Haiyan Gao


Henry W. Newson Distinguished Professor of Physics

Prof. Gao's research focuses on understanding the structure of the nucleon in terms of quark and gluon degrees of freedom of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), search for QCD exotics, and fundamental symmetry studies at low energy to search for new physics beyond the Standard Model of electroweak interactions. Most recently, her group's studies of the structure of the nucleon have been focusing on a precision measurement of the proton (see her group's 2019 Nature paper on this topic) and deuteron charge radii to elucidate on the proton and the deuteron charge radius puzzles, and on imaging the three-dimensional structure of the nucleon in momentum space through the extraction of transverse momentum dependent parton distribution functions (TMDs), employing polarized semi-inclusive deep inelastic scattering processes. The nucleon tomography provided by TMDs will uncover the rich QCD dynamics, and provide quantitative information about the quark orbital angular momentum contribution to the proton spin. TMDs will also provide information on fundamental quantities such as the tensor charge of the nucleon, a quantity not only important for testing lattice QCD predictions, but also important for searches of new physics beyond the Standard Model together with the next generation of nucleon electric dipole moment experiments. Her group is playing leading roles in the Solenoidal Large Intensity Device (SoLID) project at Jefferson Lab, a high profile program which will make major impact on TMD physics, proton mass puzzle through precision measurement of J/psi production near threshold, and search for new physics beyond the Standard Model using parity-violating deep inelastic scattering. Most of her work utilizes the novel experimental technique of scattering polarized electrons or photons from polarized gas targets. Her group has built a number of state-of-the-art polarized gas targets including H/D internal gas target and a high-pressure polarized 3He target for photon experiments using the High Intensity Gamma Source (HIGS) facility at the Duke Free Electron Laser Laboratory (DFELL). Her research is being carried out mostly at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLab) in Newport News, Virginia, and the HIGS facility at DFELL.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Henry W. Newson Distinguished Professor of Physics
  • Professor of Physics

Contact Information

  • Office Location: Ffsc 2313, Science Drive, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-2622
  • Email Address: haiyan.gao@duke.edu
  • Websites:


  • Ph.D. California Institute of Technology, 1994
  • B.S. Tsinghua University (China), 1988

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Henry Newson Professor of Physics. Duke. 2012
  • Fellow. American Physical Society. 2007
  • The Outstanding Junior faculty Investigator (OJI) Award. The US Department of Energy. 2000

Courses Taught

  • PHYSICS 362D: Electricity and Magnetism
  • PHYSICS 493: Research Independent Study
  • PHYSICS 805: Electromagnetic and Weak Interactions in Nuclear Physics

