Research Topics Summary

  • Actuator system development
    • Shape memory alloy based actuator for aerospace, biomedical, and oil exploration applications
    • Piezoceramic actuators for precision positioning
  • Sensor system development
    • Piezoceramic based sensors for impact detection and structural health monitoring
    • Fiber optical based sensors for biomedical applications and civil applications
  • Vibration control and damping: active, passive, and semi-active
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Advanced and nonlinear controls
    • Hysteresis compensation
  • Innovative teaching equipment development
  • Real time control system and embedded control system development

Technical Challenges

  • As offshore oil exploration goes into deeper and deeper water, new actuation technology with fast response and less weight penalty is needed
  • Modern aerospace systems require with high power-to-mass ratio actuation system
  • A unified early stage strength monitoring and later health monitoring method is needed for concrete structures
  • Orthopedic research requires new strain sensors that are small and capable of large strain measurements
  • Cardiovascular research requires pressure sensors that can be delivered via catheters with zero drift.
  • Most of smart actuators possess hysteresis and hysteresis compensation is of great importance for accurate and stable controls

Recent Accomplishments*

  • Developed a novel mini-displacement sensor based on optical fiber Bragg gratings
  • Developed an innovative sensor for large strain measurement for biomedical applications
  • Invented a novel variable area exhaust nozzle for jet engines
  • Developed the piezoceramic based smart aggregator for health monitoring of concrete structures
  • Designed a sliding mode based robust controller for shape memory alloy (SMA) actuators and successfully applied to several SMA actuated systems.
  • Developed an automatic impact detection and health monitoring system for over-height trucks colliding with bridges
  • Designed an innovative self-sensing SMA actuation system
  • Developed several innovative teaching equipment

* Many of these accomplishments are outcomes of collaborative work with support from federal and state funding agencies, such as NSF, NASA, and ODOT.


  • Smart actuator may play an important role in ultra-deep sea oil exploration
  • Smart materials technology will result in smaller and more accurate biomedical sensors
  • Piezoceramic based smart aggregators will enable low-cast health monitoring of concrete structures
  • Advanced control methods will make smart actuator more accurate 
  • State-of-the-art research with benefit teaching via development of innovative teaching equipment