Advanced Nanomaterials & Microrobotics Laboratory

Lab Director

General Information

Professor, Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering

The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Tel: (852) 3943-1150; Fax: (852) 2603-6002


Li Zhang is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering (MAE) and a Professor by Courtesy in the Department of Surgery at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). He is also a director of the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) – CUHK Joint Laboratory of Robotics and Intelligent Systems. Before he joined CUHK as an Assistant Professor in 2012, he worked in Prof. Bradley Nelson’s group as a postdoc and then as a senior scientist and lecturer in the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IRIS), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Switzerland.  

Dr. Zhang's main research interests include small-scale robotics and their applications for translational biomedicine. He has authored or co-authored over 300 publications, including Science Robotics, Nature Machine Intelligence, Science Advances, Nature Communications, Advanced Materials, Matter, ACS Nano, AFM, TRO, IJRR, SoRo, Annual Review of Control, Robotics, and Autonomous Systems, as the corresponding author. His research work at ETH Zurich was indexed by the Guinness Book of World Records 2012 for the “Most Advanced Mini Robot for Medical Use.” Dr. Zhang has won several awards or in the Finalist from IEEE international conferences, including ICRA, IROS, CASE, ROBIO, ICARM, MARSS, NANOMED, 3M-NANO and Living Machines. He won the Hong Kong Research Grants Committee (RGC) Early Career Award in 2013, CUHK Young Researcher Award 2017, United College Early Career Research Excellence Merit Award 2018, CUHK Research Excellence Award 2019-20, and RGC Research Fellow (RFS) Award 2021/22. He currently serves as Editor/Associate Editor/Editorial Board Member of ten international journals, such as IEEE TRO, IEEE/ASME T-MECH, IEEE T-ASE, Advanced Intelligent Systems (Wiley), Biomicrofluidics (AIP), and Research (AAAS). Dr. Zhang is a Distinguished Lecturer appointed by IEEE NTC in 2020 and 2021. Since 2012 (after he joined CUHK), he has been acted/acting as PC/PI for 24 competitive grants from RGC (13 projects including Early Career Award, RFS Award, RIF, EU-RGC, GRF, JLFS, and PROCORE-HK JRS), ITC (8 projects including MRP, Tier-2, Tier-3, PSTS, and TSSSU), the Croucher Foundation (2 projects) and NSFC (1 project). He is also Co-PI in 2 RGC CRF projects. Dr. Zhang is an Outstanding Fellow of the Faculty of Engineering at CUHK and elected as a Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC).

張立,祖籍浙江寧波,本科畢業于浙江大學。他目前是香港中文大學機械與自動化工程學系教授及港中文醫學院外科學系禮任教授,同時任中國科學院深圳先進技術研究院(SIAT)-香港中文大學機器人與智慧系統聯合實驗室港方主任。張立教授于2012年加入香港中文大學,此前曾在瑞士蘇黎世聯邦理工學院(ETHZ)Bradley Nelson教授課題組進行博士後研究,之後在ETHZ機器人與智慧系統研究所(IRIS)擔任高級研究員和講師。

張立教授的主要研究領域包括微納機器人學及其生物醫學應用。迄今為止,他已在包括Science RoboticsNature Machine IntelligenceScience AdvancesNature CommunicationsAdvanced MaterialsMatterACS NanoAFMTROIJRRSoRoAnnual Review of ControlRobotics, and Autonomous Systems等國際知名期刊上發表300多篇文章等出版物。他在蘇黎世聯邦理工學院的研究工作於2012年被吉尼斯世界紀錄收錄為“最先進的醫療微型機器人”。張立教授曾多次入圍並獲得國際會議獎項,包括ICRAIROSCASEROBIOICARMMARSSNANOMED3M-NANO以及Living Machines等。他曾獲2013年香港研究資助局(RGC)傑出青年學者獎、2017年香港中文大學青年學者研究成就獎、2018年聯合書院傑出青年學者研究獎、2019年香港中文大學卓越研究獎、2021年香港研究資助局研究學者計畫獎、2020年與2021年國際電氣與電子工程師學會納米技術委員會(IEEE NTC)傑出講師。目前擔任IEEE TROIEEE/ASME T-MECHIEEE T-ASEAdvanced Intelligent Systems (Wiley)Biomicrofluidics (AIP)Research (AAAS)等國際期刊的編輯(或副主編/編委)。自加入香港中文大學以來,張立教授先後擔任了24 個研究項目的首要負責人(PI),包括13個香港研究資助局項目(傑出青年學者計劃研資局研究學者計劃研究影響基金歐盟與香港研究資助局研究及創新合作計劃優配研究金聯合實驗室資助計劃法國與香港合作研究計劃)、8個香港創新科技署項目(院校中游研發計劃創新及科技支援計劃(平台及種子)公營機構試用計劃大學科技初創企業資助計劃)、兩個裘槎基金會項目(中港聯合實驗室研究資助贊助國際會議及學術活動)和一項中国國家自然科學基金項目,同時還擔任了兩個香港研究資助局協作研究金項目的聯合負責人。此外,張立教授也是香港中文大學工程學院傑出學人和英國皇家化學學會會士(FRSC)。