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Accardi, A; Afanasev, A; Albayrak, I; Ali, SF; Amaryan, M; Annand, JRM; Arrington, J; Asaturyan, A; Atac, H; Avakian, H; Averett, T; Gayoso, CA; Bai, X; Barion, L; Battaglieri, M; Bellini, V; Beminiwattha, R; Benmokhtar, F; Berdnikov, VV; Bernauer, JC; Bertone, V; Bianconi, A; Biselli, A; Bisio, P; Blunden, P; Boer, M; Bondì, M; Brinkmann, KT; Briscoe, WJ; Burkert, V; Cao, T; Camsonne, A; Capobianco, R; Cardman, L; Carmignotto, M; Caudron, M; Causse, L; Celentano, A; Chatagnon, P; Chen, JP; Chetry, T; Ciullo, G; Cline, E; Cole, PL; Contalbrigo, M; Costantini, G; D’Angelo, A; Darmé, L; Day, D; Defurne, M; De Napoli, M; Deur, A; De Vita, R; D’Hose, N; Diehl, S; Diefenthaler, M; Dongwi, B; Dupré, R; Dutrieux, H; Dutta, D; Ehrhart, M; El Fassi, L; Elouadrhiri, L; Ent, R; Erler, J; Fernando, IP; Filippi, A; Flay, D; Forest, T; Fuchey, E; Fucini, S; Furletova, Y; Gao, H; Gaskell, D; Gasparian, A; Gautam, T; Girod, FX; Gnanvo, K; Grames, J; Grauvogel, GN; Gueye, P; Guidal, M; Habet, S; Hague, TJ; Hamilton, DJ; Hansen, O; Hasell, D; Hattawy, M; Higinbotham, DW; Hobart, A; Horn, T; Hyde, CE; Ibrahim, H; Ilyichev, A; Italiano, A; Joo, K; Joosten, SJ; Khachatryan, V; Kalantarians, N; Kalicy, G, An experimental program with high duty-cycle polarized and unpolarized positron beams at Jefferson Lab, The European Physical Journal A, vol 57 no. 8 (2021) [10.1140/epja/s10050-021-00564-y] [abs].
  • Pierce, J; Brock, J; Carlin, C; Keith, C; Maxwell, J; Meekins, D; Bai, X; Deur, A; Dutta, D; Gao, H; Gasparian, A; Gnanvo, K; Gu, C; Higinbotham, D; Khandaker, M; Liyanage, N; Meziane, M; Pasyuk, E; Peng, C; Punjabi, V; Xiong, W; Yan, X; Ye, L; Zhang, Y, The PRad windowless gas flow target, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, vol 1003 (2021) [10.1016/j.nima.2021.165300] [abs].
  • Sulkosky, V; Peng, C; Chen, JP; Deur, A; Abrahamyan, S; Aniol, KA; Armstrong, DS; Averett, T; Bailey, SJ; Beck, A; Bertin, P; Butaru, F; Boeglin, W; Camsonne, A; Cates, GD; Chang, CC; Choi, S; Chudakov, E; Coman, L; Cornejo, JC; Craver, B; Cusanno, F; De Leo, R; de Jager, CW; Denton, JD; Dhamija, S; Feuerbach, R; Finn, JM; Frullani, S; Fuoti, K; Gao, H; Garibaldi, F; Gayou, O; Gilman, R; Glamazdin, A; Glashausser, C; Gomez, J; Hansen, JO; Hayes, D; Hersman, FW; Higinbotham, DW; Holmstrom, T; Humensky, TB; Hyde, CE; Ibrahim, H; Iodice, M; Jiang, X; Kaufman, LJ; Kelleher, A; Keister, KE; Kim, W; Kolarkar, A; Kolb, N; Korsch, W; Kramer, K; Kumbartzki, G; Lagamba, L; Lainé, V; Laveissiere, G; Lerose, JJ; Lhuillier, D; Lindgren, R; Liyanage, N; Lu, HJ; Ma, B; Margaziotis, DJ; Markowitz, P; McCormick, KR; Meziane, M; Meziani, ZE; Michaels, R; Moffit, B; Monaghan, P; Nanda, S; Niedziela, J; Niskin, M; Pandolfi, R; Paschke, KD; Potokar, M; Puckett, A; Punjabi, VA; Qiang, Y; Ransome, RD; Reitz, B; Roché, R; Saha, A; Shabetai, A; Širca, S; Singh, JT; Slifer, K; Snyder, R; Solvignon, P; Stringer, R; Subedi, R; Tobias, WA; Ton, N; Ulmer, PE; Urciuoli, GM; Vacheret, A; Voutier, E, Measurement of the generalized spin polarizabilities of the neutron in the low-Q 2 region, Nature Physics, vol 17 no. 6 (2021), pp. 687-692 [10.1038/s41567-021-01245-9] [abs].
  • Hague, TJ; Dutta, D; Higinbotham, DW; Bai, X; Gao, H; Gasparian, A; Gnanvo, K; Khachatryan, V; Khandaker, M; Liyanage, N; Pasyuk, E; Peng, C; Xiong, W; Zhou, J, Elastic positron–proton scattering at low Q 2, The European Physical Journal A, vol 57 no. 6 (2021) [10.1140/epja/s10050-021-00508-6] [abs].
  • Laskaris, G; Ji, W; Yan, X; Zhou, J; Zimmerman, WR; Ahmed, MW; Averett, T; Deltuva, A; Fonseca, AC; Gao, H; Golak, J; Kafkarkou, A; Karwowski, HJ; Lalremruata, B; Manfredi, J; Mueller, JM; Sauer, PU; Skibiński, R; Smith, AP; Tsang, MB; Weller, HR; Witała, H; Wu, YK; Zhao, ZW, First measurement of the asymmetry and the Gerasimov-Drell-Hearn integrand from the He 3- (γ-,p) H 2 reaction at an incident photon energy of 29 MeV, Physical Review C, vol 103 no. 3 (2021) [10.1103/PhysRevC.103.034311] [abs].