IAS Newsletter - May 2015 - page 5

IAS Visiting Professor Evelyn Hu is Tarr-Coyne Professor of Applied Physics and of Electrical
Engineering at Harvard University. Her research focuses on high-resolution fabrication of
compound semiconductor electronic and optoelectronic devices, candidate structures for the
realization of quantum computation schemes, and novel device structures formed through the
heterogeneous integration of materials. She has also developed biological approaches to the
formation of electronic and photonic materials. Distinguished yet humble, Prof Hu is a member
of the US National Academy of Sciences, US National Academy of Engineering, the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academia Sinica of Taiwan. She is also a Fellow of the
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers ( IEEE) , the American Physical Society, and the
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) . She has been a recipient of
an National Science Foundation (NSF) Distinguished Teaching Fellow Award and an AAAS
Lifetime Mentor Award, and holds honorary Doctorates of Engineering from the University of
Glasgow and HKUST.
Prof Hu spent her sabbatical at HKUST from October 2014 to May 2015 and shared her
insights with faculty and students through short courses, general lectures, informal sharing
and discussions.
Your research focuses on nanofabrication techniques and you have given a
short course about laser in HKUST. As laser was invented half a century
ago, how could it be further applied in our daily lives?
There are some devices that are such powerful, enabling building blocks that
they continue to find and define new applications, scores of years after their
original invention. The laser is one of these devices (as are transistors and
Light Emitting Diodes, or batteries). Lasers have a host of industrial, medical
and communications applications. But my work is not strictly confined to
nanofabrication technique, nor does it involve ‘simple lasers’. The lasers I
study are at the micron or nanometer scale, and I use them as exquisitely
sensitive ways to understand the details of the physics in these tiny systems:
how is the energy exchanged between electrons and photons, what are the
most important loss mechanisms, could we make lasers of single atoms, how
efficient could we make a laser? And these questions and concerns are what
underlie the general area of ‘nanophotonics’: what changes in efficiency,
intensity of light can we get when we confine light to uniquely engineered
environments (cavities) whose sizes are about equal to the wavelength of
light, or much smaller?
IAS Chatroom
May 2015
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