Skip to main content

About me

I currently hold a tenure-track position as an Associate Professor of Soft Matter Robotics at Tampere University and a title of Academy Research Fellow from Academy of Finland. I lead a research Group Light Robots

Our group work at the interface between physics, soft mechanics and material engineering. We are interested in developing general research routes for materials robotics that are out of equilibrium, locomotive, interactive, and capable of self-feedback, adaptation, and communication.

Top achievements

Be the father of my daughter. 

Research topics

We seek ideas for imaginative projects.

FAIRY will take a significant leap in material science to develop small-scale light driven flying robots with adaptive features inspired by biological organisms.

OPTOPUS aims at developing a new type of wireless soft robotic system with overall size in a millimetre range, that is capable of sophisticated functions when fuelled by light energy only.

OSCILLATE aims to develop new concepts of self-oscillators that can perform non-reciprocal, multi-mode and zero-energy mode movements upon light excitation. Bioinspiration is our general guideline, and we wish to create new concepts of optical feedback mechanisms for robotic interaction, which can be generalized to other materials or chemical systems.

Research fields

Optics, soft mechanics, stimuli-responsive materials


Academy Research Fellow (2021-2026); ERC-StG-2022, From light fueled self-oscillators to light communicating material networks -ONLINE (2023-2028)

Research career

Associate Professor (tenure track), Soft Matter Robotics, Tampere University, 11.2023-10.2028

Academy Research Fellow, Academy of Finland, Tampere University, 2021-2026

Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher, Tampere University, 2018-2021

Post-doc, Tampere University of Technology, 2016-2018

PhD, European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy (LENS) / University of Florence, Atomic and Molecular Photonics, 3/2015.

M. Sc, Photonics and Technology, Nankai University, China, 7/2011

B. Sc, Physics, Nankai University, China, 7/2008

Selected publications

5. J. Yang, H. Zhang, A. Berdin, W. Hu, H. Zeng*, Dandelion-Inspired, Wind-Dispersed Polymer-Assembly Controlled by Light. Adv. Sci. 2023, 10, 220675. 

4. H. Zhang, H. Zeng*, A. Eklund, H. Guo, A. Priimagi*, O. Ikkala*, Feedback-controlled materials with dissipative signal transduction. Nat. Nanotechnol. 2022, 17, 1303.

3. Z. Deng, H. Zhang, A. Priimagi*, H. Zeng*, Light‐fueled non‐reciprocal self‐oscillators for fluidic transportation and coupling. Adv. Mater. 2022, 2209683.

2. H. Guo, A. Priimagi*, Hao Zeng*, Optically controlled latching and launching in soft actuators. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2021, 2108919.

1. H. Zeng*, M. Lahikainen, L. Liu, Z. Ahmed, O. M. Wani, M. Wang, H. Yang, A. Priimagi*, Light-fuelled freestyle self-oscillators. Nat. Commun. 2019, 10, 5057.