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Deyu Li

Professor of Mechanical Engineering


Dr. Li’s group studies nanoscale energy and mass transport phenomena to achieve both fundamental understandings and practical engineering applications. For example, we measure how energy transfer occurs at nanoscale contacts between individual nanostructures to explore confinement effects on energy carriers, which have important implications in tuning properties of nanocomposite materials. In addition, we are actively exploring the unique thermophysical properties of various novel nanostructures, such as boron carbide nanowires. In terms of mass transport, we construct nanofluidic devices to control the media/molecule exchange in cell microenvironments to study different biological processes, such as the dynamics of dendritic spine and synapse formation and plasticity in the central nervous systems.


• Vanderbilt Chancellor’s Award for Research, 2013
• Best Poster Award, spring MRS meeting 2011 (with Ph.D student Yang Yang)
• Best Poster Award, Micro/Nano Forum at the 2007 ASME IMECE (with Ph.D student Dongyan Xu)
• NSF Career Award, 2007
• Guo Moruo Scholarship, 1992

Selected Publications:

Phonon Transport through Point Contacts between Graphitic Nanomaterials. Yang, JK; Shen, M; Yang, Y; Evans, WJ; Wei, ZY; Chen, WY; Zinn, AA; Chen, YF; Prasher, R; Xu, TT; Keblinski, P; Li, DY, PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, 112, 205901 , (2014) View Abstract

Glia co-culture with neurons in microfluidic platforms promotes the formation and stabilization of synaptic contacts.. Shi, M; Majumdar, D; Gao, Y; Brewer, BM; Goodwin, CR; McLean, JA; Li, D; Webb, DJ, LAB ON A CHIP, 13, 3008-3021 , (2013) View Abstract

Enhanced and switchable nanoscale thermal conduction due to van der Waals interfaces. Yang, JK; Yang, Y; Waltermire, SW; Wu, XX; Zhang, HT; Gutu, T; Jiang, YF; Chen, YF; Zinn, AA; Prasher, R; Xu, TT; Li, DY, NATURE NANOTECHNOLOGY, 7, 91-95 , (2012) View Abstract

A versatile valve-enabled microfluidic cell co-culture platform and demonstration of its applications to neurobiology and cancer biology.. Gao, Y; Majumdar, D; Jovanovic B; Shaifer, C; Lin, PC; Zijlstra, A; Webb, DJ; Li, D, BIOMEDICAL MICRODEVICES, 13, 539-548 , (2011) View Abstract

Thermal conductivity of individual silicon nanowires . Li, D; Wu, Y; Kim, P; Li, S; Yang, P; Majumdar, A, APPLIED PHYSICS LETTERS, 83, 2934-2936 , (2003) View Abstract