Yu-Hwa Lo

Yu-Hwa Lo


Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Research Focus

Professor Lo is an expert in bioMEMS and optoelectronic devices, who specializes in photonic integrated circuits.

Research Summary

Core research areas for Professor Lo are biosensors, biologically inspired artificial devices, and quantum communications. He designs BioMEMs (biological microelectricalmechanical systems), including microfluidic devices. Among other uses, such devices can house sensors and bring them into periodic contact with environmental fluids. Lo designs optical interfaces to provide light to power BioMEMS and to transmit radio alerts via microwaves. Lo is also focusing on "bioinspired photonic systems." Cameras are bulky, heavy, and slow to respond compared to insect or animal eyes. Lo is studying how to marry the best of natural and manufactured optical systems, which are self contained and durable. Lo is also researching optical and quantum communications. Each bit on a quantum system would be represented by a single photon, an indivisible quantum-equivalent packet of light. This technique is sometimes called quantum cryptography since any attempt to listen in would, in theory, be immediately detected. This is because the act of measuring a quantum changes its state, per the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.


Yu-Hwa Lo came to the Jacobs School in July of 1999. He has established a new lab to investigate biologically inspired photonic systems. A member of the Materials and Device Layer for the California Institute of Technology and Telecommuncations, he is collaborating with Professors Andy Kummel and William Trogler (Chemistry and Biochemistry) on early-warning biosensors. He is responsible for designing infrared photon counters in a joint effort with IBM's Almaden Research Center to build a quantum-communications system. He was Associate Professor of electrical engineering at Cornell University, prior to coming to UCSD. He received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in electrical engineering in 1987.