Lu, Tao

Assistant Professor


Phone number: (250) 721-8617
Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research description:

- Optical microcavities
- Narrow linewidth toroid laser
- Biophotonics
- Nanophotonics

Expertise Profile
Electronic engineer Tao Lu is creating a micro-device that owes its birth to the discovery of the "whispering gallery" sound waves in London's St. Paul's Cathedral over 100 years ago.

The circular and dome-capped cathedral produces an effect that when a person whispers at one end of the gallery, the voice travels around the rim of the room and reaches the ears of those standing at the opposite end.

Dr. Lu and his research team are downsizing the whispering gallery to an optical structure in a size comparable to the width of a human hair, capturing light waves instead of sound.

Because the trapped light can circle around the edge of the doughnut-shaped microdevice for a long time without being lost, the whispering gallery microcavity-as it's been baptised-can generate a field strong enough to detect change in its environment.

Dr. Lu and his team have shown that the microcavity can be used as a nanosensor, with the ability to detect small particles including individual cancer cells and single protein molecules at low concentrations.

Dr. Lu is also looking for ways to build the microcavity into electronic chip devices such as smartphones. Most of our electronic devices are fitted with a traditional microwave clock, which can be inaccurate and heavily consumes battery life, he says.

His goal is to make an optical clock with the microcavity, as the laser it generates will consume less power and tell time at the speed of light.

The devices Dr. Lu works on also make their way to his classes, where he introduces students to the latest state-of-the-art research and encourages them to post YouTube videos of their own in-class engineering experiments.

Related Links
Dr. Lu's Faces of UVic Research video:

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