Hui Cao


Research Lab
John C. Malone Professor of Applied Physics, Physics & Electrical Engineering
Room / Office: Room 309
Office Address:
15 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 208284
New Haven, CT 06520
Phone: (203) 432-0683
  • Ph.D., Stanford University
  • M.A., Princeton University
  • B.S., Peking University


Cao focuses on understanding and controlling light transport, scattering, absorption and amplification in complex photonic nanostructures for a wide range of applications. Her research bridges mesoscopic physics, nonlinear dynamics, laser physics, nanophotonics and biophotonics. Her work involves nanofabtrication, material characterization, optical measurement with high spatial, spectral and temporal resolution, and numerical modeling.

The current projects include: (i) development of novel light sources and explore their applications in biomedical imaging; (ii) coherent control of light transport in strong scattering media and multimode fibers; (iii) design and fabrication of multifunctional photonic devices with complex nanostructures.

Selected Awards & Honors:

  • 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:

  • S. Knitter et al., "Coherence switching of a degenerate VECSEL for multimodality imaging". Optica, 3, 403 (2016).
  • B. Redding et al., "Low spatial coherence electrically pumped semiconductor laser for speckle-free full-field imaging". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112, 1304 (2015).
  • L. Ge, R. Sarma, and H. Cao, "Rotation-induced evolution of far-field emission patterns of deformed microdisk cavities". Optica, 2, 323 (2015).
  • 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).

Selected Patents:

  • "Exciton Polariton Light Emitting Diode", 5,877,509, 1999: with S. Pau and Y. Yamamoto