Nan Yu

  • Ph. D, University of Arizona, 1988
  • B. S., Southeast University, China, 1982

Research Interests: 

My current main research interest is in the areas of studying quantum systems and exploiting quantum properties, and developing new technologies for advanced clocks, sensors and precision measurement tools, and applying them to space science exploration and fundamental physics measurements

  • Atomic frequency standards and clocks: trapped atom/ion microwave and optical frequency standards, clocks, and their applications.
  • Quantum atomic sensors: atom-wave interferometer inertial sensors and their applications in geodesy, gravity mapping, planetary science, and fundamental physics.
  • Lasers and optical metrology: development of narrow lasers, low jitter mode-locked lasers, frequency comb generation, optical phase control, and related precision sensing and measurements.
  • Basic physics research in atomic molecular and optical physics: precision measurements, nonlinear optics, quantum optics, quantum communications, and fundamental physics
  • Photonic quantum system research: using nonclassical quantum states of light for enhancement of sensors, communication, and science experiments in space.



Professional Experience: 

Present Positions:

  • Senior Research Scientist
    Technical Group Supervisor, 2009 – Present


  • Adjunct Professor of Physics, USC, 2011 – Present


  • Other current related positions:
    • Program Scientist, Fundamental Physics Office
    • Project Scientist, BECCAL, a cold atom project of NASA-DLR bilateral collaboration


Teaching Experience:

  • California Institute of Technology – APh/EE 24. Introductory Optics and Photonics Laboratory
  • University of Washington – Mechanics
  • University of Arizona - Introductory Physics Labs

Selected Awards: 

Honors and Awards:

  • NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal for the development of quantum technologies for space, 2023
  • Team Awards, Group Achievement Awards, 1998 – present
  • People Leadership Award, Exceptional People Leadership, 2016
  • Voyager Award, Mariner Awards, NASA Honors Awards, 2000 – present
  • Outstanding Accomplishment, Level B, 2001
  • NASA TechBrief Certificates of Recognition, 2002 – present



  • “Point-Wise Phase Matching for Nonlinear Frequency Generation in Dielectric Resonators,” Patent Number 9,285,652, Issued:   3/15/2016.
  • “Covert Laser Remote Sensing and Vibrometry,” Patent Number: 8,210,044, issued: 7/3/2012.
  • “Stabilizing Optical Resonators,” Patent Number: 8,164,816, issued: 4/24/2012.
  • “Optical Sensing Based on Overlapping Optical Modes in Optical Resonator Sensors and Interferometric Sensors,” Patent Number: 8,111,402, issued: 2/7/2012.
  • “Differential Temperature Sensor Systems And Method,” US Patent No. 7,665,891 - issued February 23, 2010.
  • “Optical Sensing Based On Overlapping Optical Modes In Optical Resonator Sensors And Interferometric Sensors,” US Patent Number: 8,111,402, issued: 2/7/2012.
  • “Atomic Clock based on the Opto-Electronic Oscillator” U.S. Patent No. 6,762,869, issued 7/13/04.

Selected Publications: 

Last Ten Years:

