Prof. LAU Kei May Elected to the US National Academy of Engineering

he Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Prof. LAU Kei May, Professor Emerita of the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering and Research Professor of the Division of Emerging Interdisciplinary Areas, has been elected as a member of the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE), one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer, the organization points out.

Prof. Lau was elected to the NAE in recognition of “her contributions to photonics and electronics based on III-V semiconductors on silicon”. She is the only Hong Kong scholar newly elected to the NAE this year, among a total of 114 new members and 21 international members. As one of the few world-renowned researchers in the electronics and optoelectronics technology sector, her research breakthroughs achieved throughout her career make her one of the few NAE members from Hong Kong, highlighting the world-class research led by her at HKUST earning accolades from esteemed peers worldwide. 

The NAE's membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice or education - including significant contributions to the engineering literature”, and to the “pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing / implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.”

“I am deeply honored to have been elected to the US National Academy of Engineering,” said Prof. Lau. “This prestigious membership not only acknowledges my contributions to semiconductor materials and device but also opens more doors to connect researchers from my HKUST lab with esteemed leaders in the engineering profession, to push the boundaries of innovation and make a lasting impact on the field. HKUST’s unwavering commitment to encourage and empower researchers has played a pivotal role in my achievements during the past two decades. I am particularly grateful that many of my students and researchers are now carrying on the torch at universities, research institutions, and industry around the world.”

President Prof. Nancy IP was delighted with the news, “We extend our warmest congratulations to Prof. Lau on her election to the US National Academy of Engineering. This prestigious recognition is a testament to her outstanding contributions to the fields of photonics and electronics, as well as her exceptional dedication to research and innovation. Prof. Lau's groundbreaking research and her role as a trailblazer in her fields have brought immense pride to HKUST.  We hope her remarkable accomplishments will ignite a spark of inspiration for the young generation in Hong Kong to pursue excellence in science and engineering.” 

Prof. Lau was born and raised in Hong Kong, with her K-12 education at the Pui Ching Primary School and Middle School. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from the University of Minnesota, and a PhD degree in electrical engineering from Rice University. Her HKUST journey began in 1998 when she came to the University as a visiting professor while serving as a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. She joined HKUST’s regular faculty two years later and established the Photonics Technology Center. 

Over her tenure at HKUST spanning more than twenty years, Prof. Lau has dedicated to pursuing innovation and breakthroughs. She has worked on LED research and has revolutionized display technologies as her team developed and kick-started commercialization of monolithic micro-LED micro-displays that attracted tremendous attention in recent years as a promising technology to establish user interface for wearable/portable electronic devices such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) displays, portable projectors, and smart phones. 

Prof. Lau is also well-known for her work on integrating high-performance III-V compound devices onto industry-standard silicon substrates using Metalorganic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD). Her work has not only represented a significant milestone in the development of technologies critical to present-day energy-efficient and high-performance photonics and electronics, but also had a prominent impact on current high-speed and low power optoelectronic devices for ubiquitous internet communication.

She has also garnered numerous awards and distinctions over the years. She is a recipient of the IPRM award, IET J. J. Thomson Medal for Electronics, Optica Nick Holonyak Jr. Award, IEEE Photonics Society Aron Kressel Award, US National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Award for Women Scientists and Engineers, and Hong Kong Croucher Senior Research Fellowship. Prof. Lau is also a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Optica, and the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences (HKAES).

The National Academy of Engineering is a non-profit institution founded in 1964 which provides engineering leadership in service to the United States. It currently has 2,310 peer-elected members and 332 international members, who are among the world's most accomplished engineers in business, academia and government.


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