Professor Juejun Hu’s research group focuses on novel materials and devices to exploit interactions of light with matter. Their work covers a wide spectrum of applications, including on-chip sensing and spectroscopy. Capitalizing on a digital Fourier transform technology, Professor Hu and his research group colleagues have created miniaturized and rugged sensors that can be mass produced for industrial process control, medical imaging, and space applications. Another application is optical phase change materials and meta-optics.Optical phase change materials is a class of materials whose optical properties are modified upon undergoing a solid-state phase transition. Using these materials, the group has pioneered a series of cutting-edge reconfigurable optical devices that can be re-programmed to adapt to specific tasks. Other applications are flexible photonics and polymer photonics for biomedical monitoring and high-speed data communications, optics for imaging and sensing for consumer and automotive electronics, and magneto-optical isolation. This work involves chip-scale one-way valves for photons that will become an integral part of next-generation optical communication and navigation systems.


Professor Hu earned a BS in materials science and engineering at Tsinghua University in 2004 and a PhD in the same discipline at MIT in 2009. Before joining MIT, he was an assistant professor at the University of Delaware from 2010 to 2014. Professor Hu is a fellow of professional societies the American Ceramics Society, Optica, and SPIE.

Key Publications

Reconfigurable all-dielectric metalens with diffraction-limited performance

Proved that you don’t need mechanical movement to change the focus of a lens. Instead, a transparent “metalens” changes the way it interacts with infrared light when it undergoes heat-based phase transformation. To see objects far and near, one would simply heat the material using microheaters.

Traditional glass-based optical lenses need mechanical motion to focus on objects. The knobs or other components used for this purpose add unwanted bulk to imaging instruments and are prone to wear and tear.

Because it doesn’t require bulky mechanical elements, the metalens may enable miniature and lighter imaging systems in a variety of devices—from drones to night-vision goggles.

Awards & Honors

Vittorio Gottardi Prize, International Commission on Glass
SPIE Early Career Achievement Award
Robert L. Coble Award, American Ceramic Society
Faculty Early Career Development Award, National Science Foundation