional materials. Nanoscale thermal radiation holds promise for energy conversion and thermal management, especially when the vacuum gap separating the structures is reduced to nanometer distances, where the net photon energy flux depends on the distance of separation due to the combined wave interference and photon tunneling effects. This is a distinct feature between near-field and far-field radiative heat transfer. Zhang’s studies have advanced the understanding of thermal emission and near-field radiative transfer in nanostructured materials. He is viewed as a pioneer in this multidisciplinary field who has trained a large number of students and visiting scholars. Many of his mentees are already playing leading roles in this emerging field. More recently, Zhang’s group has performed extensive studies on the effect of photon chemical potential for radiative energy conversion devices and on nanostructured metasurfaces that allow the control of circularly polarized thermal radiation for remote sensing, space power generation, and radiative cooling applications.

“This achievement is truly a testament of the number of years of outstanding impact Zhuomin has made on the community. We are truly fortunate to have him in the Woodruff School,” said Devesh Ranjan, Eugene C. Gwaltney, Jr. School Chair and professor.

Before coming to Georgia Tech, Zhang was a guest scientist in the Optical Technology Division of NIST and a faculty member at the University of Florida. He earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from the University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, in 1982 and 1985 respectively. He earned a Ph.D. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992.

Formal presentation of the award to Zhang will happen during the ASME Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition (IMECE), taking place later this year in Portland, Oregon.