Subscribe to our Newsletter



PSE New Faculty: Qiaoqiang Gan

20 April, 2022

New faculty member Qiaoqiang Gan identifies KAUST as an ideal environment to further develop his research on the use of photonic energy materials to sustainably cool water. Gan, a professor of material science and engineering based in the Physical Science and Engineering Division, is also keen to pursue his lifelong dream of developing new technologies and applications with the ability to “change people’s daily life.” 

The applied physicist brings with him a wealth of experience in developing applications based on nanophotonic structures and devices. He joined KAUST from the University at Buffalo (UB), State University of New York, U.S., where he held a full professor position within the UB Department of Electrical Engineering.

Gan received his bachelor's degree ('03) from Fudan University, China, and his master's degree ('06) in nano-photonics from the Institute of Semiconductors, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China. He obtained his Ph.D. degree ('10) from Lehigh University, U.S.

A research drive unencumbered by traditional boundaries 

Although his background is in photonics and semiconductor materials, Gan’s current research is more closely linked to thermal management, energy and environmental sustainability, and bioengineering. His work is not limited by conventional boundaries or the belief that research and entrepreneur efforts can be "carefully" planned: "I enjoy exploring unknown areas and topics; I have a general vision, and I always remain open to new ideas." 

Gan's current research is focused on applying nanomaterial and structure processing and engineering to study fundamental light-matter interaction in extreme dimensions, developing advanced manufacturing methods, and demonstrating the applications of these unique optical phenomena in biomedical sensing, energy, and environmental sustainability.

His research group at KAUST aims to bridge the gaps between fundamental investigation, application development, and technology transfer. While at KAUST, he hopes to explore new in-Kingdom opportunities for his startup company, Sunny Clean Water Inc. Founded in 2017, the company's primary goal is to provide clean, safe, and reliable water across the world thus ending potential water crises in a simple, affordable way.

“At KAUST, my group is developing solar water purification and electricity-free cooling 
technologies that can be easily implemented to address global water, energy, and food challenges.

“Water scarcity and addressing potential energy crises are two essential areas and key interests that Saudi Arabia wants to explore and tackle. As these are also critical global challenges many other countries face, my group endeavors through our research to alleviate these issues on a global scale,” he concluded.