This group led by Dr Xianzhong Chen is dedicated to the nanoscale light-matter interactions and their applications in photonics, imaging, information processing, sensing, energy and others. Artificial nanostructures can have exotic optical properties that may not be found in nature or their constituent components, thus providing more degrees of freedom to control light waves. Our research enables the discovery of new phenomena and the development of novel prototype devices (e.g, metalenses, nano-holograms, multifunctional optical devices), which are essential for future technologies. We frequently collaborate with other groups and industrial end-users to expand our knowledge of the application domain. 

Dr Chen joined Heriot-Watt University as an assistant professor in August 2013. He received his MSc (2001) and PhD (2004) from the Institute of Optics & Electronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences and subsequently worked there for two years first as research assistant professor and then a research associate professor. Prior to joining Heriot-Watt University (HWU), he was a research fellow (2007-2013) at University of Birmingham. He established this research group since his appointment at HWU. Much of his work has been in the fields of optical metamaterials and nanophotonics. With the EPSRC grants (PI, EP/M003175/1 and Co-I, EP/I023186/1) and recently awarded EPSRC grant on "Two-Dimensional Photonics Fabrication Facility" (Co-I, EP/P029892/1), his research mainly focuses on light-matter interactions at the nanoscale and their applications in ultrathin optical devices with unusual functionalities. Nanophotonics is an interdisciplinary research area that bridges nanoscience, optics, physics and engineering. Supported by EPSRC IAA grant (PI), Renishaw-Heriot Watt Alliance grant (PI) and CDTAP - Holoxica grant, he collaborates with a range of companies (e.g., Renishaw, Holoxica and SwissLitho AG) to explore the commercial applications of nanomaterials and nanodevices.

He has published over 50 research papers in journals including Nature Communications, Light: Science & Applications, Nano Letters and Advanced Materials. He was the winner of the Innovation Award for Young Researchers in the Institute of Optics & Electronics in 2005 and Contribution Point Award at Heriot-Watt University in 2016. His work on macroscopic invisibility cloaking of visible light was selected as one of the "Top 10 Breakthroughs for 2010" by Physics World, "Top 100 Stories in 2011" by Discover Magazine, and received wide media coverage including BBC News, Telegraph, Channel 4, ITV, Guardian, Fox News, USA Today and MSNBC.  He is a reviewer for Royal Academy of Engineering program, EPSRC program and Chang Jiang Scholars program. He was the organiser and co-chair of the special session "Metasurface and its application in optical devices" at META'16 in Spain (2016). He also serves as a reviewer for high-profile journals, including Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Communications, Advanced Materials, Nano Letters, and Light: Science &Applications. Recently, he was invited as one of the guest editors for the special session of Metasurface for Journal of Physics D.

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