Zhenyun Qian

Associate Research Professor,  Electrical and Computer Engineering



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Zhenyun Qian received his B.S. degree in Electronic Science and Engineering from Southeast University, Nanjing, China, in 2011, the M.S. and Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Northeastern University, Boston, MA, in 2013 and 2017, respectively. His research interests include piezoelectric/thermo-mechanical transducers, 2D materials enhanced NEMS devices, low-power/zero-power sensors, MEMS-based optical switches, and flexible electronics. He has published more than 40 papers in the field of MEMS/NEMS. Zhenyun Qian was the recipient of the Outstanding Paper Award at the 18th International Conference on Solid-State Sensors, Actuators and Microsystems (Transducers 2015) and the Best Paper Award at the 2017 European Frequency and Time Forum & International Frequency Control Symposium (IFCS-EFTF 2017).

Honors & Awards

DARPA Riser 2018

2017 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad

Research Centers and Institutes

Selected Publications

• S. Kang, Z. Qian, V. Rajaram, S. Calisgan, A. Alù, M. Rinaldi, “Ultra-narrowband Metamaterial Absorbers for High Spectral Resolution Infrared Spectroscopy”, Advanced Optical Materials, 2018, 1801236.
• V. Rajaram, Z. Qian, S. Kang, S. Calisgan, N. McGruer, and M. Rinaldi, “Zero-Power Electrically Tunable Micromechanical Photoswitches”, IEEE Sensors Journal, vol.18, issue 19, pp. 7833 – 7841, 2018.
• Z. Qian, S. Kang, V. Rajaram, C. Cassella, N. McGruer and M. Rinaldi, “Zero Power Infrared Digitizers Based on Plasmonically-enhanced Micromechanical Photoswitches”, Nature Nanotechnology, 12(10), pp. 969 – 973, 2017.
• Z. Qian, Y. Hui, F. Liu, S. Kang, S. Kar and M. Rinaldi, “Graphene Aluminum Nitride NEMS Resonant Infrared Detector”, Microsystems & Nanoengineering, doi: 10.1038/micronano.2016.26, 2016.
• Z. Qian, F. Liu, Y. Hui, S. Kar and M. Rinaldi, “Graphene as a Massless Electrode for Ultrahigh-Frequency Piezoelectric Nanoelectromechanical Systems”, Nano Letters, 15 (7), pp. 4599–4604, 2015.
Matteo Rinaldi and Zhenyun Qian


Mar 12, 2024

Patent for Designing Zero-Power Sensors for Crop Water Management

ECE Professor Matteo Rinaldi and Associate Research Professor Zhenyun Qian were awarded a patent for “Zero-power wireless system for crop water content monitoring.”


Feb 26, 2024

Northeastern Among Top 100 Universities for Utility Patents

Northeastern University, recognized for its excellence in innovation and entrepreneurship, has once again been named one of the top 100 universities worldwide for securing utility patents by the National Academy of Inventors.


Feb 14, 2023

$4 Million DARPA Grant for Ultra-Small, Fast, High-Resolution Infrared Sensors

Matteo Rinaldi, professor of electrical and computer engineering (ECE), and director of the Northeastern SMART research center, is leading a $4 million DARPA grant under the DARPA Optomechanical Thermal Imaging (OpTIm) program.

Matteo Rinaldi and Zhenyun Qian


Jan 18, 2023

Designs for a Zero Power Plasmonic Microelectromechanical Device

ECE Professor Matteo Rinaldi and Research Assistant Professor Zhenyun Qian were awarded a patent for designing a “Zero power plasmonic microelectromechanical device.”

Matteo Rinaldi and Zhenyun Qian


Jun 09, 2022

Monitoring Crop Fields with Zero-Power Sensors

ECE Professor Matteo Rinaldi and Research Assistant Professor Zhenyun Qian were awarded a patent for “Zero-power wireless chemical sensor for agricultural pests and disease monitoring.” Abstract Source: USPTO An ultra-miniaturized, low-cost, and maintenance-free chemical sensor is capable of continuously monitoring the concentration of specific volatile organic compound (VOC) vapors released from crop plants and green […]

Matteo Rinaldi and Zhenyun Qian


Jun 04, 2020

Developing ‘Off But Alert’ Wireless Sensors to Protect People and Assets from Fire

ECE Associate Professor Matteo Rinaldi and Research Assistant Professor Zhenyun Qian was awarded a $550K NSF grant for “Zero-power Wireless Flame Detector for Ubiquitous Fire Monitoring.” They will be working with industrial partner United Technologies Corporation (UTC).

Matteo Rinaldi and Zhenyun Qian


May 07, 2020

Rinaldi & Qian Awarded Patent Zero Power Plasmonic MEMS

ECE Associate Professor Matteo Rinaldi and Research Assistant Professor Zhenyun Qian were awarded a patent for “Zero power plasmonic microelectromechanical device”.

gapfund logo


Jan 30, 2020

Eight COE Projects Selected for GapFund360

Northeastern’s GapFund360 program helps Northeastern’s researchers bridge the gap between promising lab results and demonstrating a commercially viable prototype. Awards range from $50K -$100K. Nine projects were selected from a pool of 39 applications from across the university; COE contributed 25 of the applications and seven projects were selected for funding. Congratulations to the following COE researchers whose projects were selected for Phase I or Phase II GapFund360 funding: ChE Assistant Professor Sidi Bencherif, MIE Assistant Professor Safa Jamali, ECE Assistant Professor Sarah Ostadabbas, ChE/COS Associate Professor Carolyn Lee-Parsons, ECE Professor Tommaso Melodia, ECE Associate Research Scientist Salvatore D’Oro, ECE Associate Professor Kaushik Chowdhury, ECE Principal Research Scientist Yousof Naderi, ECE Postdoc Ufuk Muncuk, ECE Professor Vincent Harris, ECE Associate Research Scientist Parisa Andalib, ECE Associate Professor Matteo Rinaldi, and ECE Research Assistant Professor Zhenyun Qian.


May 23, 2019

Qian Receives TechConnect Innovation Award

ECE Research Assistant Professor Zhenyun Qian received the TechConnect 2019 Innovation Award for his research on “Miniaturized Zero-Power Flame Detectors for Ubiquitous Fire Monitoring”.

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