Faculty Directory

Yu, Miao

Yu, Miao

Mechanical Engineering
The Institute for Systems Research
Maryland Robotics Center
2106A Glenn L. Martin Hall

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 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.

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. 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. She was the director of the Maryland Robotics Center from July 2017–June 2019.


Ph.D., (Mechanical Engineering) University of Maryland, 2002

M.S., (Engineering Mechanics) Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 1998

B.S., (Engineering Mechanics) Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 1996

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 System of Maryland awards

USM Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Research/Scholarship/Creative Activities, 2019

Wilson H. Elkins Professorship, FY2024–FY2025

University of Maryland awards

The Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, 2006

Invention of the Year Award in the Physical Sciences Category, 2002


Six invention disclosures, three U.S. patents in the area of fiber-optic sensor systems

Professional memberships

Paper Reviewer for Journal of Precision Engineering, Journal of Mechatronics, and Journal of Experimental Mechanics, AIAA Journal, Journal of Experimental Mechanics, Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, Journal of Acoustic Society of America, IEEE/ASME Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems

ASEE Field Reviewer for Post-doctoral Fellowship Proposals

Program Committee of SPIE Conference on Modeling, Signal Processing and Control, since 2004

Technical Committee of ASME-IMECE on Dynamics and Control of Structures and Systems, since 2006

Program Committee of SPIE Optics East Conference on Sensors for Harsh Environments, 2007

Program Committee of SPIE Photonics Asia Conference on Advanced Materials and  Devices for Sensing and Imaging, 2007



Wave matter interactions; photonic sensors; metamaterials,  micro- and nano-scale sensor systems; bio-inspired sensors, robotic sensing; sensor networks; adaptive optics, wavefront sensing and control, imaging through turbulence; smart materials and structures


  • 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.

AquatiClaw Grabs Departmental Award at Capstone Expo

Event features projects developed by more than 500 Maryland Engineering seniors.

University of Maryland Has Strong Presence at ICRA 2024

Researchers detail advancements in navigation, trajectory planning.

Balachandran, Cameron, Yu Receive 2024 MURI Award

A multidisciplinary team of researchers will study complexity science.

Funding Renewed for Research on Ventilator Alternative

“Third lung” approach transfers oxygen through the abdomen.

Yu Named Elkins Professor

Award to support research on marine ecosystem monitoring, boost collaboration.

Miao Yu to develop cost-effective sensor for measuring lake health

NSF funding will improve sensing for long-term lake deployment, even under winter ice.

Miao Yu receives NSF funding to develop ice-measuring sensors

Novel acoustic metamaterials will be incorporated into a tool that can provide long-range, high-resolution thickness and internal structure measurements for improved polar ice melt estimates.

Miao Yu selected as Wilson H. Elkins Professor

The endowed professorship is named for the former long-serving president of UMD.

Modi Briefed on UMD-led Aquaculture Research

Doctoral student Kaustubh Joshi delivered a presentation on modernizing the industry with advanced tech.

UMD’s Tubaldi Wins NSF CAREER Award

Improved cardiovascular implants could be one result of an ME faculty member’s groundbreaking research.

The Modern Battle for Maryland’s Oysters

UMD researchers use AI and robotics to help revive a struggling industry.

Acoustic waveguide developed using cascaded acoustic Luneburg lenses

The invention could be used as an on-chip waveguide as part of an acoustic circuit for acoustic communications.

Newly-Opened SMART Building to Spur Autonomy Research

Maryland engineering will benefit from state-of-the-art labs and facilities at USMSM.

UMD Engineers Help Pioneer New Treatment for Respiratory Failure

NSF awards $3.6 million to support “third lung” research.

Young Investigator Fellowship Supports "Third Lung" Research

Project members are developing the "Third Lung," a transformative technology for extra-pulmonary respiration.

Mechanical Engineering Celebrates Graduate Students’ Achievement

Annual awards ceremony recognizes outstanding graduate student achievements.

Stretchable, soft sensing skins for robots

Such skins could equip soft robots with integrated sensing and estimation.

Maryland engineers receive $10M to transform shellfish farming

The team will help farmers tap the economic potential and environmental benefits of shellfish aquaculture.

Giving Spotlight: Maria Korsnick

Alumna Maria Korsnick (B.S. nuclear engineering ’86) contributes to the Marvin Roush Fellowship in Risk and Reliability.

Spread Hope: The "Smart Bra"

The "smart bra" is a low-cost wearable device that could conceivably detect breast cancer early enough for treatment.

Srebric to Receive 2020 USM Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Innovation

Award is highest honor bestowed to faculty by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.

Thin Wood Film Amplifies Speaker Technology

UMD study published in Nature Communications.

Miao Yu honored with USM Regents Faculty Award

Yu will be honored for her for excellence in research/scholarship/creative activities.

