2014 - 2019

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Cambridge, MA

Thesis: Radiative Transport in Transparent Aerogels for Solar Energy Harvesting


Research interest:

radiative transport, heat and mass transfer, optics and photonics, porous material

2012 - 2014

University of Pennsylvania 

Thesis: Ultralight Shape-Recovering Plate Mechanical Metamaterials

M.S. in Nanotechnology

Philadelphia, PA

2008 - 2012

Tsinghua University

B.S. in Physics and Mathematics

Thesis: Photoanode Design for Quantum Dot Sensitized Solar Cells

Beijing, China




MIT Wunsch Foundation Silent Hoist and Crane Awards — Outstanding Graduate Research

2017 - 2019

MIT Tata Center Graduate Student Fellowship


MIT Audience Award, Mechanical Engineering Research Exhibition


Chee C. Tung (1966) Fellowship, MIT

Pappalardo Fellowship, MIT

John Henry Towne Fellow, UPenn


Freshman Scholarship, Tsinghua (ranked 7 out of 118,000 in college entrance exam)



2019 - Present

Thin Film Optics Design Engineer

Transportation and Electronics Business Group Lab


St Paul, MN

  • Birefringent Multilayer Polymeric Films for Light Control and Display Applications

  • ​Energy Saving Potential Assessment of Radiative Cooling 

2014 - 2019

Research Assistant

Tata Fellow

Device Research Laboratory

Mechanical Engineering


Cambridge, MA

  • Ultra-Transparent Silica Aerogels for Solar Thermal Energy Applications

  • Radiation Transfer in Random Media

  • Natural Convection Suppression in High-Flux Evaporators

2012 - 2014

Research Assistant

Wolf Nanofabrication Facility

Bargatin's group


Philadelphia, PA

  • Shape-recovering metamaterials development via microfabrication and finite-element simulation

  • Lithography process optimization for MEMS fabrication

2011 - 2012

Research Assistant

Prof. Lin Hong's Lab

Tsinghua University

Beijing, China

  • Photoanode design and optimization for dye-sensitized solar cells 

2010 - 2011

Research Intern

Elekta BMEI

Beijing, China

  • RF waveguide modeling and simulation for medical linear particle accelerators



  • Malik Blackman, undergraduate researcher, MIT Summer Research Program, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2018

  • Arny Leroy, Ph.D. student, MIT, 2017-2019

  • Alina Dale LaPotin, Ph.D. student, MIT, 2018-2019

  • Manoj Yadav, Ph.D. student, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, 2018-2020

  • Eric Lu, undergraduate researcher, UPenn, 2013-2014

  • Teaching Assistant for MEAM 503 Direct Energy Conversion: from Macro to Nano, UPenn, Fall 2013



  1. L. Zhao, B. Bhatia, L. Zhang, E. Strobach, L. Zhang, A. Leroy, M. K. Yadav, S. Yang, T. A. Cooper, L. A. Weinstein, A. Modi, S. B. Kedare, and E. N. Wang, “A passive high-temperature high-pressure solar steam generator for medical sterilization,” Joule, 2020 (in press)

  2. Z. Xu*, L. Zhang*, L. Zhao*, B. Li*, B. Bhatia, C. Wang, K. L. Wilke, Y. Song, O. Labban, J. Gao, T. Li, J. H. Lienhard, R. Wang, and E. N. Wang, “Ultrahigh-efficiency desalination via thermally-localized multistage solar still,” Energy Environ. Sci., 13, 830–839, 2020

  3. L. Zhao, M. Blackman, L. Zhang, B. Bhatia, A. Leroy, E. Strobach, E.N. Wang, “Plasmonic absorption-induced haze suppression in random scattering media,” Appl. Phys. Lett., 114(25), 251102, 2019

  4. L. Zhao, B. Bhatia, S. Yang, E. Strobach, L.A. Weinstein, T.A. Cooper, G. Chen, E.N. Wang, “Harnessing Heat Beyond 200 °C from Unconcentrated Sunlight with Nonevacuated Transparent Aerogels,” ACS Nano, 13(7), 7508-7516, 2019

  5. L. Zhao, E. Strobach, B. Bhatia, S. Yang, A. Leroy, L. Zhang, and E. N. Wang, “Theoretical and experimental investigation of haze in transparent aerogels,” Opt. Express 27(4), A39–A50, 2019

  6. L. Zhao, S. Yang, B. Bhatia, E. Strobach, E. N. Wang, “Modeling silica aerogel optical performance by determining its radiative properties,” AIP Adv. 6(2), 025123, 2016

  7. L. Zhang*, L. Zhao*, and E. N. Wang, “Stefan flow induced natural convection suppression on high-flux evaporator,” Int. Commun. Heat. Mass., 104255, 2020

  8. L. Zhang, R. Iwata, L. Zhao, S. Gong, Z. Lu, Y. Zhong, J. Zhu, S. Cruz, K. L. Wilke, P. Cheng, and E. N. Wang “Distribution of nucleation sites: a general theoretical framework with validation in droplet condensation,” Cell Reports Physical Science, 2020 (in press)