  1. “Micro mercury trapped ion clock prototypes with 10−14 frequency stability in 1-liter packages,” Thai M. Hoang, Sang K. Chung, Thanh Le, Sehyun Park, SungJin Park, J. Gary Eden, Christopher Holland, Hao Wang, Omeed Momeni, Russell Bradley 5, Scott Crane.
  2. John D. Prestage  & Nan Yu, Sci Rep 13, 10629 (2023).
  3. “Fundamental physics with a state-of-the-art optical clock in space,” Andrei Derevianko et al.  Quantum Sci. Technol. 7 044002 (2022).
  4. “The deep space quantum link: prospective fundamental physics experiments using long-baseline quantum optics,” Makan Mohageg, et al. EPJ Quantum Technol. 9, 25 (2022).
  5. “Integrated physics package of micromercury trapped ion clock with -10^-14 level frequency
    Stability,” T. Hoang et al., Appl. Phys. Lett. 119, 044001 (2021);
  6. “The Bose-Einstein Condensate and Cold Atom Laboratory,” Kai Frye et al., EPJ Quantum Technology, 8:1, (2021).
  7. “Experimental demonstration of time-delay interferometry with optical frequency comb,” Quentin Vinckier, Massimo Tinto,  Ivan Grudinin, Daniel Rieländer, and Nan Yu, PHYSICAL REVIEW D 102, 062002 (2020).
  8. “Observation of Bose–Einstein condensates in an Earth-orbiting research lab,” Aveline, D.C., Williams, J.R., Elliott, E.R. et al. Nature 582, 193–197 (2020).
  9. “Robust numerical computation of the 3D scalar potential field of the cubic Galileon gravity model at solar system scales,” Nicholas C. White, Sandra M. Troian, Jeffrey B. Jewell, Curt J. Cutler, Sheng-wey Chiow, and Nan Yu, Phys. Rev. D. 102, 024033, arXiv:2003.02648 [physics.comp-ph]. (2020).
  10.  “Constraining symmetron dark energy using atom interferometry,” Sheng-wey Chiow and Nan Yu, Phys. Rev. D 101, 083501 (2020).
  11. “SAGE: A proposal for a space atomic gravity explorer,” Guglielmo M. Tino et al. Eur. Phys. J. D 73: 228 (2019).
  12. “Self-injection locking efficiency of a UV Fabry-Perot laser diode,” Anatoliy A. Savchenkov, Sheng-Wey Chiow, Mohammadreza Ghasemkhani, Skip Williams, Nan Yu, Robert C. Stirbl, and Andrey B. Matsko, Optics Letters Vol. 44, Issue 17, pp. 4175-4178 (2019).
  13. “Searching for Stochastic Background of Ultra-Light Fields with Atomic Sensors,” Tigran Kalaydzhyan and Nan Yu, Universe, V4, 99; doi:10.3390/universe4100099, (2018).
  14.  “Compact Atom Interferometer Using Single Laser,” S. Chiow, Nan Yu, Applied Physics B, 124:96 (2018).
  15. “Multiloop atom interferometer measurements of chameleon dark energy in microgravity,” S. Chiow and N. Yu, Phys. Rev. D 97, (2018).
  16. “Extracting dark matter signatures from atomic clock stability measurements,” Tigran Kalaydzhyan and Nan Yu, Phys. Rev. D 96, 075007 (2017).
  17. “High-contrast Kerr frequency combs,” Ivan S. Grudinin, Vincent Huet, Nan Yu, Andrey B. Matsko, Michael L. Gorodetsky, and Lute Maleki, Optica 4(4), 434-437 (2017).
  18. “Gravity-gradient suppression in spaceborne atomic tests of the equivalence principle,” Sheng-wey Chiow, Jason Williams, Nan Yu, and Holger Mueller, Phys. Rev. A 95, 021603(R) (2017).
  19. “Neutral Mounting of Ultrahigh Q Whispering Gallery Mode disc-Resonators for Metrological Applications,” Yanne K. Chembo, Lukas Baumgartel, and Nan Yu, IEEE Photonics Journal, Volume 9, 6800308 (2017).
  20. “Properties of fluoride microresonators for mid-IR applications,” Ivan S. Grudinin, Kamjou Mansour, and Nan Yu, Opt. Lett. Vol. 41, pp. 2378-2381 (2016).
  21. “On the properties of single-mode optical resonators,” Justin M. Winkler, Ivan S. Grudinin, and Nan Yu, Optics Express, Submitted to Optics Express Vol. 24, Issue 12, pp. 13231-13243 (2016).
  22. “General relativistic observables for the ACES experiment,” Slava G. Turyshev, Nan Yu, and Viktor T. Toth, Phys. Rev. D 93, 045027 (2016).
  23. “Noise reduction in differential phase extraction of dual atom interferometers using an active servo loop,” Sheng-wey Chiow, Jason Williams, and Nan Yu, Phys. Rev. A 93, 013602 (2016).
  24. “Quantum Test of the Equivalence Principle and Space Time (QTEST),” Jason Williams, Sheng-wey Chiow, Nan Yu, and Holger Müller, New Journal of Physics, Volume 18, 025018 (2016).
  25. “Laser-ranging long-baseline differential atom interferometers for space,” Sheng-wey Chiow, Jason Williams, and Nan Yu, Phys. Rev. A 92, 063613 (2015).
