Faculty Directory

Yu, Miao

Yu, Miao

Mechanical Engineering
The Institute for Systems Research
Maryland Robotics Center
2108 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 2018–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 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



Optical sensors; sensor mechanics and material behavior at multiple spatial scales; micro- and nano-scale sensor systems; bio-inspired sensors, and sensor networks; adaptive optics, wavefront sensing and control, imaging through turbulence; smart materials and structures; and theoretical and experimental mechanics


  • 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.

Maryland-led, Multi-institutional Research Team Receives $10M to Transform Shellfish Farming with Smart Technology

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

Spread Hope: The "Smart Bra"

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

Derek Paley named Maryland Robotics Center director

Paley's term will begin July 1, 2019.

Miao Yu honored with USM Regents Faculty Award

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

Maryland Robotics Center students present results of semester-long project on robotics in agriculture and aquaculture

Teams identified challenges of Maryland agriculture and aquaculture that could be addressed or assisted with robotics technologies.

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.

Yu Named ASME Fellow

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

MRC faculty hosting REU summer program in bioinspired robotics

Ten undergraduate students from throughout the US are conducting research under the guidance of MRC faculty.

Miao Yu named Maryland Robotics Center director

Yu develops sensors useful in a variety of robotics applications.

New AFOSR NIFTI Center features eight Clark School faculty

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

Students present final projects for 2014 NSF Microrobotics REU

Research ranged from robotic skin to leg designs, inertial tail actuators, and more.

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.'