Chang-Hasnain, Connie
Professor, TBSI Co-Director, Co-Director (Center)
  • DIVISON: Data Science and Information Technology Research Center (TBSI)
  • EMAIL: cch@ PHONE: (650) 799-7355

Positions and Organizations

Associate Dean for Strategic Alliances, College of Engineering

Whinnery Distinguished Chair Professor, EECS

Co-Director, Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute

Chief Academic Officer, Berkeley Education Alliance for Research in Singapore

University of California, Berkeley

Doctorate: PhD, UC Berkeley 1987)

Brief Biography

1982     B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Univ.  of California, Davis

1984     M.S. in EECS, UC Berkeley

1987     Ph.D. in EECS, UC Berkeley

1987-1992 Member of Technical Staff, Bell Communications Research (Bellcore)

1992-1996  Assistant,  Associate Professor of EE, Stanford University

1996 -   Professor, EECS; Chair, Nanoscale Science and Engineering Graduate Group; Associate Dean, College of Engineering, UCB

1998-2000   Co-founder, initial CEO, CTO, Chairman, Bandwidth9 Inc.

2010-   Co-founder, Chief Scientist, Bandwidth10 Inc.

2015-   Founding Co-Director, Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute

Present    Whinnery Distinguished Chair Professor of EECS, Associate Dean, College of Engineering, UCB


Member of National Academy of Engineering, Fellow Optical Society of America (OSA), IEEE and IEE


Main Awards and Honors

1992   Outstanding Young Electrical Engineer Award, Eta Kappa Nu Honor Electrical Engineer Society 

1992     National Science Foundation National Young Investigator Award

1992     Packard Fellow, David and Lucile Packard Foundation,

1993    Young Alumnus of the Year, UC Davis

1994     Alfred P Sloan Research Fellow

1994     Presidential Faculty Fellow, White House

2003   IEEE William Streifer Scientific Achievement Award

2005    National Academy of Engineering Gilbreth Lecturer

2005    Honorary Member, A F Ioffe Institute, Russia

2007   OSA Nick Holonyak Jr Award

2008    DoD Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship

2009    Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship

2009    Humboldt Research Award, Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung Foundation

2009    Microoptics Award, Microoptics Conference (MOC), The Japan Society of Applied Physics

2011   IEEE David Sarnoff Award

2013    Outstanding Research Award, Pan Wen Yuan Education Foundation

2014    Quantum Device Award, International Symposium on Compound Semiconductor,

2015    UNESCO Medal For the Development of Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies

2018  Member of National Academy of Engineering


Main Achievements

Dr. Chang-Hasnain received her B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of California, Davis in 1982 and her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1987. Upon graduation, she joined Bell Communications Research as was a Member of the Technical Staff 1987–1992. She was Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University 1992–1995 and became Associate Professor in September 1995. In January 1996, she returned to Berkeley as Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. She became Whinnery Distinguished Chair Professor since 2006 and served as Chair of the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Graduate Group at UC Berkeley 2006-2017. Prof. Chang-Hasnain has been the Associate Dean for Strategic Alliances of College of Engineering since 2014.  She co-founded the Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute (TBSI) in 2015 and has served as Co-Director since.  She is an Honorary Member of A.F. Ioffe Institute; a Chang Jiang Scholar Endowed Chair at Tsinghua University; and a Visiting Professor of Peking University, National Jiao Tung University and National University of Singapore.

Over the past three decades, Dr. Chang-Hasnain made seminal contributions to the physics, design, materials and applications of Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSELs) that help establish VCSELs as the dominant technology for multimode fiber applications, optical coherent tomography, and 3D sensing. 