Selected Awards and Honours

Outstanding Fellow of the Faculty of Engineering (CUHK)


Best Student Paper Award in MARSS 2022 (as the PhD supervisor)


Elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC)


EMedIC Global Clinical Readiness Award


Research Fellow Award by the Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong


IEEE 3M-NANO Best Conference Paper Award


IEEE Nanotechnology Council (IEEE NTC) Distinguished Lecturer


Toshio Fukuda Best Paper Award in Mechatronics in IEEE ARM2020


Best Student Paper Award in the IEEE CASE2020 (as the PhD supervisor)


IEEE Nanotechnology Council (IEEE NTC) Distinguished Lecturer


CUHK Research Excellence Award 2019-20


IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics (TMECH) Best Paper Award Finalist


1st Prize in International Bionic Innovation Competition 2019


CUHK United College Early Career Research Excellence Merit Award 2018


CUHK Young Researcher Award 2017


Best Paper Award in Biomimetics – Finalist in IEEE ROBIO2014


Early Career Award by the Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong


2013 JALA Ten Award


Best Paper Award of Living Machines 2013


Helical swimming microrobot, Artificial Bacterial Flagella (ABF), is reported in the Guinness Book of World Records 2012, described as "Most Advanced Mini Robot for Medical Use"


Best Student Paper Award in IEEE IROS2012


Best Paper Award in IEEE NANOMED2010


Best Student Paper Award in IEEE ICRA2010


Best Automation Paper Award–Finalist in IEEE ICRA2007


Chinese government award for outstanding self-financed students abroad


Main Research Interests

Micro- and nanorobotics: develop micro-/nanorobots and integrated platforms for translational biomedicine.

Develop intelligent micro-/nanorobotic swarm and understand the collective behavior.

Bridging micro-/nanotechnology and functional materials with sensors, actuators, and robotics at small scales for realizing miniature medical devices.

Representative Journal Publications

(For full publications list, please visit: )

  1. Y. Dong, L. Wang, N. Xia, Z. X. Yang, C. Zhang, C. F. Pan, D. D. Jin, J. C. Zhang, C. Majidi*, L. Zhang*, Untethered small-scale magnetic soft robot with programmable magnetization and integrated multifunctional modules, Science Advances, Vol. 9, Issue 25, eabn8932, 2022.

  2. L. D. Yang, J. L. Jiang, X. J. Gao, Q. L. Wang, Q. Dou, L. Zhang*, Autonomous environment-adaptive microrobot swarm navigation enabled by deep learning-based real-time distribution planning, Nature Machine Intelligence, Vol. 4, 480-493, 2022.

  3. M. M. Sun, C. Y. Tian, L. Y. Mao, X. H. Meng, X. J. Shen, B. Hao, X. Wang, H. Xie*, L. Zhang*, Reconfigurable Magnetic Slime Robot: Deformation, Adaptability, and Multifunction, Advanced Functional Materials, Vol. 32, Issue 26, 2112508, 2022. (highlighted in BBC, New Scientist, CNN, Bloomberg, CUHK in Touch)

  4. J. F. Yu, L. D. Yang, X. Z. Du, H. Chen, T. T. Xu, L. Zhang*, Adaptive Pattern and Motion Control of Magnetic Microrobotic Swarms, IEEE Transactions on Robotics, Vol. 38, Issue 3, 1552-1570, 2022.

  5. L. D. Yang, J. F. Yu, S. H. Yang, B. Wang, B. J. Nelson, and L. Zhang*, A Survey on Swarm Microrobotics, IEEE Transactions on Robotics, Vol. 38, Issue 3, 1531-1551, 2022.

  6. D. D. Jin, L. Zhang*, Collective Behaviors of Magnetic Active Matter: Recent Progress toward Reconfigurable, Adaptive, and Multifunctional Swarming Micro/Nanorobots, Accounts of Chemical Research, Vol. 55, Issue 1, 98-109, 2022.

  7. D. D. Jin^, K. Yuan^, X. Z. Du, Q.Q. Wang, S. J. Wang, L. Zhang*, Domino reaction encoded heterogeneous colloidal microswarm with on-demand morphological adaptability, Advanced Materials, Vol. 33, Issue 37, 2100070, 2021.

