Prof. P.C. Ku Named Fellow of Optica

Prof. Ku received this honor for his pioneering contributions to semiconductor nanostructured optoelectronic materials, devices, and their applications.
P.C. Ku headshot

Prof. P.C. Ku has been elected Fellow of Optica (formerly OSA) ”For pioneering contributions to semiconductor nanostructured optoelectronic materials, devices, and their applications.”

Ku’s research on nanostructured optoelectronic materials and devices has led to major technological breakthroughs, most notably in semiconductor light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and slow light devices, with applications ranging from quantum photonics to sensing, and from fundamental device physics to LED luminaire design.

His contributions lie at the intersection of optoelectronic materials and nanostructures, device physics, and novel applications. He started his career studying “slow light” and made significant contributions in reporting the first significant slowing down of the group velocity of light in a semiconductor structure in 2004. He also co-authored a seminal paper on the comprehensive analysis of the fundamental limit of slot light for optical communication applications in 2005.

In 2013, Ku and his team broke the record of the operating temperature of a site-controlled semiconductor single photon source. 

In 2015, Ku contributed to a project led by Prof. Euisik Yoon to develop integrated micro-LEDs on a neural probe. This research led to one of the first single-neuron optogenetic studies in behaving animals, helping inspire a significant growth in this field in the past few years.

Ku demonstrated the first monolithically integrated full-color micro-LED display in 2017, which addressed the yield challenge of the massive-transfer process. This has excited many applications beyond lighting. And more recently, he demonstrated the world’s thinnest skin-like tactile sensor to improve tactile sensing in prosthetics in 2021, and an optics-free chip-scale spectrometer to enable wearable sensors in 2022.

In 2011, Ku co-founded the company Arborlight to develop advanced indoor LED lighting systems with the goal of mimicking outdoor light even in spaces with no access to natural light. The company received several awards, including the 2014 Department of Energy Next-Generation Luminaire (NGL) Award, 2015 Architectural SSL Product Innovations Award, and 2015 LED Magazine Sapphire Award.

Ku has served as Associate Chair for Undergraduate Education since 2019, and has overseen the creation of several new undergraduate courses in quantum information science and engineering. This effort was aided through his participation in the NSF initiative called QuSTEAM: Convergence Undergraduate Education in Quantum Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. He has since co-founded the non-profit, QuSTEAM, to expand these efforts.He has more than 200 publications and conference presentations, is co-editor of the book Handbook of GaN Semiconductor Materials and Devices, and was awarded six U.S. patents.