Hui Cao

Hui Cao's picture
John C. Malone Professor of Applied Physics, Professor of Physics, Professor of Electrical Engineering
BCT 309
Research Areas: 
Condensed Matter Physics
Research Type: 
Current Projects: 

Coherent control of light transport and absorption, Random lasers, Spatial coherence engineering of lasers, Speckle-based spectrometers

Research : 

Hui Cao’s research interests and activities are in the areas of mesoscopic physics, complex photonic materials and devices, nanophotonics, and biophotonics. She has conducted experimental studies on unconventional lasers including random lasers and chaotic microcavity lasers, and found their applications in speckle-free imaging, multi-modality microscopy, and parallel random number generation. Another research focus of hers is coherent control of light transport in diffusive media and multimode fibers, with applications to deep-tissue imaging and endoscopy. Cao has also been creating and controlling complex light fields, and customizing the intensity statistics of laser speckle patterns for structured illumination microscopy. In addition to fundamental studies on complex, chaotic and disordered systems, she has harnessed disorder for photonic device applications, e.g., she invented a compact spectrometer based on a disordered photonic chip.

Ph.D., Stanford University, 1997
Honors & Awards: 
  • Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (2017)

  • William E. Lamb Medal for Laser Physics and Quantum Optics (2015)

  • John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2013)

  • American Physical Society Division of Laser Science Distinguished Traveling Lecturer (2008)

  • Fellow of American Physical Society  (2007)

  • Fellow of Optical Society of America  (2007)

  • Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award from American Physical Society  (2006)

  • Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation  (2004)

  • Outstanding Young Researcher Award from Overseas Chinese Physics Association  (2004)

  • National Science Foundation Career Award  (2001)

  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship  (2000)

  • David and Lucille Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering  (1999)

Selected Publications: 
  • K. Kim et al., “Massively parallel ultrafast random bit generation with a chip-scale laser”. Science 371, 948 (2021).
  • H. Cao et al., “Complex lasers with controllable coherence”. Nature Reviews Physics 1, 156 (2019).
  • H. Yılmaz et al., “Transverse localization of transmission eigenchannels”. Nature Photonics 13, 352 (2019).
  • S. Bittner et al. “Suppressing spatio-temporal lasing instabilities with wave-chaotic microcavities”. Science 361, 1225–1231 (2018).
  • H. Cao, and J. Wiersig, “Dielectric microcavities: Model systems for wave chaos and non-Hermitian physics”. Reviews of Modern Physics, 87, 61 (2015).
  • B. Redding et al., “High-resolution and broadband all-fiber spectrometers”. Optica, 1, 175 (2014).
  • B. Redding, et al., “Compact spectrometer based on a disordered photonic chip”. Nature Photonics, 7, 746 (2013).
  • B. Redding, M. A. Choma, and H. Cao, “Speckle-free laser imaging using random laser illumination”. Nature Photonics, 6, 355 (2012).
  • W. Wan, Y. Chong, L. Ge, H. Noh, A. D. Stone, and H. Cao, “Time-Reversed Lasing and Interferometric Control of Absorption”, Science, 331, 889 (2011).
  • Hui Cao, “Lasing in Disordered Media”, in “Progress in Optics”, ed. E. Wolf, North-Holland, vol. 45, 317-370 (2003).
  1. S. Pau, H. Cao, Y. Yamamoto, “Exciton Polariton Light Emitting Diode”. US Patent No. 5,877,509 (1999).
  2. A.D. Stone, H. Cao, L. Ge and Y.D. Chong. “Controlling Absorption of Light in a Cavity”. International patent No. PCT/IB2010/001583, U.S. Patent No. 9,041,996 (2015).
  3. H. Cao, B. Redding, M. A. Choma. “Systems and Methods for Imaging Using a Random Laser”. US Patent No.10432871B2 (2019).