  8. B. Wang, K. F. Chan, K. Yuan, Q. Wang, X. Xia, L. Yang, H. Ko, Y.-X. J. Wang, J. J. Y. Sung, P. W. Y. Chiu, L. Zhang*, Endoscopy-assisted magnetic navigation of biohybrid soft microrobots with rapid endoluminal delivery and imaging, Science Robotics, Vol. 6, eabd2813, 2021.

  9. QQ Wang, KF Chan, K Schweizer, XZ Du, DD Jin, SCH Yu, BJ Nelson, L Zhang*, Ultrasound Doppler-guided real-time navigation of a magnetic microswarm for active endovascular delivery, Science Advances, eabe5914, 2021.

  10. LD Yang, L Zhang*, Motion Control in Magnetic Microrobotics: from Individual and Multiple Robots to Swarm, Annual Review of Control, Robotics, and Autonomous Systems, Vol. 4, 509-534, 2021.

  11. Y. Dong^, L. Wang^; K. Yuan^, F. T. Ji, J. H. Gao, Z. F. Zhang, X. Z. Du, Y. Tian, Q. Q. Wang, L. Zhang*, Magnetic Microswarm Composed of Porous Nanocatalysts for Targeted Elimination of Biofilm Occlusion, ACS Nano, Vol. 15, Issue 3, 5056-5067, 2021.

  12. D. D. Jin, L. Zhang*, Microrobotics - Embodied intelligence weaves a better future ("News & Views"), Nature Machine Intelligence, Vol. 2, 663–664, 2020.

  13. F. T. Ji, D. D. Jin, B. Wang, L. Zhang*, Light-driven hovering of a magnetic microswarm in fluid, ACS Nano, Vol. 14, Issue 6, 6990-6998, 2020.

  14. L. D. Yang, J. F, Yu, L. Zhang*, Statistics-based automated control for a swarm of paramagnetic nanoparticles in 2D space, IEEE Transactions on Robotics, Vol. 36, Issue 1, 254-270, 2020.

  15. L. D. Yang, Y. B. Zhang, Q. Q. Wang, L. Zhang*, An automated microrobotic platform for rapid detection of C. diff toxins, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, Vol. 67, Issue 9, 1517-1527, 2020. (featured article)

  16. J. F. Yu^, D. D. Jin^, K. F. Chan, Q. Q. Wang, K. Yuan, L. Zhang*, Active generation and magnetic actuation of microrobotic swarms in bio-fluids, Nature Communications, Vol. 10, 5631, 2019.

  17. D.D. Jin^, J. F. Yu^, K. Yuan, L. Zhang*, Mimicking the structure and function of ant bridge in reconfigurable microswarm for electronic applications, ACS Nano, Vol. 13, Issue 5, 5999-6007, 2019. (highlighted by SITN @ Harvard University, C&EN and Chemistry World)

  18. Y. B. Zhang, L. Zhang, L. D. Yang, C. I. Vong, K. F. Chan, W. K. K. Wu, T. N. Y. Kwong, N. W. S. Lo, M. Ip, S. H. Wong, J. J. Y. Sung, P. W. Y. Chiu, L. Zhang*, Real-time tracking of fluorescent magnetic spore–based microrobots for remote detection of C. diff toxins, Science Advances, Vol. 5, no. 1, eaau9650, 2019.

  19. J. F. Yu and L. Zhang*, Reversible swelling and shrinking of paramagnetic nanoparticle swarms in bio-fluids with high ionic strength, IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, Vol. 24, Issue 1, 154-163, 2019. (2020 IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics (TMECH) Best Paper Award Finalist)

  20. J. F. Yu, B. Wang, X. Z. Du, Q. Q. Wang and L. Zhang*, Ultra-extensible ribbon-like magnetic microswarm, Nature Communications, Vol. 9, 3260, 2018. (highlighted in Nature News, Nature video, Nature News and Comment Facebook page and CNN news)

  21. J. F. Yu, L. D. Yang and L. Zhang*, Pattern generation and motion control of a vortex-like paramagnetic nanoparticle swarm, International Journal of Robotics Research (IJRR), Vol. 37, Issue 8, 912-930, 2018.

