Y. Lawrence Yao


242 S.W. Mudd
Mail Code 4703

Tel(212) 854-2887
Fax(212) 854-3304

Y. Lawrence Yao is professor of mechanical engineering at Columbia University, where he directs the Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory. Yao has pioneered research in laser materials processing, including laser-assisted removal, shaping, joining, and property modification of various materials, and innovative laser applications in renewable energy, biomedical, and art restoration fields.

Research Interests

Manufacturing and design, nontraditional manufacturing, laser materials processing, laser assisted material removal, shaping, and surface modification, laser applications in industry and art restoration, robotics in industry and health care industry,, mechanical engineering.

Research Areas

The aim of his research group has been to understand the physics of process/material interactions, leading to positive impacts on quality and productivity.  His group has strived to achieve this aim via a combination of novel experimentation, materials characterization, and theoretical/numerical investigations.  Yao’s work also includes novel robotics applications in health care areas. 

Recent projects from Yao’s research group include: (1) Mitigation of stress corrosion cracking via laser shock peening , where high intensity laser pulses of nano-second duration induce compressive residual stress deep into target material surface and as a result, potential crack initiation and propagation due to hydrogen embrittlement are deterred and arrested.  This mitigation capability is of significant importance in a range of industrial applications including in light water reactors for nuclear power generation. (2) Shaping of metallic foam via laser-forming process for shock absorbing, weight reduction, and thus sustainability applications in aerospace and automotive industries. Laser-induced steep temperature gradient in foam plates enables effective shaping without cracking and cell crashing often occurring in mechanical shaping.  (3) Interlaminar toughening of composites for wind turbine blades application, where delamination is of major concern.  Methods based on ductile interleaf placement and on promoting diffusion and precipitation bonding have been developed and experimental results show significant increase in fracture energy.  This is a joint project with GE Global Research.  Yao’s group has also collaborated with Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University Medical Center on a robotized system development for high-throughput biodosimitry (see Profile).

Yao received his BE in 1982 from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, and his MS in 1984 and PhD in 1988 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, all in Mechanical Engineering. Yao joined the faculty of Columbia Engineering in 1994 and served as Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department between 2005 and 2011. He received the Milton C. Shaw Manufacturing Research Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in 2015 and the Blackall Machine Tool and Gage Award from ASME in 2006. Yao also served as president of the North American Manufacturing Research Institution from 2009-2010 and currently serves as editor of the Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering of ASME.


  • Chair of mechanical engineering, Columbia University, 2005-2011
  • Professor of mechanical engineering, Columbia University, 2001-
  • Associate professor of mechanical engineering, Columbia University, 1994-2001
  • Senior lecturer (1991-1994), lecturer (1989-1991), Wollongong Campus, School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, 1989-1994


  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • Society of Manufacturing Engineers
  • Laser Institute of America


  • Governmental and industrial sponsors including National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and National Institute of Health.


  • Outstanding Paper Award from 44th North American Manufacturing Research Conference, 2016
  • Milton C. Shaw Manufacturing Research Medal from American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2015
  • Outstanding Lifetime Service Award from North American Manufacturing Research Institution, 2015
  • Fulbright Senior Researcher Award, 2011
  • Blackall Machine Tool and Gage Award from American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2006
  • Outstanding Paper Award from 28th North American Manufacturing Research Conference, 2000


  • Brandal, G., Yao, Y.L., “Material Influence on Mitigation of Stress Corrosion Cracking via Laser Shock Peening,” ASME Trans. J. of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, Vol. 139, No. 1, 2017, 011002-1, DOI: 10.1115/1.4034283.
  • Satoh, G., Brandal, G., Naveed, S., Yao, Y.L., “Laser Autogenous Brazing of Biocompatible, Dissimilar Metals in Tubular Geometries,” ASME Trans. J. of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, Vol, 139, April 2017, 041016-1, DOI: 10.1115/1.4035034.
  • Bucher, T., Bolger, C., Zhang, M., Chen, C.J., Yao, Y.L., “Effect of Geometrical Modeling on Prediction of Laser-Induced Heat Transfer in Metal Foam,” ASME Trans. J. of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, Vol. 138, Dec. 2016, 121008-1, DOI: 10.1115/1.4033927.
  • Bian, D., Bucher, T., Shim, D.J., Jones, M., Yao, Y.L., “Effect of Deep Penetration of Interleaf on Delamination Resistance in GFRP,” ASME Trans. J. of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, 138(7), 2016, DOI: 10.1115/1.4032566.
  • Bian, D., Tsui, J., Repin, M., Garty, G., Turner, H., Yao, Y.L., Brenner, D.J., “Liquid Handling Optimization in High-Throughput Biodosimetry Tool, “ ASME Trans., J. of Medical Devices,Vol. 10, Dec. 2016, 041007-1, DOI: 10.1115/1.4033600.
  • G. Garty, H.C. Turner, A. Salerno, A. Bertucci, J. Zhang, Y. Chen, A. Dutta, P. Sharma, D. Bian, M. Taveras, H. Wang, A Bhatla, A. Balajee, M. Repin, O.V. Lyulko, N. Simaan, Y.L. Yao, D.J.Brenner, “The Decade of the RABiT (2005-2015),” Radiation Protection Dosimetry, Vol. 172, No. 1-3, 2016, pp. 201-206, DOI:10.1093/rpd/ncw172.
  • Wang, H., Chen, H., Yao, Y.L., “Removal Mechanism and Defect Characterization for Glass-Side Laser Scribing of CdTe/CdS Multilayer in Solar Cells, ASME Trans. J. of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, 137(6), 2015. 061006, DOI: 10.1115/1.4030935.
  • Hsu, S.-T. and Yao, Y. L., 2013, “Effect of Drug Loading and Laser Surface Melting on Drug Release Profile from Biodegradable Polymer,” Journal of Applied Polymer Science, Vol. 130, Issue 6, from page 4147-4156.
  • Vukelić, S., Noyan, I. C., Kysar, J. W., Yao, Y. L., “Characterization of Heterogeneous Response of Al Bicrystal Subject to Micro Scale Laser Shock Peening,” Int. J. Experimental Mechanics, DOI 10.1007/s11340-010-9380-0, published online 23 July 2010.
  • Birnbaum, A., Yao, Y.L., “The Effects of Laser Forming on Superelastic NiTi Shape Memory Alloys,” ASME Trans. J. of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, August 2010, Vol. 132, 041002-1 to 8. (Top 10 Most Downloaded Articles – Auguest 2010).