Adam Overvig

2023 Regional Award Finalist — Post-Doc

Adam Overvig

Current Position:
Postdoctoral Researcher

City University of New York

Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics

Recognized for: A new paradigm for manipulating light and thermal radiation using metasurfaces—surfaces of artificial materials with nanoscale structures. Overvig’s metasurface designs enable new ways to control the behavior of light with unprecedented precision and efficiency, and are promising for a wide range of applications including electronic communications, medical imaging, quantum computing, and more.

Areas of Research Interest and Expertise: Photonics; Optics; Metamaterials

Previous Positions:

  • BS, Cornell University
  • PhD, Columbia University (Advisor: Nanfang Yu)
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Advanced Science Research Center at the City University of New York (Advisor: Andrea Alù)

Research Summary:

In modern-day photonics, the primary focus has shifted from understanding the behavior of light to actively manipulating it. Adam Overvig, PhD, has emerged as a leading figure in this field by introducing a new category of diffractive optical devices. His innovative approach has revolutionized the control of light and thermal radiation through the implementation of metasurfaces.

Metasurfaces are artificial surfaces consisting of nano-structures meticulously engineered to shape the transmission of light, enabling the customization of desired optical properties and applications. However, the effectiveness of metasurfaces is often constrained, either limited to specific parts of the light spectrum or heavily reliant on specific materials utilized in the nano-structures. Overvig tackled these limitations by introducing a novel design concept for metasurfaces that combines geometric symmetries with the concept of "nonlocality." While "nonlocality" had traditionally been viewed as an obstacle in this field, Overvig ingeniously transformed it into an advantageous feature.

Guided by his metasurface design, Overvig has invented a series of compact optical films and devices capable of simultaneously controlling multiple physical properties of light. This achievement is remarkable considering that accomplishing a similar feat typically requires a multitude of optical elements placed on a large optical table. Moreover, Overvig expanded his design concept to enable heated metasurfaces to produce and shape the light simultaneously, eliminating the need for an external laser as the light source. He provided a comprehensive description and demonstrated how a heated metasurface can produce customized, "laser-like" emissions—a revelation that surprised the research community given the inherently random nature of thermal emission.

Overvig's work, characterized by its profound theoretical insights and practical experimental strategies, has not only opened up new research directions in his field, but also expanded the potential applications of metasurfaces. His contributions have immense implications for various domains such as lasers, communications, augmented reality, bio-imaging, and quantum computing.

"I aim to understand not only how light behaves, but how to make light behave."

Key Publications:

  1. A. Overvig, A. Alù. Diffractive Nonlocal Metasurfaces. Laser & Photonics Reviews, 2022.
  2. A. Overvig, S. Mann, A. Alù. Thermal Metasurfaces: Complete Emission Control by Combining Local and Nonlocal Light-Matter Interactions. Physical Review X, 2021.
  3. A. Overvig, A. Alù. Wavefront-selective Fano Resonant Metasurfaces. Advanced Photonics, 2021.
  4. A. Overvig, N. Yu, A. Alù. Chiral Quasibound States in the Continuum. Physical Review Letters, 2021.

Other Honors:

2021Corning Advanced Materials Prize, Columbia University
2021Top Paper in Advanced Photonics
2019Top Cited Paper in Light: Science & Applications
2015Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Fellowship, National Science Foundation


In the Media:

Physics MagazineCustomizing Thermal Emission

CUNY Advance Science Research CenterA New Way to Control Light Emission from Ultrathin Surfaces Enables Breakthrough in Technology, Such as Customizable LED Lights

SPIE NewsLooking at Optical Fano Resonances under A New Light

The EconomistHow to Make A Flat Lens

Phys.orgRevolutionary Ultra-thin “Meta-lens” Enables Full-color Imaging

EurekaAlertLeaky-wave Metasurfaces: A Perfect Interface between Free-space and Integrated Optical Systems