Sheng Shen is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, with a background in nanoscale engineering, thermal science, photonics, and materials science. Shen’s research interests include nanoscale thermal transport and energy conversion phenomena, and their applications in solar or thermal energy conversion, thermal management, and multifunctional materials.

The energy transport properties of nanostructures can differ greatly from their bulk counterparts because the characteristic dimensions of nanostructures are often comparable with the wavelength or the mean free path of energy carriers such as photons, phonons, and electrons. At the nanoscale, the properties of materials can be engineered to increase the energy density or energy conversion efficiencies. In his recent research, Shen demonstrated nanoscale thermal radiation exceeding Planck’s law by three orders of magnitude and thermal conductivity of polymer nanofibers three hundred times higher than that of bulk polymers.

Shen is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award (2013) and DARPA Young Faculty Award (2013). He also received the Philomathia Foundation Research Fellowship in Alternative Energy Research from UC-Berkeley (2010), Hewlett-Packard Best Paper Award from ASME Heat Transfer Division (2008), and Best Paper Award from Julius Springer Forum on Applied Physics (2008).

1307 Wean Hall
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Sheng Shen

Engineering Polymer Nanofibers

Nano Energy


2011 Postdoc., Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley

2010 Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Minor in Electrical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2003 MS, Engineering Thermophysics, Huazhong University of Science and Technology

2000 BS, Power Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology

Media mentions

CMU Engineering

Hot Stuff: Unusual thermal diode rectifies heat in both directions

Dual-mode thermal rectification could be a game changer for a range of industrial and medical applications.

Tech Explorist

Shen quoted on metamaterials

MechE’s Sheng Shen’s research on metamaterials was featured on Tech Explorist.

CMU Mechanical Engineering

Shen creates new law for metamaterials

MechE’s Sheng Shen created a new law for determining the thermal emission properties of metamaterials.

Mechanical Engineering

A new law for metamaterials

Sheng Shen and his student Jiayu Li have created a new scale law to describe the thermal emission from metasurfaces and metamaterials. 

Scott Institute

CMU Engineering faculty awarded Scott Institute seed grants

Eight research projects lead by CMU Engineering faculty have been awarded 2020 Seed Grants for Energy Research by the Scott Institue for Energy Innovation.

CMU Engineering

Creating an on-off switch for heat

This polymer thermal regulator can quickly transform from a conductor to an insulator, and back again. By switching between the two states, it can control its own temperature as well as the temperature of its surroundings, such as a refrigerator or computer.

CMU Engineering

Sheng Shen’s spectacular supersolder

Mechanical Engineering’s Sheng Shen has created “supersolder,” an ultracompliant thermal interface material with twice the thermal conductivity of conventional solders.

CMU Engineering

A high-tech spin on spider silk

This game-changing technology can transform polymers from soft and thermally insulating materials to an ultra-strong and thermally conductive material.

CMU Engineering

Early honors

The College of Engineering is proud to announce the recipients of the 2016 Dean’s Early Career Fellowships. These fellowships will provide the following young faculty members with additional funding for their outstanding research.