Dr. Chang-Hasnain began to work on VCSELs and laser arrays in 1988 during the infancy of VCSEL photonics.  She published the first comprehensive theoretical and experimental studies on VCSEL modal properties, which provided VCSEL design guidelines. She suggested the first planar VCSEL structure using proton implantation for high performance array fabrication with Gbps modulation. This design became part of industry standard for VCSEL fabrication. In addition, she published the first Gbps multi-mode (MM) VCSEL transmission using MM fiber, which became the dominant commercialized transmitter for datacenter communications. 

On VCSEL arrays, Dr. Chang-Hasnain contributed many original concepts. She showed that VCSELs can be used for wavelength-division multiplexing applications with the first demonstration of 140-wavelength VCSEL array.  She pioneered the first 940-nm wavelength, 1000-elecment VCSEL arrays for 3D sensing in 1998. These work led the way for the optical fiber short-wave division multiplexing (SWDM) systems and optical projectors in facial recognition applications.

Dr. Chang-Hasnain’s invention and integration of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) and photonic systems created a new class of optoelectronic devices.  The ability to continuously tune the frequency of an oscillator is critical importance and is a fundamental building block for many systems.  This very important basic function has been very challenging for lasers.  Prof. Chang-Hasnain invented MEMS-VCSEL as a widely wavelength tunable and sweptable laser in 1994.  By making one of the mirrors in a vertical cavity into a movable arm, the laser wavelength can be continuously swept.  The MEMS-VCSEL is the only wavelength-tunable laser design that can provide simultaneously a fast sweep rate over a wide range.  Such characteristic enables swept-source coherent optical tomography (SS-OCT), leading to high-resolution over a larger field of view and makes possible observations of features that were not attainable otherwise. The impact of this body of work can be seen in a vast number of applications today, including SS-OCT for ophthalmology, dermatology, cardiology, and gastroenterology; wavelength division multiplexed (WDM) datacenter fiber communications; biomedical and pharmaceutical analysis, and sensing applications.

Dr. Chang-Hasnain invented a new class of flat, ultra-thin optics using near-wavelength gratings, referred as high-contrast gratings (HCG) or high contrast metastructures (HCM), in 2003.  This seemingly simple structure lends itself to extraordinary properties, which can be designed top-down based for integrated optics on a silicon substrate.  The extraordinary features include an ultra broadband high reflectivity reflector, a high quality-factor resonator and phase control elements.  Using HCG to replace the traditional distributed Bragg reflector on a VCSEL, Dr. Chang-Hasnain greatly improved MEMS-VCSEL sweep range and speed, and demonstrated a continuously tunable, directly modulated tunable 1550-nm VCSEL for datacenter network, LIDAR (3D imaging) and fiber-to-the-home applications. 

Recently, Dr. Chang-Hasnain has expanded HCM towards many other flat optics applications, including optical lens, beam dividers, surface-normal optical modulator, optical biosensor, optical beam scanner, optical frequency multiplier, hologram etc.  Most recently, Chang-Hasnain demonstrated a thin-HCM-film that can be made to change color on demand by simply applying a minute amount of force, referred as artificial chameleon-skin.  It offers intriguing possibilities for new display technologies, color-shifting camouflage, and sensors. The field of HCG has seen rapid advances in both experimental demonstrations and theoretical results. Prof. Chang-Hasnain founded a new conference on this topic since 2012, which is held annually at SPIE Photonics West.

Dr. Chang-Hasnain has been an active volunteer and has served different positions in Optical Society of America (OSA), IEEE Photonics Society and SPIE. She chaired many professional conferences including the Microoptics Conference 2016. She was the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE/OSA Journal of Lightwave (2007-2012), elected Director-at-Large on the OSA Board of Directors (1998-2000), and member of the OSA Centennial Advisory Panel (2014-2016).  She was a member of the US Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, IEEE Photonics Society Board of Governors and the US National Research Council’s Board on Assessment of NIST Programs, Study on Optics and Photonics, and US Advisory Committee to the International Commission on Optics.

For pioneering research and development of VCSEL photonics through  inventions and advances of their novel functions for optical communications and optical sensing.