August 21, 2017 | ASRC News, Photonics Initiative

Photo of Andrea Alu

Andrea Alù, renowned engineer and photonics researcher, has been named the founding director of the Photonics Initiative .

Andrea Alù, renowned engineer and photonics researcher, has been named the founding director of the Photonics Initiative at the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Alù, who will also hold the title of Einstein Professor of Physics at the Graduate Center in affiliation with the Department of Electrical Engineering at The City College of New York, comes to the ASRC from the University of Texas at Austin where he was the Temple Foundation Endowed Professor #3 in the Cockrell School of Engineering. He was also a member of the Cockrell School’s Wireless Networking and Communications Group and the head of the Metamaterials and Plasmonic Research Laboratory.

The ASRC appointment marks the latest achievement in an impressive career.

He is a recent recipient of the Alan T. Waterman Award (2015) from the National Science Foundation — one of the top prizes for scientists and engineers in the United States. Winners are selected based on the innovation of their research and their overall impact on their field and receive $1 million in research funding.

Alù is best known for his breakthroughs in invisibility cloaking, or making objects transparent to incoming microwave signals. He realized the first freestanding three-dimensional invisibility cloak. He also developed the first nonreciprocal acoustic circulator — or one-way sound device.

His discoveries in metamaterials and plasmonics have broad implications for a range of sectors, including defense, communications, medical imaging, acoustics, mechanics, and robotics.

“I am very excited to be selected as the director of the Photonics Initiative at the ASRC, and I look forward to the opportunity to establish a recognized center of excellence in photonics and electromagnetics in New York City,” Alù said. “The resources and research culture located at the ASRC will be a boon to my research, and I am intrigued by the collaborations between my lab and the other initiatives at the center.”

“Andrea is an innovative thinker, dedicated researcher, and excellent teacher whose work has the potential to transform not just technology but daily life,” said Joy Connolly, provost and senior vice president of the Graduate Center. “We are thrilled that he is joining our team of equally accomplished and committed ASRC directors. I am confident that Andrea, in collaboration with his ASRC and Graduate Center colleagues, will put CUNY at the forefront of science research and teaching.”

Alù is the fifth internationally recognized scientist to be named a founding initiative director at the ASRC. He joins Patrizia Casaccia (neuroscience), Kevin H. Gardner (structural biology), Rein V. Ulijn (nanoscience), and Charles J. Vörösmarty (environmental sciences).

“With Andrea’s appointment, we have filled the ASRC’s five directorships, and we couldn’t have found a more qualified candidate,” said Eric Shipp, deputy executive director of the ASRC. “The ASRC is designed to be a hub of interdisciplinary research in some of today’s most exciting and important fields. Already, we have supported and produced groundbreaking research, and, with Andrea as our photonics director, that will only accelerate.”

In addition to the Waterman Award, Alù has received the International Commission of Optics Prize in Optics (2016), the Optical Society’s Adolph Lomb Medal (2013), the International Union of Radio Science’s Issac Koga Gold Medal (2011), the Kavli Foundation Early Career Lectureship in Material Science (2016), the Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Engineering (2015), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Microwave Theory and Techniques Society’s Outstanding Young Engineer Award (2014), the International Union of Pure Applied Physics Young Scientist Prize in Optics (2013), the NSF CAREER Award (2010), the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award (2010), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency Young Investiator Award (2011), the Leopold B. Felsen Award for Excellence in Electrodynamics (2008), and several other awards. He has twice been named a finalist of the Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists (2016 and 2017).

Alù is a fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Americal Physical Society (APS), and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE). He is also a Simons Foundation Investigator in Physics and a distinguished lecturer for the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society and the OSA.

He holds more than a dozen patents and patent applications and has co-authored more than 500 frequently cited contributions to scientific literature. He serves on the editorial boards of several international journals including Physical Review B, New Journal of Physics, and Advanced Optical Materials.

Alù has a Ph.D., M.S., and an undergraduate degree from the University of Roma Tre in Rome, and he conducted his postdoctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania.

He begins his appointment at the Graduate Center in early 2018.