December 2, 2020

Alù is widely known for his photonics research, particularly in the area of metamaterials artificial materials that have highly unusual properties.

Andrea Alù
Andrea Alù

Professor Andrea Alù, founding director of the Photonics Initiative at the Advanced Science Research Center at The Graduate Center (CUNY ASRC), was named a 2020 Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate. The list identifies researchers who demonstrated significant influence in their fields through the publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade. Alù has qualified for the elite list for four consecutive years.
“It’s a great honor to be selected as a Highly Cited Researcher on this list of top scientists,” Alù said. “This is thanks not just to my work but to all the current and past students and postdoctoral scientists that work in our lab and the collaborators all over the world.”
Alù is widely known for his photonics research, particularly in the area of metamaterials — artificial materials constructed at the nanoscale that have properties, such as the ability to conduct light or sound, that go beyond what is found in nature. Earlier this year, Alù was selected to lead a Simons Foundation collaboration grant of up to $16 million to study the role of symmetries in wave transport in metamaterials.


Alù notes that he and his group benefit from an “amazing range of equipment” available at the ASRC within their laboratories and in the shared facilities, allowing them to fabricate metamaterials and demonstrate their performance. He and his interdisciplinary team can engineer materials that have highly unusual interactions with light and sound as well as novel thermal and mechanical properties. The team’s research has the potential to impact many areas of technology including ultrasound and biomedicine, computing and data processing, solar energy, environmental research, and everyday acoustics.
He calls the ASRC an “ideal institution” for his research.
“We have five initiatives that probably would belong to different schools in a usual university,” he said. “We are actually in the same building, using the same facilities and resources, and bumping into each other every day, hopefully again after the coronavirus pandemic is over, and discussing research. And this brings new ideas. … It's really the way to get ongoing, impactful research.”
For early-career researchers who are looking to publish papers that get noticed, he suggests, “Try to merge concepts and fields and show that one can open a new direction in a certain field. In our group, we tend to exploit analogies between different areas of research and bring knowledge from one area to another.”