• University of Huddersfield Queensgate Huddersfield HD1 3DH

    United Kingdom

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Dr Zhen Tong is a Senior Research Fellow in Centre for Precision Technologies (CPT) and EPSRC Future Metrology Hub. He is the Head of CPT Ultra-Precision Manufacturing Group and responsible for managing CPT’s ultra-precision manufacturing lab. His research focuses on ultra-precision manufacturing and in-process quality control of freeform and structured functional surfaces. 

Zhen has a BEng degree in Material Moulding and Control System awarded in 2007, and a Master’s degree in Mechanical Manufacture and Automation awarded in 2010 from the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT).  After obtained the full scholarship of Scottish Overseas Research Students Awards (SORSAS) and James Watt Scholarship (JWS) at the Heriot-Watt University, hstarted his professional career in precision engineering at three world-famous universities including Heriot-Watt University (2011-2012), University of Huddersfield (2012-2013), and University of Strathclyde (2013-2014) where he received his PhD degree on Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management in Mar. 2015.  

Zhen has more than 10 years’ research experience in ultra-precision machining and well-developed surface metrology skills. He has a diverse international research background that is inherently multidisciplinary and is situated at the interface between physics (molecular dynamics simulation and focused ion beam processing), machining/process control (cutting tool technology, tool-servo-based diamond machining, grinding, laser milling), and surface measurement (embedded surface metrology).   

He was recently awarded a UK STFC-IPS project on "Transferring technology in optimised metal mirror fabrication" (£450kST/V001280/1Co-I and led the freeform machining work package); the key Co-I and daily manager of an ultra-precision five-axis machine tool – Advanced Freeform Generator (EP/S033300/1, £804k). He was a Co-I and steering board member on a €5M European Horizon 2020 research programme for mass production of functional structured surfaces (FOF-06-767589 ProSurfthat included 4 international universities and 8 industrial partners, completed in June 2021).  

Working with world-leading companies in this subject area such as Qioptiq UK (optics manufacture), Contour Fine Tooling (cutting tool supplier), Moore Nanotech (machine tool supplier), Taylor Hobson (Metrology Instrumentation), and the UK’s Catapult HVM centres (CSA, AMRC, MTC)he is investigating ultra-precision manufacturing technologies and fast in-process quality control systems for next-generation HVM industries.  

From those research projects, he has published over 70 peer-reviewed papers and, in particular, his pioneering work on developing closed-loop fast-tool-servo freeform machining technology has been continuously selected and orally presented in CIRP 2020 and CIRP 2021 GA meetings.  His recent work on the integration of feature-based surface characterisation into surface structuring process won an Emerging Leader 2021 Award as part of the Surface Topography honours. 

Professional Society/Institution: 

Dr Zhen Tong is an active scientific committee member of European Society for Precision Engineering & Nanotechnology (EUSPEN), a Research Affiliate of the International Academy for Production Engineering (CIRP), a member of the International Society for Nanomanufacturing (ISNM), associated member of International committee of abrasive technologies (ICAT), and the UK FIB & TEM sample Preparation group. 

  • Conference Local Chair of EUSPEN SIG meeting on freeform and micro and nanomanufacturing (to be held at University of Huddersfield, Sep. 2022)  

  • Co-organiser and Session chair of EUSPEN SIG meeting on freeform and micro and nanomanufacturing, Oct. 2020 

  • Session chair of the 6th Asia Pacific Conference on Optics Manufacture (APCOM), 2019 

  • Committee member of CIRP GA meeting in Birmingham, 2019 

  • Committee member of EUSPEN General Assembly meeting since 2018 

Dr Zhen Tong is a topic editor of journal Crystal & editorship of international conference proceedings (ICAC2014); and reviewer board for a number of engineering and scientific journals, such as Optical Express, Precision Engineering, Nature Communications, Diamond Materials, Crystal, Journal of manufacturing processes, International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, Measurement, Applied Surface Science, Journal of Processing Technologies, Nanotechnology, micromachines, Materials Today Communications, Journal of Microscopy, Carbon, Microelectronic Engineering etc. 

Teaching Experience 

Apart from research, Zhen is actively on promoting the international collaborations and student recruitments for UoH. Ever since 2015, he has worked with the International Office and China Office on the reception work for visitors from China and witnessed many important partnerships signature ceremonies both in UK and China. He is co-supervising 2 PDRFs, supervising 5 PhDs (3 co-supervised PhDs completed), and 4 visiting scholars (completed), and acted as examiner for 3 PhD viva voce examinations (1 external and 3 internal) and 13 PhD progress examinations.  