  9. A. LaPotin, Y. Zhong, L. Zhang, L. Zhao, A. Leroy, H. Kim, S. R. Rao, and E. N. Wang, “Dual-stage atmospheric water harvesting device for scalable solar-driven water production,” Joule, 2020 (in press)

  10. L. Zhang, Z. Xu, B. Bhatia, B. Li, L. Zhao, E. N. Wang, “Modeling and performance analysis of high-efficiency thermally-localized multistage solar stills,” Appl. Energy 266, 114864, 2020

  11. L. Zhao*, L. Zhang*, B. Bhatia, E.N. Wang, “Understanding anti-parity-time symmetric systems with a conventional heat transfer framework -- comment on “Anti-parity-time symmetry in diffusive systems”,” arXiv preprint, 1906.08431, 2019

  12. A. Leroy, B. Bhatia, C. C. Kelsall, A. Castillejo-Cuberos, M. Di Capua Hidalgo, L. Zhao, L. Zhang, A. Guzman Cuevas, and E. N. Wang, “High-performance sub-ambient radiative cooling enabled by optically selective and thermally insulating polyethylene aerogel,” Sci. Adv. 5, eaat9480, 2019

  13. E. Strobach, B. Bhatia, S. Yang, L. Zhao, and E. N. Wang, “High Temperature Stability of Transparent Silica Aerogels for Solar Thermal Applications,” APL Mater. 7(8), 081104, 2019

  14. E. Strobach, B. Bhatia, L. Zhao, and E. N. Wang, “Thermal Performance of High-Efficiency Window Technologies,” Annual Review of Heat Transfer, 2019

  15. L. Zhang, Z. Lu, Y. Song, L. Zhao, B. Bhatia, K.R. Bagnall, E.N. Wang, “Thermal Expansion Coefficient of Monolayer Molybdenum Disulfide Using Micro-Raman Spectroscopy,” Nano Lett. 19 4745–4751, 2019

  16. L. Zhang, J. Zhu, K. Wilke, Z. Xu, L. Zhao, L. L. Goddard, and E. N. Wang, “Enhanced environmental scanning electron microscopy for condensing droplets analysis,” ACS Nano. 13(2), 1953-1960, 2019

  17. A. Leroy, B. Bhatia, L. Zhao, and E. N. Wang, “Specular side reflectors for high efficiency thermal-to-optical energy conversion,” Opt. Express 26(10), A462–A479, 2018

  18. B. Bhatia, A. Leroy, Y. Shen, L. Zhao, M. Gianello, D. Li, T. Gu, J. H, M. Soljačić, and E. N. Wang, “Passive directional sub-ambient daytime radiative cooling,” Nat. Commun. 9(1), 5001, 2018

  19. L. Zhang, Y. Zhu, Z. Lu, L. Zhao, S. R. Rao, and E. N. Wang, “Characterization of thin film evaporation in micropillar wicks using micro-Raman spectroscopy,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 113(16), 163701, 2018

  20. L. A. Weinstein, K. McEnaney, E. Strobach, S. Yang, B. Bhatia, L. Zhao, Y. Huang, J. Loomis, F. Cao, S. V. Boriskina, Z. Ren, E. N. Wang, and G. Chen, “A Hybrid Electric and Thermal Solar Receiver,” Joule 2(5), 962-975, 2018

  21. H. Kim, S. R. Rao, E. A. Kapustin, L. Zhao, S. Yang, O. M. Yaghi, and E. N. Wang, “Adsorption-based atmospheric water harvesting device for arid climates,” Nat. Commun. 9(1), 1191, 2018

  22. E. Strobach, B. Bhatia, S. Yang, L. Zhao, and E. N. Wang, “High Temperature Annealing for Structural Optimization of Silica Aerogels in Solar Thermal Applications,” J. Non. Cryst. Solids 462, 72–77, 2017

  23. K. Davami, L. Zhao, E. Lu, J. Cortes, C. Lin, D.E. Lilley, P.K. Purohit, and I. Bargatin, “Ultralight shape-recovering plate mechanical metamaterials,” Nat. Commun. 6, 10019, 2015

  24. Y. Oda, H. Shen, L. Zhao, J. Li, M. Iwamoto, and H. Lin, “Energetic alignment in nontoxic SnS quantum dot-sensitized solar cell employing spiro-OMeTAD as the solid-state electrolyte,” Sci. Technol. Adv. Mater. 15(3), 035006, 2014

  25. H. Shen, J. Li, L. Zhao, S. Zhang, W. Wang, D. Oron, and H. Lin, “Synergistic recombination suppression by an inorganic layer and organic dye molecules in highly photostable quantum dot sensitized solar cells,” Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 16(3), 6250-6256, 2014

  26. K. Abe, H. Shen, X. Li, L. Zhao, X. Zhao, J. Li, M. Iwamoto, and H. Lin, “Optical and electrical properties of uniform non-toxic Cu2ZnSnS4 nanocrystal and its application in solar cells,” Polyhedron 82, 148-153, 2014

  27. H. Shen, H. Lin, L. Zhao, Y. Liu, and D. Oron, “Large Pore Size and High Porosity of TiO2 Photoanode for Excellent Photovoltaic Performance of CdS Quantum Dot Sensitized Solar Cell,” J. Nanosci. Nanotechnol. 13(2), 1095-1100, 2013

​*equal contribution