Welcome to the MIT Device Research Laboratory (DRL) under the direction of Dr. Evelyn Wang in the Mechanical Engineering Department at MIT.

The DRL combines fundamental studies of micro and nanoscale heat and mass transport processes with the development of novel nanostructured materials to create innovative solutions in thermal management, thermal energy storage, solar thermal energy conversion, and water desalination. We leverage state-of-the-art micro/nanofabrication, unique measurement, and model prediction capabilities to enable mechanistic insights into complex fluid, interfacial, and thermal transport processes. This approach has led to new and important functionalities to enhance heat and mass transfer for various applications.


Recent News

03/30/2021: Congratulations to Lenan Zhang, Zhenyuan Xu, Lin Zhao, Bikram Bhatia, Yang Zhong, and Shuai Gong for a new review paper published in Energy & Environmental Science

Their work summarizes recent advances in passive thermally-localized solar desalination. By analyzing the potential of improving energy efficiency and reliability, this work provides a roadmap for high-performance and commercially feasible solar desalination technologies.

Read the paper here!


03/26/2021: Bubble Growth and Departure Modes on Wettable/non-wettable Porous Foams in Alkaline Water Splitting

Congratulations to Ryuichi Iwata, Lenan Zhang, Kyle Wilke, Shuai Gong, and their collaborators in professor Betar Gallant’s group for their recent work on the bubble dynamics in gas-evolving reactions, which was featured on MIT News! In this work, we report the bubble dynamics and overpotential observed during alkaline water splitting on a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) deposited nickel porous electrode. A slight decrease in hydrophilicity induced a drastic transition of bubble dynamics and a significant increase of the transport overpotential. We show that the porous electrode transitioned from a liquid-filled state to a gas-filled state when varying the wettability, which changed the bubble departure sizes and bubble coverage. As a result, there were substantial changes of the transport overpotential. Our work elucidates the fundamental relationship between wettability and water splitting characteristics, which provides a practical scenario for structuring the electrode for gas-evolving reactions. Read more on MIT News, and read the paper here.


02/01/2021: Simple, solar-powered water desalination featured as Top MIT research stories of 2020 and covered by Scientific American

Congratulations to Zhenyuan Xu, Lenan Zhang, Lin Zhao, Bikram Bhatia, Kyle Wilke, Youngsup Song and their collaborators in China for their work on ultrahigh-efficiency solar-powered water desalination featured as Top MIT research stories of 2020 on MIT News and covered by Scientific American! This work demonstrated a record-high solar-to-vapor conversion efficiency of 385% with a production rate of 5.78 L m-2 h-1 using a low-cost and free-of-salt accumulation multistage architecture. This work elucidates the fundamental limit of the solar-to-vapor conversion process and provides useful design guideline for existing passive solar thermal desalination technologies. Image credits to MIT News.

Read more on MIT News, Scientific American, and read the paper here.


12/07/2020: Congratulations to Lenan Zhang for winning the best poster award at MRS 2020 Fall meeting

Congratulations to Lenan Zhang for winning the best poster award at MRS 2020 Fall meeting!

Read more about his work on measuring thermal expansion coefficient of 2D materials using micro-Raman spectroscopy here.