  • 2013-2014 Approved Tutor for course of DM100, DM948, DMEM, University of Strathclyde, UK 

  • 2011-2012 Approved Tutor for courses of B58DB1, B59DF2 and B51GK, EPS, Heriot-Watt University, UK  

  • 2009 - 2011 Teaching & Management Assistant, school of Mechatronics Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT), China. 

Research Expertise and Interests

Particular Areas of Research

  • Micro-nanomanufacturing of functional freeform/structured surfaces; 

  • Embedded measurement and process control for ultra-precision machining; 

  • Machine learning for smart ultra-precision manufacturing; 

  • Advanced optics design, manufacture and application; 

  • Process modelling and data analysis; 

  • R&D equipment for ultra-precision manufacturing. 

Current Projects 

  • 2020-2023, UK's STFC-IPS project on "Transferring technology in optimised metal mirror fabrication"£450k, ST/V001280/1, CIlead diamond machining WP 

  • 2019-2021, EPSRC national strategic equipment: “Advanced freeform generator” (EP/S033300/1); £804k, main CI, Lab & equipment manager 

  • 2020-2022, HUST flexible research funding on ‘Micro grinding with embedded surface metrology’, £5k, strengthen the partnership with Huazhong University of Scienc and Technology (HUST), PI 

  • 2020-2022, HQU flexible research funding on ‘Laser-assisted conditioning diamond grinding wheels’, £11k, developed a new MoU signed between University of Huddersfield and Huaqiao University (HQU), PI 

Previous Projects 

  • 2018-2021, EU Horizontal FOF-06-ProSurf “High Precision Process Chain for the Mass Production of Functional Structured Surfaces” (FOF-06-767589); the project total: €5M, Funding to Huddersfield €1.1M, CI and co-management of project as a Steering Board member 

  • Development of a fast-tool-servo machining system, University QR funding 2017; £60,000; the research extended as a WP in a successful EU projectPI 

  • International partnership development, £3,000 supported by Santander visiting fund 2016; developed the partnership with University of Bremen and finally build-up a consortium for a successful EU project funding bidPI 

  • International partnership development, £4,000 supported by Santander visiting fund 2017developed MoU signed between UoH and Tianjin University, PI 

  • Structural design of the machine tools and develop a hybrid machining database through micro milling trail test; 2013 – 2015, EPSRC’s Micro_3D (EP/K018345/1), (Researcher) 

  • FIB-assisted 3D structures fabrication and MD modelling of energetic ion collision. 2011-2012, EPSRC’s IMRC (Project No. 113955), (Researcher) 

Research Degree Supervision

Click Here to see all postgraduate research opportunities with Dr Zhen Tong

Supervision of PhD Students 

  • Mr Sumit Kumar 2020-2024 PhD main supervision: Design and manufacture of freeform functional surfaces in novel optical materials 

  • Mr Zongchao Geng 2019-2022 PhD main supervision: Development of a self-adaptive machining technology with assist of embedded metrology 

  • Mr Zhenting Zhang 2019-2022 PhD co-supervision: Investigations on the micro-cutting mechanisms based on a multiscale framework 

  • Mr Maomao Wang 2021-2025 PhD main supervision: Development of a Data Driven Informative System for On Machine Quality Control 

  • Mr Yi Wang 2021-2025 PhD main supervision: A stereo vision-based on-machine measurement system for ultra-precision surface structuring  

  • Mr Duo Li 2014-2018 PhD co-supervision: Development and application of on-machine surface measurement for ultra-precision turning process (completed) 

  • Mr Zavid Mohamed 2014-2019 PhD co-supervision: Development of a low-cost precision polishing machine based on parallel kinematic system (completed) 

  • Mr Christian Young 2014-2019 PhD co-supervision: Ultra-precision Abrasive Machining of Functional Structured Surfaces (completed) 

Supervision of Visiting Scholars 

  • DXiaohui Wang 2019-2020 main supervision: Ultrasonic assisted machining of novel engineering materials (completed) 

  • Dr Guoqin Huang 2018-2019 co-supervision:  Characterisation of diamond grinding wheels using industrial CT scanner (completed) 

  • Mr Tianrui Wang 2019-2020 main supervision: Design and integration of a micro-milling system into ultra-precision machine tool (completed) 

  • Mr Zhibo Yao 2017-2018 main supervision: ultra-precision grinding of brittle materials (completed) 

Applications for visiting and research degrees are welcome! 


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