Dr. Chenni Xu received her BSc in physics in 2017 and her PhD in optics under the supervision of Prof. Li-Gang Wang, both at Zhejiang University in China. In 2019, she was awarded the “Sandwich Doctoral Scholarship” funded by the Israeli Council for Higher Education at Bar-Ilan University and joined Prof. Patrick Sebbah’s group for a year. She is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher with Prof. Patrick Sebbah at Bar-Ilan University as part of the IASH CHE Excellence Fellowship Program.
Dr. Xu’s dissertation mainly focused on the dynamics of light in curved geometries. As an analog model of cosmological curved spacetime, curved surfaces are an intuitive platform to emulate faint gravitational effects in a laboratory. The exotic light behavior also reciprocally promotes the design of new optical cavities and photonic devices. Dr. Xu introduced a new framework for studying light propagation on curved surfaces. She investigated fundamental optical phenomena including the spectral shift of partially coherent light and phase shift, and revealed the effects of spatial curvature. Dr. Xu also explored chaotic light dynamics in billiards built on curved surfaces, by means of their conformally mapped gradient-index planar counterparts inspired by transformation optics. She proposed an approach to switch off deterministic chaos and engineer ray trajectories in chaotic optical cavities.
In her postdoctoral research at Bar-Ilan University, Dr. Xu is exploring, both theoretically and experimentally, lasing in non-Euclidean geometries and gradient-index microcavities, curved spacetime with elastic plates, time-modulated curved surfaces and spacetime metamaterials. She aims to bring the ideas she initiated during her PhD into the real world by developing experimental realizations and exploring potential applications.