  22. X. Yan, Q. Zhou, M. Vincent, Y. Deng, J. F. Yu, J. Xu, T. Xu, T. Tang, L. Bian, Y. Wang, K. Kostarelos, L. Zhang*, Multifunctional biohybrid magnetite microrobots for imaging-guided therapy, Science Robotics, Vol. 2, Issue 12, eaaq1155, 2017. (highlighted in Science News)

  23. S. Tottori, L. Zhang*, F. Qiu, K. Krawczyk, A. France-Obregon, B. J. Nelson, Magnetic Helical Micromachines: Fabrication, Swimming Control and Cargo Transport, Advanced Materials, Vol. 24, No. 6, 811-816, 2012. (Google Scholar Citations > 900)

  24. T. Petit, L. Zhang*, K. E. Peyer, B. Kratochvil, B. J. Nelson, Selective Trapping and Manipulation of Microscale Objects Using Mobile Microvortices, Nano Letters, Vol. 12, 156-160, 2012. (highlighted in Nature, Research Highlights, Nanotechnology - Swirls move tiny objects, Vol. 480, 294, 2011)

  25. L. Zhang, J. J. Abbott, L. X. Dong, B. E. Kratochvil, D. Bell, B. J. Nelson, Artificial Bacterial Flagella: Fabrication and Magnetic Control, Applied Physics Letters, Vol.94, 064107, 2009. (highlighted in Nature, News and Views, Miniature devices: Voyage of the microrobots, Vol. 458, 1121-1122, 2009; Google Scholar Citations > 1000)

  26. L. Zhang, E. Ruh, D. Grützmacher, L. X. Dong, D. J. Bell, B. J. Nelson, C. Schönenberger, Anomalous Coiling of SiGe/Si and SiGe/Si/Cr Helical Nanobelts, Nano Letters, Vol. 6, 1311-1317, 2006. (highlighted twice in Science magazine. Editor's Choice: All Wound Up, Science, Vol. 312, 2006, 1719, also highlighted in Scinece, News Focus, “Pretty as You Please, Curling Films Turn Themselves Into Nanodevices”, Vol. 313. 164-165)

Representative Conference papers

Moqiu Zhang, Lidong Yang, Haojin Yang, Lin Su, Li Zhang*, A Doppler and B-mode Hybrid Ultrasound Tracking Method for Microcatheter Navigation in Noisy Environments, Proc. of International Conference on Manipulation, Automation and Robotics at Small Scales (MARSS 2022), Toronto, Canada, Jul. 25-29, 2022, accepted. (Best Student Paper Award)

Lidong Yang, Li Zhang*, Large-Workspace and High-Resolution Magnetic Microrobot Navigation Using Global-Local Path Planning and Eye-In-Hand Visual Servoing, Proc. of 2020 IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering (IEEE CASE 2020), Hong Kong, China, Aug. 20-21, 2020. (Best Student Paper Award)

Xingzhou Du, Lidong Yang, Jiangfan Yu, Kai Fung Chan, Philip Wai Yan Chiu, Li Zhang*, RoboMag: A Magnetic Actuation System Based on Mobile Electromagnetic Coils With Tunable Working Space, Proc. of 2020 IEEE International Conference on Advanced Robotics and Mechatronics (IEEE ARM 2020), Shenzhen, China, Dec. 18-21, 2020. (Toshio Fukuda Best Paper Award in Mechatronics)

Q. Zhou, T. Petit, B. J. Nelson, L. Zhang*, Dumbbell Fluidic Tweezers: Enhanced Trapping and Manipulation of Microscale Objects Using Mobile Microvortices, Proc. of IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics 2014 (IEEE ROBIO 2014), Bali, Indonesia, 510-515, 2014. (Best Paper Award in Biomimetics – Finalist)

K. E. Peyer, E. C. Siringil, L. Zhang, M. Suter, B. J. Nelson, Bacteria-Inspired Magnetic Polymer Composite Microrobots, Proc. of The International Conference on Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems (Living Machines 2013), London, UK, July 2013. (Best Paper Award)

K. E. Peyer, F. Qiu, L. Zhang, B. J. Nelson, Movement of Artificial Bacterial Flagella in Heterogeneous Viscous Environments at the Microscale, Proc. of IEEE/RSJ 2012 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IEEE IROS2012), Algarve, Portugal, Oct. 7-12, 2012. (Best Student Paper Award)

L. Zhang, T. Petit, K. E. Peyer, B. E. Kratochvil, J. Lou, B. J. Nelson, Noncontact and Contact Micromanipulation Using a Rotating Nickel Nanowire, IEEE International Conference on Nano/Molecular Medicine and Engineering (IEEE NANOMED 2010), Hong Kong, Dec. 5-9, 2010. (Best Paper Award)

K. E. Peyer, L. Zhang, B. E. Kratochvil, B. J. Nelson, Non-ideal Swimming of Artificial Bacterial Flagella Near a Surface, Proc. of 2010 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (IEEE ICRA 2010), pp. 96-101, 2010. (Best Student Paper Award)

L. X. Dong, X. Y. Tao, L. Zhang, X. B. Zhang, B. J. Nelson,  Nanorobotic Spot Welding by Attogram Precision Metal Deposition from Copper-filled Carbon Nanotubes, Proc. of the 2007 IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation (IEEE ICRA 2007), April 2007. (Best Automation Paper Award–Finalist)

Editorial Services for International Journals

Editorial Services for IEEE conferences