Rising Stars 2020:

Zhanni Wu

PhD Candidate

University of Michigan

Areas of Interest

  • Electromagnetics
  • Metamaterials
  • Optics
  • RF Circuits


Dynamic Control of Waves: Reconfigurable and Spatiotemporally Modulated Metasurfaces


Metasurfaces are two-dimensional arrays of closely-spaced, subwavelength scatterers. These surfaces can impart local changes to the amplitude, phase and polarization state of electromagnetic waves, allowing tailored control of electromagnetic wave fronts. Metasurfaces have enabled unprecedented control over electromagnetic waves, providing new opportunities in areas such as wireless communications, energy harvesting, imaging, and cloaking. Despite significant progress in this area, most metasurface designs provide static functionalities. My research focuses on integrating electronic components with tunable properties into metasurfaces, to achieve dynamic control over electromagnetic wavefronts. My work includes analyzing wave propagation in temporally and spatiotemporally modulated media, and develops analogous tunable, temporally and spatiotemporally modulated metasurfaces. These metausrfaces allow the real-time manipulation of electromagnetic waves, and rich electromagnetic phenomena such as single-sideband frequency translation (Doppler shifts), magnetless nonreciprocity, parametric amplification and subharmonic mixing.


Zhanni Wu is a PhD candidate in the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Michigan, where she is supervised by Professor Anthony Grbic. Her studies focus on developing temporally and spatiotemporally modulated metamaterials/metasurfaces, for novel applications including serrodyne frequency translation, magnetless nonreciprocity, and subharmonic mixing. She received her bachelor’s degree from the Southeast University, Nanjing, China, in 2015 and master’s degree from the University of Michigan in 2017. She was with the State Key Laboratory of Millimeter Waves, Southeast University, from 2013 to 2015, as an Undergraduate Research Assistant. She received an honorable mention for student paper competition at APS/URSI 2019, and was selected as a finalist for best paper award in EUCAP 2020 and also in Metamaterials’2018. She was a recipient of the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship from the University of Michigan in 2020.