Alumnus Wins DARPA Young Faculty Award

UMD alumnus to conduct research on polymer-based replicated multi-modal fiber Bragg grating for Fentanyl detection.

Lu, Gollob win ISR annual awards

ISR's outstanding graduate student and undergraduate student awards were given at the Institute's welcome back reception.

Bioinspired robotics REU students present final projects

The REU was led by Hugh Bruck and Sarah Bergbreiter, along with Clark School faculty and graduate student mentors.

Hahn Receives NSF CAREER Award

NSF awards Hahn funding to research “white-box” autonomy in medical systems.

Yu Named ASME Fellow

Professor Miao Yu has been named an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Fellow.

Miao Yu named Maryland Robotics Center director

Yu develops sensors useful in a variety of robotics applications.

Yu Promoted to Professor

Department of Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Miao Yu promoted to the rank of Professor.

Kusimo to Deliver Student Speech for Clark School Spring Commencement

Mechanical Engineering senior Abisola Kusimo will deliver Clark School Spring Commencement
student speech.

New AFOSR NIFTI Center features eight Clark School faculty

Center will create bio-inspired solutions for small, remotely operated aircraft.

UMD Researchers Use Artificially Engineered Materials to Create Breakthrough for Sound Sensors

"Enhanced Acoustic Sensing through Wave Compression and Pressure Amplification in Anisotropic Metamaterials" published in Nature Communications 

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.

Bruck Named SEM Fellow

Department of Mechanical Engineering Professor Hugh Bruck named SEM Fellow.

Bruck, Smela, Yu receive NSF grant for compliant multifunctional robotic structures

National Robotics Initiative grant will develop a robotic 'nervous system.'

Yu and Liu Receive New Patent

Miao Yu and Haijun Liu patent bio-inspired system and method for sensing and localizing acoustic signals.

Mechanical Engineering Alumnus to Join Faculty at WPI

Yuxiang Liu will teach mechanical engineering at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute starting this fall.

Miao Yu selected for NAE Frontiers of Engineering Symposium

Yu is one of 100 young engineers selected to discuss cutting-edge research.

Miao Yu Invited to Attend 2012 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium

Professor among 100 engineers under 45 selected to attend the conference.

Dr. Miao Yu and Research Team Receives Patent

Professor and research team patent an ultra-miniature fiber-optic pressure sensor system and method of fabrication.

Zhijian Zhang Wins First Place in IEEE Photonics Society’s Student Poster Competition

Ph.D. student receives award for poster display on optics and photonics.

Kusimo Wins $1,000 in Alpha Phi Alpha Scholarship Contest

Sophomore mechanical engineering major encourages youth to be advocates for their beliefs.

Yu and Team Develop Fiber-Based Plasmonic Lens

UMD/NIST collaboration develops versatile optical technology.

Yu Collaborates With U.S. Army Research Lab

ME professor and students develop new microphone array system.

Miao Yu Promoted to Associate Professor

UM graduate receives tenure in the Department.

Miao Yu wins NSF grant for fiber optic tweezers

The project will develop a flexible and efficient dexterous dual fiber tweezers system.

Espy-Wilson, Rubloff Are Top UM Inventors

Speech enhancing algorithm, high-density energy storage cells named best of '09.

Aerospace publication highlights Miao Yu research

Fly ear work of ISR-affiliated professor could aid MAV navigation.

Yu, Balachandran awarded US Patent 7,428,054

Micro-optical fiber tip based sensor system will measure pressure, acceleration and pressure gradients.

Miao Yu Receives AFOSR YIP Award

Award will support research on fly ear-inspired sensors for detection and localization.

Mechanical Engineering Recognizes Faculty Accomplishments

Edward B. Magrab honored at reception recognizing distinguished service to campus and department.

Teng Li wins Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award

Seed money to be used to explore flexible electronics research.

Department Welcomes German Fulbright Scholars

German-American Fulbright Program provides educational exchange.

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.

Mechanical Engineering Honors Prof. James Wallace & Faculty

Mechanical Engineering faculty were honored at the Faculty Recognition Event and Dinner on Friday, May 12.

Miao Yu Receives Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award

Yu is one of only two Maryland faculty nominated by the University to earn this award.

Dr. Miao Yu to Joins ME Department

Dr. Miao Yu joined the Mechanical Engineering Department in January as a tenure-track Assistant Professor.

New Company Formed on Award-Winning Invention

The company, called Odexia, is incorporating with plans to open in College Park, Balachandran said.

Profs. Balachandran and Sandborn Winners of OTC Invention of the Year Competition

Professors Balakumar Balachandran and Peter Sandborn were the winners of two of the three (OTC) Invention of the Year Awards.

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)