Xiaolin Zheng honored for her solar innovation

Zheng_portrait_2012XIAOLIN ZHENG, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has been named in Technology Review‘s annual list of top young innovators.

The magazine honored Zheng as a pioneer for developing what it called an “ingenious solar sticker” that could turn almost any surface into a source of solar power. The flexible, decal-like solar panels can be peeled off like band-aids and applied to a window, a business card, the back of a mobile phone and other materials, yet they produce just as much electricity as rigid ones made of the same materials. Traditional solar panels are often deployed in stiff and often heavy fixed panels, limiting their applications.

MIT’s TR35 recognizes the world’s top innovators under age 35, spanning biotechnology, computer and electronics hardware and software, energy, the web and nanotechnology, among other emerging fields.

Zheng, who joined Stanford in 2007, has previously been honored with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the U.S. government’s highest honor for early-career engineers and scientists; the Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research; and the Young Faculty Award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Her research focuses on bridging combustion science and nanotechnology to provide innovative and revolutionary solutions to solve some of today’s most challenging problems, such as energy and the environment.

Zheng received her PhD and master’s degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University and her BS in thermal engineering from Tsinghua University.

Read the full announcement on the School of Engineering website.

—JAMIE BECKETT, Stanford School of Engineering