Huan Zhao 2024

Huan Zhao

Wigner Distinguished Staff Fellow


Huan Zhao is a Wigner Distinguished Staff Fellow (Staff Scientist, Level 2) at ORNL. Huan's research interests span single photon sources, color-center-based quantum sensing, optical imaging, and microelectronics. 

Current Projects

PI, for LDRD project "Telecom Quantum Emitters for Quantum Networks". The project aims at developing cutting-edge solid-state quantum light sources, specifically tailored for critical roles in quantum information science. Huan's focus includes the creation of bright, site-specific, and polarization-defined telecom-wavelength quantum emitters, their integration with photonic structures, and the construction of spin-photon interfaces for quantum state transduction. Through this project, Huan will set up sophisticated near-infrared optical imaging, correlation measurements and spectroscopy capabilities, focusing on characterizing individual quantum light sources.

Technical contact, for Scanning NV Microscope. In CNMS, a user facility, Huan employs single nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers in diamond probes for nanoscale measurement of small magnetic and electric fields, as well as spin fluctuations, using a Scanning NV Microscope. This cutting-edge tool is operable in temperatures ranging from 1.6 to 300K. Those interested in this technology are encouraged to submit a user proposal to CNMS at For further information or detailed discussions, please reach out to Huan directly.


Previous Projects

Prior to joining ORNL, Huan was engaged in several diverse research areas (links of Huan's 1st and co-1st author publications are attached):

1. **Birefringent Optical Materials**: Studied the optical properties of various birefringent optical materials, including the discovery of a material that exhibits the highest known broadband birefringence.

Nano Res. 8, 3651–3661 (2015);    Nat. Photon. 12, 392–396 (2018);    Chem. Mater. 2018, 30, 15, 4897

2. **Resistive Memory Device for Neuromorphic Systems**: Pioneered the creation of the world's most energy-efficient resistive memory device (RRAM, also called memristor), which is promising for neuromorphic computing.

Advanced Materials 29.47 (2017): 1703232;    arXiv:1905.04431.

3. **2D Material-based Telecom-Wavelength Single-Photon Emitters**: Demonstrated the first 2D-material-based quantum light source suitable for telecom wavelengths (1.3 um O-band & 1.55 um C-band).

Nature communications 12.1 (2021): 6753;    Nano Lett. 2023, 23, 23.

4, **Study of Material Properties and Light-matter Interactions**:Investigated the light-matter interactions of various novel materials, including the investigations of excitons, phonons, polaritons, hot carriers, etc. Studied the mechanical engineering of 2D layered materials, including stacking, strain engineering, folding, etc.

Nanophotonics, 4,2, 2015, 128-142;    Nano Lett. 2017, 17, 6, 3675–3680

Advanced Optical Materials (2016), 4: 756-762.     Adv. Funct. Mater. 2020, 30, 1908691.

5. **Development of the World's Fastest Camera**: Led the development of the next-generation Compressed Ultrafast Photography (CUP) technique during his postdoctoral tenure at the Caltech Optical Imaging Lab (unfinished work). CUP is a single-shot ultrafast camera capable of capturing images on a femtosecond scale without repetitive recordings. See for an in-depth overview and understanding of the Compressed Ultrafast Photography (CUP) technique.

About Wigner Distinguished Staff Fellowship

See for a detailed description of the program.

Named in honor of Eugene Wigner, a 1963 Nobel Laureate and the first Director of Research and Development at ORNL, the Wigner Fellowship is ORNL's most longstanding fellowship. The Wigner distinguished staff fellowship is awarded to 0-2 outstanding early-career scientists each year, offering them a chance to enhance their scientific expertise, develop a long-term career at ORNL, and build their research portfolios. Fellows are hired as independent, 'permanent' research staff.

12/04/2023 -                         Eugene P. Wigner Distinguished Staff Fellow, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.         

01/03/2023 - 12/03/2023      Postdoc, Caltech Optical Imaging Laboratory, Department of Medical Engineering, Caltech. Mentor: Prof. Lihong Wang

09/09/2019 - 01/02/2023      Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, Los Alamos National Laboratory. Mentor: Dr. Han Htoon

07/2023       Eugene P. Wigner Distinguished Staff Fellowship, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (~0-2 awardees worldwide per year)

09/2019       Director’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, Los Alamos National Laboratory (<5%)

10/2018       国家优秀自费留学生奖学金

09/2014       Viterbi Dean’s Doctoral Fellowship, USC (< 5%, four-year fellowship)

08/05/2014 ~ 12/18/2019      PhD, Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Southern California. Mentor: Prof. Han Wang

09/01/2010 ~ 06/30/2014      Bachelor’s degree in Physics (School of Physics; Kuang Yaming Honors School), Nanjing University

Served as a reviewer >30 times for journals such as: Science Advances; Nano Energy; Scientific Reports; Advanced Optical Materials; Nanophotonics; IEEE Optical and Quantum Electronics; IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology, IEEE International Conference on Nanotechnology, etc.

Served as Chair for 2022 APS March Meeting, Session T72: New Approaches for Spins and Emitters.

  1. Near-infrared Optical Imaging, Spectroscopy, and Photon Correlation Measurements: Fluorescence imaging and optical characterizations at low T and room T, with various CW and pulsed laser excitations. Detectors: Liquid cooled 1D and 2D InGaAs Diode array covering 900–1600 nm spectral range; Quantum optics tools: superconducting Nanowire Single Photon Detection System, Time-tagged/time-correlated single photon counting, etc.
  2. Qnami ProteusQ™ Scanning NV Microscope: The Qnami ProteusQ is a complete quantum microscope system. It is the first scanning NV (nitrogen-vacancy) microscope for the analysis of magnetic materials at the atomic scale. By combining NV magnetometry and scanning probe microscopy techniques into a single instrument, scanning NV magnetometry provides simultaneous acquisition of the sample's topography and its surface magnetic fields with nanoscale resolution. At present, we support operations at room temperature, with plans to install a low-temperature system later in 2024.