New Faculty Q&A: Po-Chun Hsu

November 22, 2021

Po-Chun Hsu

Po-Chun Hsu is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science.

He received his PhD in materials science and engineering from Stanford University in 2016 and his undergraduate degree in the same field from National Tsing Hua University in 2007.

His research group aims to develop innovative materials for light and heat management. With the application and desired functions in mind, the group designs, synthesizes and fabricates the materials and devices with ideal photonic structure, chemical properties or heat transfer characteristics. Focus areas include smart textiles, photonic fibers, solar desalination and solid-state cooling.

What projects are you pursuing in which photonics helps push the research forward, and how does photonics play a role?

We are developing materials that can dynamically control solar absorptivity and thermal emissivity for thermoregulation. Our current applications focus on wearable technology and net-zero-energy buildings, but they can also contribute to space missions, electronics and displays. When we engineer these new materials, we always consider the correlation among photonic properties, synthesis and processing, and microstructural features. These three aspects progress in parallel, but very often an elegant photonic principle can significantly open up opportunities for material designs.

What innovations in the realm of photonics within the past five years have made an impact on your research?

The recent development of passive daytime radiative cooling has been a major inspiration for my research. I also learn a great amount about metamaterial absorbers from faculty members of FIP and the whole metamaterial research community.

Do you foresee any emerging photonics innovations impacting your research in the next five years?

I have been intrigued by the emergence of AR/VR and the photonics research that drives the technology. The concept of adaptive metasurface flat optics may be useful for my heat management research. Deep learning tools for efficient rational photonic design will be a powerful tool, too.

Why did you join FIP and how do you hope your new affiliation will help your research goals?

It is truly a great honor to be part of FIP. Duke is already a very collegial place, and I hope joining FIP can bring even more collaboration opportunities in the future.