EE Distinguished Colloquium: Propagation of light in complex media - for imaging, spectroscopy, neuromorphic computing and beyond


For photonic devices, structural disorder and light scattering have long been considered annoying and detrimental features that were best avoided or minimized. In this talk, I will show that disorder and complexity can actually be utilized for various photonic applications. Unlike ordered structures, disordered ones offer a wide range of optical responses and possibilities. A complex random system can serve as an optical lens, spectrometer, and polarimeter all at once. In recent years, multifunctional photonic devices with disorder have been developed for hyperspectral imaging, spatial and spectral polarimetry. Embracing disorder can also open up innovative approaches to create photonic devices with unique capabilities. I will provide an example of how harnessing multiple light scattering can be used for optical data compression and rapid information processing.


Hui Cao is the John C. Malone Professor of Applied Physics, a Professor of Physics, and a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Yale University. She received her Ph.D. degree in Applied Physics from Stanford University in 1997.  Prior to joining the Yale faculty in 2008, she was on the faculty of Northwestern University for ten years.  Her technical interests and activities are in the areas of mesoscopic physics, complex photonic materials and devices, nanophotonics, and biophotonics. Cao is a Fellow of IEEE, AAAS, APS and OSA, and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


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Media Contact: I. C. Khoo