Science Faculty Spotlight: Li Ge

February 18, 2019

Li Ge Professor

Li Ge, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Physics at the College of Staten Island and The Graduate Center CUNY. He is a theoretical optical physicist with interests in novel non-equilibrium and non-Hermitian phenomena. Taking a quantum-inspired approach in optical physics, Li exploits different symmetry paradigms such as parity-time, non-Hermitian particle-hole, and complex mirror symmetries to develop a novel class of non-Hermitian photonic systems. These symmetries have attracted fast growing interests in the past few years, which have shown promise to demonstrate unconventional optical properties. These findings may lay the foundation of a new generation of sophisticated photonic devices with unique and highly tunable properties, as well as providing a better understanding of their connection to quantum mechanics, mathematical physics, and material science. Li will pursue these goals as the recipient of a 2019 NSF CAREER award.

Before joining CUNY in 2013, Li was a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University, collaborating with Professor Hakan E. Tureci.  Li received his Ph.D. in Physics from Yale University in 2010, and his thesis under the supervision of Prof. A. Douglas Stone focused on laser physics in complex and disordered media, including wave-chaotic lasers and random lasers. Li’s early interest in science was chemistry. However, he changed his field when invited to join a prestigious program in physics during his high school years in China. At Peking University, his newfound interest in nuclear and high-energy physics was redirected to theoretical photonics.

Since joining CUNY in 2013, Li has been very active in his research, publishing about 10 articles per year on average. He has also established an extended network of collaborators, including over 20 theory and experimental groups in the US and worldwide. In total, Li has published over 60 peer-reviewed research articles in high-impact and well respected journals, including Nature Photonics, Science, Physical Review X, Physical Review Letters and Optica. His works are highly regarded by his peers, which have received over 3,700 citations (Google Scholar) with an h-index of 26 and i10-index of 44. Li is also the author of four invited reviews that have appeared or will be published in Review of Modern Physics (IF: 33.177), Nature Photonics (IF: 37.852), Advances in Optics and Photonics (IF: 17.833), and Light: Science and Applications (IF: 14.098). Some recent noteworthy publications are:

  1. “Defect states emerging from a non-Hermitian flat band of photonic zero modes,” B. Qi, L. Zhang, and L. Ge, Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 093901 (2018).
  2. “Non-Hermitian photonics based on parity-time symmetry,” L. Feng, R. El-Ganainy, and L. Ge, Nature Photon. 11, 752-762 (2017).
  3. “Experimental demonstration of spontaneous chirality in a nonlinear microresonator,” Q.-T. Cao, H.-M. Wang, C.-H. Dong, H. Jing, R.-S. Liu, X. Chen, L. Ge, Q. Gong, Y.-F. Xiao, Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 033901 (2017).
  4. “Metawaveguide for asymmetric interferometric light-light switching,” H. Zhao, W. Fegadolli, J. Yu, Z. Zhang, L. Ge, A. Scherer, and L. Feng, Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 193901 (2016).
  5. “Bosonic condensation and disorder-induced localization in a flat band”, F. Baboux, L. Ge, T. Jacqmin, M. Biondi, A. Lemaître, L. Le Gratiet, I. Sagnes, S. Schmidt, H. E. Türeci, A. Amo, and J. Bloch, Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 066402 (2016).
  6. “Rotating optical microcavities with broken chiral symmetry”, R. Sarma, Li Ge, J. Wiersig, and H. Cao, Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 53903 (2015).
  7. “Rotation-induced Asymmetry of Far-field Emission from Optical Microcavities,” L. Ge, R. Sarma, and H. Cao, Optica 2, 323-328 (2015).
  8. "Universal output power enhancement in microlasers by selective pumping,” L. Ge, O. Malik, and H. E. Tureci, Nature Photon. 8, 871-875 (2014).
  9. “Parity-time symmetry breaking beyond one dimension: the role of degeneracy,” L. Ge and A. D. Stone, Phys. Rev. X 4, 031011 (2014).

Li’s research achievements have been featured in media such as BBC News, New York Times, Scientific American, Nature, Nature Photonics, and APS Physics. He is a member of American Physical Society and Optical Society of America, and he has given over 20 invited talk and seminars at international conferences and universities. He is the leading guest editor of the focus issue on optical microcavities published in Photonics Research, an open-access journal jointly published by the Optical Society of America and Chinese Laser Press. He has also been selected as a panelist on Challenges in Teaching Sciences organized by McGraw-Hill Education in 2016, where he exchanged his teaching philosophy with colleagues from other leading universities in New York City.

The Ge group places a strong focus on enhancing the research experience of undergraduate and graduate students. There have been four undergraduate students and eight graduate students participating in research with Li, and currently one graduate student and one visiting students are completing their theses with Li, supported by funding from the National Science Foundation and China Scholarship Council. Li has also received mentoring requests from institutions in developing countries, including a senior lecturer at the University of Yaounde I in Cameroon. Li has also been actively participating in education outreach events for high school students, including serving as a judge at the New York City Science and Engineering Fair on a continuous basis.