Message from the International Scientific Advisory Committee

In 2023, I had the honor of celebrating my 20th anniversary at Harvard University. As part of this major career milestone, I was contacted by group members past and present, and it gave me the opportunity to reflect on some of the most significant collaborations of my lifetime.

Supervising PhD students has given me the opportunity to mentor and guide emerging researchers, an element of my career that I deeply cherish. In exchange for my guidance, expertise, and feedback, they have given me fresh perspectives, new ideas, and enthusiastic reminders that what we do is exciting and impactful.

I am grateful that my relationships have continued past my students’ time with me. The Capasso Group network of alumni has resulted in research collaborations that have significantly impacted several fields of study. I have also been lucky to continue working alongside some of them.

Nanfang Yu, who was my student and is now a professor at Columbia University City of New York, was one of my earliest collaborators. Before meta-optics was an established field, Jim Anderson, a leading atmospheric chemist, asked me if I had a way to eliminate the bulky lens in front of the quantum cascade laser (QCL) housed in the tight space of a drone searching for methane emissions. That question led Nanfang and I to design a flat contact lens for the QCL. This is what got us started in flat optics!

I also founded Metalenz, a meta-optics related start-up, alongside my student Rob Devlin, who is now the CEO! Talented researchers at the beginning of their careers have opportunities to take fundamental research into real-world impact and I enjoy watching that journey, and supporting it in all the ways I can.

To all the students of TMOS, in this ever evolving landscape of science and technology, your contributions are valuable. They contribute to the pool of knowledge that will address pressing global issues and enrich the lives of people worldwide.

I urge you to remain steadfast in your pursuit of excellence, to embrace curiosity, and to approach challenges with resilience and determination. Remember that the knowledge and skills you acquire during your time at TMOS are powerful instruments for positive change in the world.

In particular, I want to congratulate all TMOS students who successfully defended their thesis in 2023. As you celebrate this momentous achievement, know that the wider TMOS team, including myself, takes great pride in your academic accomplishments and has every confidence that you will go forth and leave an enduring mark on the world.

Kind regards, Prof. Federico Capasso, Harvard University
Chair, TMOS International Scientific Advisory Committee

About the author/s

Federico Capasso

Federico Capasso is currently the Robert Wallace Professor of applied physics with Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA, which he joined in 2003 after 27 years at Bell Labs, where he rose from a Postdoctoral Researcher to the VP of Physical Research. He pioneered bandgap engineering of semiconduct ... more