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Xin Zhang, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2016
For pioneering contributions in expanding the toolset for measuring cellular behavior through the development of optomechanical and impedance-based sensing platforms

Xin Zhang Elected to National Academy of Inventors

Via Boston University | December 16, 2019

When she’s not captivated by a Patriots or Celtics game, Boston University engineer Xin Zhang is inventing new materials that seem straight out of science fiction—using magnetic properties to increase the clarity of MRI imaging or leveraging acoustics to “cancel” sounds by sending them back in the direction they came from. Now she’s being recognized for her pioneering work in the field of metamaterials by the National Academy of Inventors, which has recently elected her a fellow. Zhang, a BU College of Engineering professor of mechanical, biomedical, electrical and computer engineering, as well as materials science and engineering, and a professor at the BU Photonics Center, told The Brink about why she loves being an inventor and shares how collaboration makes it all possible… Continue reading.

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Zhang Receives Award from the Institution of Engineering and Technology

Via Boston University College of Engineering | December 5, 2019

Professor Xin Zhang (ME, ECE, BME, MSE) has received a 2019 Innovation Award from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) for Emerging Technology Design.

“It is an honor to receive international recognition from the IET and I am immensely proud of my team at Boston University.”

The IET Innovation Awards recognize the most pioneering engineering and technology innovations across sectors such as energy and sustainability, transport, and healthcare.

Chosen from over 360 entries, Zhang’s award recognized her recent work in developing a new metamaterial that can improve magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) quality and decrease scan time…. Continue reading.

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Intelligent Metamaterials for Enhanced MRI

Via Boston University | November 7, 2019

Boston University researchers have developed a new, “intelligent” metamaterial—which costs less than 10 bucks to build—that could revolutionize magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), making the entire MRI process faster, safer, and more accessible to patients around the world. The technology, which builds on previous metamaterial work by the team, was described in a new paper in Advanced Materials. Read the full story, “Speeding Up MRI Scans to Save Lives” on BU Research.

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BU researchers design ‘intelligent’ metamaterial to make MRIs affordable and accessible

Via EurekAlert | November 5, 2019

Boston University researchers have developed a new, “intelligent” metamaterial–which costs less than ten bucks to build–that could revolutionize magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), making the entire MRI process faster, safer, and more accessible to patients around the world. The technology, which builds on previous metamaterial work by the team, was described in a new paper in Advanced Materials.

MRI is used by clinicians to diagnose medical problems by spotting abnormalities that could indicate anything from a torn meniscus to muscular dystrophy. But MRIs are expensive, expose patients to radiation, and they take a long time–often the greater part of an hour for a single scan. Finding enough MRI time for waiting patients can be a problem, even in US hospitals, but in hospitals in countries like India, waiting periods of a year or more can put patients’ lives at risk.

So how do we speed up the MRI process without jeopardizing the quality of imaging? Xin Zhang, a BU College of Engineering professor of mechanical engineering and a Photonics Center professor, and a team of researchers that includes Stephan Anderson, a Boston Medical Center radiologist and BU School of Medicine professor of radiology, and Xiaoguang Zhao, a MED assistant research professor of radiology, are getting creative with metamaterials to solve the problem… Continue reading.

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BU researchers develop new metamaterial that can improve MRI quality and reduce scan time

Via EurekAlert | June 10, 2019

Could a small ringlike structure made of plastic and copper amplify the already powerful imaging capabilities of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine? Xin Zhang, Stephan Anderson, and their team at the Boston University Photonics Center can clearly picture such a feat. With their combined expertise in engineering, materials science, and medical imaging, Zhang and Anderson, along with Guangwu Duan and Xiaoguang Zhao, designed a new magnetic metamaterial, reported in Communications Physics, that can improve MRI quality and cut scan time in half.

Zhang and Anderson say that their magnetic metamaterial could be used as an additive technology to increase the imaging power of lower-strength MRI machines, increasing the number of patients seen by clinics and decreasing associated costs, without any of the risks that come with using higher-strength magnetic fields. They even envision the metamaterial being used with ultra-low field MRI, which uses magnetic fields that are thousands of times lower than the standard machines currently in use. This would open the door for MRI technology to become widely available around the world… Continue reading.

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How Magnetic Metamaterial Improves MRI

Via Boston University | June 4, 2019


BU researchers Xin Zhang, Stephan Anderson, and their team at the Boston University Photonics Center, Guangwu Duan and Xiaoguang Zhao, designed a new magnetic metamaterial that can create clearer images at more than double the speed of a standard MRI scanner. In this video, learn how their magnetic metamaterial works. Read the full story, “Magnetic Metamaterial Can ‘Turn Up the Volume’ of MRI” on BU Research.

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BU researchers develop ‘acoustic metamaterial’ that cancels sound

Via EurekAlert | March 7, 2019

Boston University researchers, Xin Zhang, a professor at the College of Engineering, and Reza Ghaffarivardavagh, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, released a paper in Physical Review B demonstrating it’s possible to silence noise using an open, ringlike structure, created to mathematically perfect specifications, for cutting out sounds while maintaining airflow.

