Hui Cao


Cao’s research focuses on mesoscopic physics and complex nanophotonics. Her current interests include mesoscopic transport of photons, complex lasers, speckle-based spectrometers, spatial coherence engineering of lasers for speckle-free imaging and multimodality microscopy. Her research involves nanofabtrication, material characterization, optical measurement with high spatial, spectral and temporal resolution, and numerical modeling.

Awards & Honors: 

  • Microscopy Today Innovation Award for Speckle-free semiconductor laser   (2016)

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

  • Microscopy Today Innovation Award for On-chip Random Spectrometer   (2014)

  • John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship  (2013)

  • APS DLS 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)


  • Semiconductor Cavity Quantum Electronics, 2000, Published by Springer-Verlag

Representative Publications: 

  • H. Cao, and J. Wiersig, “Dielectric microcavities: model systems for wave chaos and non-Hermitian physics”, Rev. Mod. Phys. 87, 61 (2015).

  • S. M. Popoff, A. Goetschy, S. F. Liew, A. D. Stone, and H. Cao, “Coherent control of total transmission of light through disordered media”. Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 133903 (2014).

  • B. R. Wasik, S. F. Liew, D. Lilien, A. J. Dinwiddie, H. Noh, H. Cao, and A. Monteiro, “Artificial Selection for Structural Color on Butterfly Wings and Comparison to Natural Evolution”, Proc. Nat. Aca. Sci. USA 111, 12109 (2014).

  • B. Redding, S. F. Liew, R. Sarma and H. Cao, “Compact spectrometer based on disordered photonic chip”, Nat. Photon. 7, 746 (2013).

  • B. Redding, M. A. Choma and H. Cao, “Speckle-free laser imaging using random laser illumination”, Nat. Photon., 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, vol. 331, pp. 889-892, 2011. 

  • Hui Cao, "Lasing in Disordered Media", in "Progress in Optics", ed. E. Wolf, North-Holland, vol. 45, 317-370 (2003).

  • Y. Yamamoto, F. Tassone, and H. Cao, “Semiconductor Cavity Quantum Electronics”, Springer-Verlag, 2000.


  • “Controlling absorption of light in a cavity”. US Patent No. 9,041,996, 2015, with A. D. Stone, Y. D. Chong, and L. Ge.
  • "Exciton Polariton Light Emitting Diode", 5,877,509, 1999: with S. Pau and Y. Yamamoto