  26. “Spatiotemporal dynamics of Kerr-Raman optical frequency combs,” Yanne K. Chembo, Ivan S. Grudinin, and Nan Yu, Phys. Rev. A 92, 043818 (2015).
  27. “Time-delay interferometry with optical frequency comb,” Massimo Tinto and Nan Yu, Physical Review D 92, 042002 (2015).
  28. “All-electronic line width reduction in a semiconductor diode laser using a crystalline microresonator,” Aaron S. Rury , Kamjou Mansour, Nan Yu, Appl. Phys. B, Volume 120, 155-160 (2015).
  29. “A novel approach to dispersion engineering of crystalline resonators,” Ivan Grudinin and Nan Yu, Optica Vol. 2,  Iss. 3, pp. 221–224 (2015). (2015).
  30. “Computational Studies of Light Shift in Raman-Ramsey Interference-Based Atomic Clock,” G. S. Pati1, Z. Warren, N. Yu and M.S. Shahriar, JOSA B, Accepted for publication, (2014).
  31. “Micro-slotted whispering gallery mode resonators for optomechanical applications,” Aveline, David C.; Strekalov, Dmitry V.; Yu, Nan, APPLIED PHYSICS LETTERS  Volume: 105, Article Number: 021111  ( 2014).
  32. “Imaging dark objects with intensity interferometry,” D. V. Strekalov, I. Kulikov, and N. Yu, Optics Express, Vol. 22, pp.12339-12348 (2014).
  33. “Continuous tuning of double resonance-enhanced second harmonic generation in a dispersive dielectric resonator,” Guoping Lin and Nan Yu, Optics Express, Volume: 22, Pages: 557-562 (2014).
  34. “Intensity interferometry for observation of dark objects,” D. V. Strekalov, B. I. Erkmen, and Nan Yu, Physical Review A Volume: 88,  Article Number: 053837 (2013).
  35. “Impact of cavity spectrum on span in microresonator frequency combs,” I. S. Grudinin, L. G. Baumgartel, and Nan Yu, Optics Express  Volume: 21,  26929-26935  (2013).
  36. “Wide-range cyclic phase matching and second harmonic generation in whispering gallery resonators,” G. Lin, J. U. Fuerst, D. V. Strekalov, and N. Yu, Applied Physics Letters Volume: 103, Article Number: 181107 (2013).
  37. “Polarization conversion loss in birefringent crystalline resonators,” I. S.  Grudinin, G. Lin, and N. Yu, Optics Letters  Volume: 38,  Pages: 2410-2412 (2013).
  38. “Whispering gallery mode resonators augmented with engraved diffraction gratings,” D. C. Aveline, L. M. Baumgartel, G. Lin, and N. Yu, Optics Letters, Volume: 38, 284-286  (2013).
  39. “Low-power, miniature Yb-171 ion clock using an ultra-small vacuum package,” Y-Y Jau, H. Partner, P. D.  Schwindt, J. R. Kellogg, J. D. Prestage, and N. Yu, Applied Physics Letters, Volume: 101, Article Number: 253518 (2012).
  40. “Low-threshold ultraviolet solid-state laser based on a Ce3+:LiCaAlF6 crystal resonator,” Thanh Le; Schowalter, Steven J.; Rellergert, Wade, and N. Yu, Optics Letters  Volume: 37, 4961-4963 (2012).
  41. “Finite-element modeling of coupled optical microdisk resonators for displacement sensing,” I. S. Grudinin, N. Yu, Journal Of The Optical Society Of America B-Optical Physics, Volume: 29, 3010-3014 (2012).
  42. “A compact high-efficiency cold atom beam source,” J. R. Kellogg, D. Schlippert, J. M. Kohel, and N. Yu, Applied Physics B-Lasers And Optics, Volume: 19, 61-64, (2012).
  43. “High-Q UV whispering gallery mode resonators made of angle-cut BBO crystals,” G. Lin, J. Fuerst, D. V. Strekalov, Dmitry, and N. Yu, Optics Express, Volume: 20, 21372-21378 (2012).
  44. “Focused ion beam engineered whispering gallery mode resonators with open cavity structure,” D. C. Aveline, L. Baumgartel, B. Ahn, and N. Yu, OPTICS EXPRESS  Volume: 20,18091-18096   (2012).
  45. “Frequency stability of a dual-mode whispering gallery mode optical reference cavity,” L. M. Baumgartel,  R. J. Thompson, and N. Yu, OPTICS EXPRESS Vol. 20, p29798 (2012).
  46. “Frequency comb from a microresonator with engineered spectrum,” I. S. Grudinin, L. V. Baumgartel, and N. Yu, Optics Express, Vol. 20 Issue 6, pp.6604-6609 (2012).
  47. “Temperature measurement and stabilization in a birefringent whispering gallery resonator,” D.V. Strekalov, R.J. Thompson, L.M. Baumgartel, I.S. Grudinin, and N. Yu, arXiv:1105.6350; Opt. Express. Vol. 19, No. 15, p14495 (2011).
Nan Yu
4800 Oak Grove Dr.
Pasadena, CA 91109
Phone: 818.354.4093
Fax Number: 818.393.6773