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 791: Special Readings
  • PHYSICS 805: Electromagnetic and Weak Interactions in Nuclear Physics

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Byer, D; Khachatryan, V; Gao, H; Akushevich, I; Ilyichev, A; Peng, C; Prokudin, A; Srednyak, S; Zhao, Z, SIDIS-RC EvGen: A Monte-Carlo event generator of semi-inclusive deep inelastic scattering with the lowest-order QED radiative corrections, Computer Physics Communications, vol 287 (2023) [10.1016/j.cpc.2023.108702] [abs].
  • Duran, B; Meziani, Z-E; Joosten, S; Jones, MK; Prasad, S; Peng, C; Armstrong, W; Atac, H; Chudakov, E; Bhatt, H; Bhetuwal, D; Boer, M; Camsonne, A; Chen, J-P; Dalton, MM; Deokar, N; Diefenthaler, M; Dunne, J; El Fassi, L; Fuchey, E; Gao, H; Gaskell, D; Hansen, O; Hauenstein, F; Higinbotham, D; Jia, S; Karki, A; Keppel, C; King, P; Ko, HS; Li, X; Li, R; Mack, D; Malace, S; McCaughan, M; McClellan, RE; Michaels, R; Meekins, D; Paolone, M; Pentchev, L; Pooser, E; Puckett, A; Radloff, R; Rehfuss, M; Reimer, PE; Riordan, S; Sawatzky, B; Smith, A; Sparveris, N; Szumila-Vance, H; Wood, S; Xie, J; Ye, Z; Yero, C; Zhao, Z, Determining the gluonic gravitational form factors of the proton., Nature, vol 615 no. 7954 (2023), pp. 813-816 [10.1038/s41586-023-05730-4] [abs].
  • Ruth, D; Zielinski, R; Gu, C; Allada (Cummings), M; Badman, T; Huang, M; Liu, J; Zhu, P; Allada, K; Zhang, J; Camsonne, A; Chen, JP; Slifer, K; Aniol, K; Annand, J; Arrington, J; Averett, T; Baghdasaryan, H; Bellini, V; Boeglin, W; Brock, J; Carlin, C; Chen, C; Cisbani, E; Crabb, D; Daniel, A; Day, D; Duve, R; Fassi, LE; Friedman, M; Fuchey, E; Gao, H; Gilman, R; Glamazdin, S; Gueye, P; Hafez, M; Han, Y; Hansen, O; Shabestari, MH; Hen, O; Higinbotham, D; Horn, T; Iqbal, S; Jensen, E; Kang, H; Keith, CD; Kelleher, A; Keller, D; Khanal, H; Korover, I; Kumbartzki, G; Li, W; Lichtenstadt, J; Lindgren, R; Long, E; Malace, S; Markowitz, P; Maxwell, J; Meekins, DM; Meziani, ZE; McLean, C; Michaels, R; Mihovilovič, M; Muangma, N; Camacho, CM; Musson, J; Myers, K; Oh, Y; Carmignotto, MP; Perdrisat, C; Phillips, S; Piasetzky, E; Pierce, J; Punjabi, V; Qiang, Y; Reimer, PE; Roblin, Y; Ron, G; Rondon, O; Russo, G; Saenboonruang, K; Sawatzky, B; Shahinyan, A; Shneor, R; Širca, S; Sjoegren, J; Solvignon-Slifer, P; Sparveris, N; Sulkosky, V; Wesselmann, F; Yan, W; Yang, H; Yao, H; Ye, Z; Yurov, M; Zhang, Y; Zhao, YX; Zheng, X, Proton spin structure and generalized polarizabilities in the strong quantum chromodynamics regime, Nature Physics, vol 18 no. 12 (2022), pp. 1441-1446 [10.1038/s41567-022-01781-y] [abs].
  • Ablikim, M; Achasov, MN; Adlarson, P; Albrecht, M; Aliberti, R; Amoroso, A; An, MR; An, Q; Bai, XH; Bai, Y; Bakina, O; Baldini Ferroli, R; Balossino, I; Ban, Y; Batozskaya, V; Becker, D; Begzsuren, K; Berger, N; Bertani, M; Bettoni, D; Bianchi, F; Bloms, J; Bortone, A; Boyko, I; Briere, RA; Brueggemann, A; Cai, H; Cai, X; Calcaterra, A; Cao, GF; Cao, N; Cetin, SA; Chang, JF; Chang, WL; Chelkov, G; Chen, C; Chen, G; Chen, HS; Chen, ML; Chen, SJ; Chen, SM; Chen, T; Chen, XR; Chen, XT; Chen, YB; Chen, ZJ; Cheng, WS; Choi, SK; Chu, X; Cibinetto, G; Cossio, F; Cui, JJ; Dai, HL; Dai, JP; Dbeyssi, A; de Boer, RE; Dedovich, D; Deng, ZY; Denig, A; Denysenko, I; Destefanis, M; De Mori, F; Ding, Y; Dong, J; Dong, LY; Dong, MY; Dong, X; Du, SX; Egorov, P; Fan, YL; Fang, J; Fang, SS; Fang, WX; Fang, Y; Farinelli, R; Fava, L; Feldbauer, F; Felici, G; Feng, CQ; Feng, JH; Fischer, K; Fritsch, M; Fritzsch, C; Fu, CD; Gao, H; Gao, YN; Gao, Y; Garbolino, S; Garzia, I; Ge, PT; Ge, ZW; Geng, C; Gersabeck, EM; Gilman, A; Goetzen, K; Gong, L; Gong, WX; Gradl, W; Greco, M, Measurement of the cross section of e + e − → ηπ + π − at center-of-mass energies from 3.872 GeV to 4.700 GeV, Journal of High Energy Physics, vol 2022 no. 12 (2022) [10.1007/JHEP12(2022)153] [abs].
  • Zhou, J; Khachatryan, V; Gao, H; Gorbaty, S; Higinbotham, DW, Understanding the systematic differences in extractions of the proton electric form factors at low Q2, Physical Review C, vol 106 no. 6 (2022) [10.1103/PhysRevC.106.065505] [abs].