Xiankai Sun

2013 Regional Award Finalist — Post-Doc

Xiankai Sun

Current Position:
Assistant Professor, Department of Electronic Engineering

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Previously at Yale University)

Electrical Engineering

Recognized for: Experimental research of nanoscale optomechanical systems

Areas of Research Interest and Expertise: Nanophotonics, optomechanics, micro/nano-electromechanics, low-temperature physics

Xiankai Sun


PhD, Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology
MS, Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology

Xiankai Sun studies the interaction of light and mechanical vibration at the nanoscale level for both fundamental research and practical applications. An expert on photonic device design and fabrication, Sun has developed some of the world’s smallest optomechanical systems, which weigh only 20 femtograms. These tiny devices operate at gigahertz resonant frequencies and are ideal candidates for the development of ultra-high-speed sensors and signal processors and can be used in a variety of applications—for example, in smartphones to sense orientation, and in telecommunications for signal conversion.

Sun is also building a hybrid optomechanical/superconducting circuit, on an integrated platform as a quantum interface to efficiently convert signals between microwave and optical domains. These systems are particularly useful in the development of quantum network as the microwave photons carrying quantum information can be converted to optical photons, which can be transmitted by low-loss optical fibers between distant nodes.

“My long-term goal is to harness the strong interactions between optics, electronics, and mechanics on an integrated platform for quantum metrology, information processing, and communication.”

Key Publications:

  1. Sun XK, Zadok A, Shearn MJ, Diest KA, Ghaffari A, Atwater HA, Scherer A, Yariv A. Electrically pumped hybrid evanescent Si/InGaAsP lasers. Opt. Lett. 2009; 34: 1345-1347.
  2. Sun XK, Zheng JJ, Poot M, Wong CW, Tang HX. Femtogram doubly clamped nanomechanical resonators embedded in a high-Q two-dimensional photonic crystal nanocavity. Nano Lett. 2012; 12: 2299-2305.
  3. Sun XK, Zhang XF, Schuck C, Tang HX. Nonlinear optical effects of ultrahigh-Q silicon photonic nanocavities immersed in superfluid helium. Sci. Rep. 2013; 3: 1436.

Other Honors:

Bor-Uei Chen Memorial Scholarship Award, Photonics Society of Chinese-Americans, 2010
SPIE Scholarship in Optical Science and Engineering, 2009