Haofeng Xu

Postdoctoral Research Associate


Haofeng is a postdoctoral associate in the Laboratory for Aviation and Environment at MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He received a BA and MEng from St John’s College, Cambridge in the UK and a PhD from MIT.


Haofeng’s work advances technology solutions to improve the sustainability of aviation and reduce the negative effects of aviation on its environment. These solutions address traditional problems such as emissions from commercial air transportation as well as emerging challenges of noise and safety arising from the rapid ongoing deployment of drones and urban air mobility (UAM) aircraft that operate in urban and human environments.

Following from his PhD work, which demonstrated the first ever flight of a solid state airplane, Haofeng continues to develop “electroaerodynamic” ion propulsion. This radical propulsion technology has the potential to nearly eliminate all noise pollution from drones. Haofeng is the co-inventor of a number of key enabling technologies and is helping drive the commercialization of solid state propulsion.

Haofeng’s research also assesses the disruptive potential of innovative aviation technologies at the system level. By combining a deep technology design and modeling expertise with economic assessment, lifecycle analysis, and climate modeling, his work aims to provide a high-fidelity predictive roadmaps for the future of electric aircraft, bio-derived jet fuels, electrofuels, and hydrogen aircraft.


  • Aircraft technology
  • Solid state ion propulsion
  • Environmental and life cycle assessment