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Engineering professor named one of five inaugural Moore Inventor Fellows

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Xingjie Ni, the Charles H. Fetter Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, has been named a Moore Inventor Fellow by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. This is the first year for the Moore Inventor Fellowships program, which recognizes early-career innovators at U.S. universities with a high potential to accelerate progress in scientific research, environmental conservation and patient care.

Ni is a pioneer in the emerging field of metasurfaces and has demonstrated a capacity to transform fundamental physical concepts using novel metasurface-based optoelectrical applications. The fellowship will advance Ni’s work on developing a brighter, purer quantum light source that could ultimately lay the foundation for increasing the speed, scale and security of information transmission in quantum communication and computing.

“Every day I think about how we could use light to make our lives better. It was exciting when the first quantum optical network become a reality, but I was quite unhappy with its unreasonably slow data rate and limited range,” Ni said about why he started working in this area. “I looked into the problem and found that one of the key issues is the efficiency of the quantum light source. I happily noticed that this could be potentially solved using my expertise on the manipulation of light.”

Ni is one of five inaugural Moore Fellows, all of whom will receive a total of $825,000 over three years to drive their inventions forward, including $50,000 per year from their home institution as commitment to these outstanding individuals. The foundation will invest nearly $34 million during the next 10 years to support a total of 50 Moore Fellows.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s belief in the promise of basic research is essential to supporting such rapid development of inventions at this stage.