Tianhong Cui

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Tianhong Cui

Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering
Room 2106
111 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455


Ph.D. 1995, Mechanical Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences
B.S. 1991, Mechanical Engineering, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Professional Background

Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota, 2017-present
Professor, Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota, 2010-2017
Nelson Associate Professor, University of Minnesota, 2013-2010
Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering, Louisiana Tech University, 1999-2003
STA Fellow, National Laboratory of Metrology, Japan, 1998-1999
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Electrical Engineering, University of Minnesota, 1997-1998
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Tsinghua University, 1995-1997

Scientific & Professional Societies

  • Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • Senior member, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)


Tianhong Cui is a leading expert on MEMS/NEMS and advanced manufacturing. His group investigates micro and nano devices using nanomaterials and polymers for new sensors and actuators for medical and environmental applications. He is the founding Executive Editor-in-Chief for a Nature journal, Microsystems & Nanoengineering. He is also the founding Editor-in-Chief for the first AAAS/Science Partner Journal titled Research.

Technology Integration & Advanced Nano/Microsystems Lab (TIAN lab) - ME 4128

ME Research Areas
Biosystems & Bioengineering
Materials & Mechanics

ME Impact Areas
Environment & Sustainability
Human Health

Research Interests
  • Micro/Nano Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS/NEMS).
  • Fundamental mechanical & electrical principles of new materials for MEMS/ NEMS and advanced manufacturing approaches.
  • MEMS/ NEMS including devices and systems using graphene, nanotubes, nanoparticles, nanocomposites, and polymers for new actuators, sensors, microfluidic devices, and photovoltaics for various applications to medical devices, environmental protection, precision agriculture, renewable energy, and electronics cooling.

Teaching Subjects
ME 3222: Mechanisms and Machine Design
ME 4054W: Senior Design
ME 5223: Materials in Design
ME 8254: Fundamentals of Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)

Honors and Awards

  • 2020  Best Paper Award, MIT A+B Applied Energy Symposium
  • 2020  Otstanding Executive Editor-in-Chief Award, Microsystems & Nanoengineering, Springer Nature
  • 2019  Best Conference Paper Award, IEEE Nano 2019
  • 2019  Distinguished Visiting Fellowship, Royal Academy of Engineering, United Kingdom
  • 2018  Fellow of ASME
  • 2017  Distinguished McKnight University Professorship, the University of Minnesota
  • 2017  Distinguished Visiting Professorship, ENS Foundation, France
  • 2017  International Exchange Award with University of Cambridge, Royal Society of the United Kingdom
  • 2017  Distinguished Lectureship, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada
  • 2013  Best Paper Award, International Conference 3M-NANO
  • 2013  Best Paper Award, Journal of Sensors
  • 2013  Distinguished Visiting Professorship, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • 2011  Distinguished Visiting Professorship, Tsinghua University
  • 2006  Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, University of Freiburg, Germany
  • 2003  Richard and Barbara Nelson Endowed Chair, University of Minnesota
  • 2002  Research Foundation Award, Louisiana Tech University
  • 1998  Senior Research Fellowship awarded by STA for excellent overseas researchers, Japan
  • 1997 NEDO Research Fellowship (the highest fellowship for overseas researchers) awarded by Japanese government for large frontier R & D projects, Japan

Selected Publications

  • Jungyoon Kim, Qingyuan Liu and Tianhong Cui, “Graphene Based Ion Sensitive-FET Sensor with Porous Anodic Aluminum Oxide Substrate for Nitrate Detection”, IEEE Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, Vol. 29, No. 5, 2020: 996-971.
  • Qingyuan Liu, Jungyoon Kim, and Tianhong Cui, “A Highly Sensitive Photoelectrochemical Sensor with Polarity-Switchable Photocurrent for Detection of Trace Hexavalent Chromium”, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, Vol. 317, 2020: 128181.
  • Peng Li, Bo Zhang, and Tianhong Cui, “Towards Intrinsic Graphene Biosensor: A Label-Free, Suspended Single Crystalline Graphene Sensor for Multiplex Lung Cancer Tumor Markers Detection”, Biosensors and Bioelectronics, Vol. 72, 2015: 168–174
  • Bo Zhang and Tianhong Cui, “Ultra-Sensitive and Low-Cost Cancer Sensor Based on Layer-by-Layer Self-Assembled Graphene”, Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 98, No. 7, 2011: 073116.
  • Feng Hua, Tianhong Cui, and Yuri Lvov, “Ultrathin Cantilevers Based on Polymer-Ceramic Nanocomposites Assembled by Layer-by-Layer Technique”, Nano Letters, Vol. 4, No. 5, 2004: 823-825.