Hui Cao named the Beinecke Professor of Applied Physics

Cao focuses her research on mesoscopic physics and nanophotonics.
Profesor Hui Cao
Hui Cao

Hui Cao, newly named as the Frederick W. Beinecke Professor of Applied Physics, focuses her research on mesoscopic physics and nanophotonics.

Cao aims to better understand and control light propagation, scattering, absorption, and lasing in complex photonic nanostructures for a wide range of applications. She studies unconventional lasers — such as random lasers and chaotic, microcavity lasers — and explores their unique applications, ranging from speckle-free imaging to multimodality microscopy. She also invents novel photonic devices, such as using a multimode fiber to make an ultrahigh resolution spectrometer.

Cao received her Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford University. Her thesis on the semiconductor cavity quantum electrodynamics was published as a monograph in the series “Springer Tracts of Modern Physics.” She began her academic career at Northwestern University, where she pursued research in the burgeoning field of random lasers. For two consecutive periods, the American Physical Society selected her team’s achievements as among the most important of the year.

In 2008, Cao came to Yale, starting the Biophotonics Program, and began multiple new projects in laser research that brought acclaim from professional and academic entities. She is the recipient of the NSF CAREER award, the Packard Fellowship, the Sloan Fellowship, the Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award, and the Guggenheim Fellowship. Her other honors include the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Outstanding Young Researcher Award by the Overseas Chinese Physics Association. In 2015, Cao shared the William E. Lamb Medal for Laser Physics and Quantum Optics.

The Yale professor is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and the Optical Society of America. She has served as a Distinguished Traveling Lecturer for the American Physical Society since 2009, and is a member of the Connecticut Academy of Science & Engineering.

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