“Today’s sound barriers are literally thick heavy walls,” says Ghaffarivardavagh. Although noise-mitigating barricades, called sound baffles, can help drown out the whoosh of rush hour traffic or contain the symphony of music within concert hall walls, they are a clunky approach not well suited to situations where airflow is also critical. Imagine barricading a jet engine’s exhaust vent–the plane would never leave the ground. Instead, workers on the tarmac wear earplugs to protect their hearing from the deafening roar… Continue reading.

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Acoustic Metamaterial Noise Cancellation Device

Via Boston University | February 26, 2019


Xin Zhang, Boston University College is Engineering professor of ME, MSE, ECE, BME, and Reza Ghaffarivardavagh, mechanical engineering graduate researcher in Zhang’s lab, have designed an acoustic metamaterial and noise cancellation device capable of blocking up to 94% percent of the transmitted sound energy while preserving air flow. Read more about this acoustic metamaterial noise cancellation device on BU Research.

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ENG’s Xin Zhang Is BU’s 2018 Innovator of the Year, First Woman Chosen

Via Boston University | October 24, 2018

Cited for translational research on use of metamaterials in MRI, acoustic technologies

Xin Zhang is well-known for her pioneering work with metamaterials in areas as diverse as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), downwell sensor technology for the oil industry, and noise-cancellation acoustics. A College of Engineering professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering, she is the director of BU’s Laboratory for Microsystems Technology (LMST), which focuses on interdisciplinary research in microelectromechanical and nanoelectromechanical systems.

“Zhang is a creative innovator. You describe a problem to her and she can solve it,” says Michael Pratt (Questrom’13), managing director of BU’s Office of Technology Development. “She’s a go-to person for getting something done. It’s a true quality of an engineer, right? She can use these fundamental technologies and solve important problems across various domains.”

Zhang’s translational research has earned her this year’s Innovator of the Year award, bestowed annually by the University on a faculty member who “translates his/her world-class research into inventions and innovations that benefit humankind.” The award was presented last night during BU Connect, an annual research and innovation showcase. Zhang is the ninth faculty member and the first woman to win the award… Continue reading.

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Xin Zhang Presents DeLisi Distinguished Lecture

Via Boston University | May 29, 2018

Professor Xin Zhang, recipient of the 2018 Charles DeLisi Award and Distinguished Lecture, presented “Tailoring Electromagnetic and Acoustic Waves with MEMS and Metamaterials” on April 12, 2018. The Charles DeLisi Award and Lecture recognizes faculty members with extraordinary records of well-cited scholarship, senior leaders in industry and extraordinary entrepreneurs who have invented and mentored transformative technologies that impact our quality of life, and provides the recipient with a public forum to discuss his or her work before the Boston University academic community and the general public… Continue reading.

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Xin Zhang Named IEEE Fellow

Via Boston University | January 20, 2017

Professor Xin Zhang has been named fellows with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for her “contributions to microelectromechanical systems.” Zhang has applied MEMS techniques to develop metamaterials, arrays of engineered structures that act like artificial atoms and exhibit unusual properties such as negative refractive indices and cloaking. She has focused on creating metamaterials in the terahertz range (wavelengths between optical and microwave frequencies) that may ultimately be used for imaging, chemical detection, surveillance and high-speed electronic circuits… Continue reading.

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Xin Zhang Named AAAS Fellow

Via Boston University | November 23, 2016

Professor Xin Zhang has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for her distinguished contributions to micro/nanoelectromechanical systems. “Elevation to AAAS fellow is a richly deserved honor for Xin,” says Professor Alice White, chair of Mechanical Engineering. “It recognizes her impressive body of work using MEMS devices to enable groundbreaking interdisciplinary experiments from terahertz optics to cell biology. We are so proud to call her a colleague!” AAAS is the largest general scientific society in the world and publisher of the journal Science. The fellowship, a AAAS tradition dating back to 1875, is an honor awarded to members by a panel of their peers. Recipients are selected for “their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished… Continue reading.

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Xin Zhang Receives Technical Achievement Award

Via Boston University | August 25, 2016

Professor Xin Zhang (ME, MSE) is the recipient of the 2016 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Sensors Council Technical Achievement Award (advanced career) for her “distinguished contributions to the field of micro/nanoelectromechanical systems, addressing a wide range of important problems in advanced materials, photonics and energy.” The award honors a member of the council who has made outstanding contributions to the field of sensors, evidenced by publications and patents. The IEEE Sensors Council is an organization that fosters community among the engineers who work with sensors by providing publications, conferences and technical committees that serve as a platform to share knowledge among its members… Continue reading.

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Xin Zhang, Ph.D. Inducted into Medical and Biological Engineering Elite

Via AIMBE | January 20, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the pending induction of Xin Zhang, Ph.D., Professor, Mechanical Engineering/Materials Science and Engineering, Boston University, to its College of Fellows. Dr. Zhang was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows for pioneering contributions in expanding the toolset for measuring cellular behavior through the development of optomechanical and impedance-based sensing platforms.

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