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Zubin Jacob

Young Alumni Achiever
Associate Professor, ECE, Purdue University
B. Tech., Electrical Engineering, 2004

Prof. Zubin Jacob is an Associate Professor at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University in USA. He obtained his B. Tech. in Electrical Engineering  from  IIT  Bombay  in 2004, Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (M.S.E.E.) degree from Princeton University in 2007, and Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue University in 2010.

Prof. Jacob and collaborators pioneered the research area of hyperbolic photonic metamaterials. These are a special class of photonic media which  control  the propagation of light in ways beyond the ability of conventional materials. During his Ph.D. (2004- 10), Prof. Jacob and collaborators proposed the concept of the Optical Hyperlens, a metamaterial device that breaks the diffraction limit for super-resolution imaging. His original hyperlens paper ranks as the 6th most cited paper in the 20 year history of Optics Express, out of more than 30,000 articles. He has also led international multi-university experimental teams to demonstrate proof-of- concept devices in the CMOS photonics foundry platform. The framework introduced by Jacob and collaborators is widely used today for designing new materials and devices far beyond optics in the THz, microwave and infrared frequency ranges.  

His group’s research focus has been in the area of thermal radiation engineering and photon spin/ topology. His team demonstrated high temperature metamaterials paving the road for applications such as thermal energy conversion. On the fundamental theory front, his team has predicted the existence of a new phase of matter that arises from topology of photons. Jacob’s group works in the science of light-matter interaction pushing the fundamental performance limits of photonic devices such as detectors, sensors, microscopes and waveguides. The problems they choose to work on are motivated by the quest for a deeper understanding of photons (particles of light) as well as disruptive engineering applications. Over the years, his team has made many theoretical predictions which have motivated experiments worldwide at the photonic device level. Prof. Jacob was featured in the list of Top 100k researchers for career long impact out of ~6M active, living researchers across 22 different fields created by the Metric Institute at Stanford University. He served on the editorial board of Journal of Optics and Scientific Reports during 2016-18 and was the technical committee chair for nanophotonics at the IEEE Photonics meeting 2018 and OSA CLEO 2019-20. Prof. Jacob has received ‘US National Science Foundation CAREER Award’ in 2017, ‘US Defense Advanced Research Programs Agency (DARPA) Director’s Fellowship 2019’, ‘DARPA Young Faculty Award’ in 2017, and ‘Dmitri N. Chorafas Best Ph.D. Dissertation Prize’ in 2010.

Mantra for Success:

“Try to discover the intersection between three things: what you enjoy doing, what you are good at and what the world really cares about. It takes some time but if you are focused, you will surely find it and success will follow.”

Special Memories Associated with IIT Bombay:

“I have fond memories of working with Prof. R. K. Shevgaonkar over many years, Prof. D. Goswami (TIFR) for my summer internship and also long inspiring conversations with Prof. Srinivasan. My hostel mates and EE batchmates made sure every day spent in IIT Bombay was memorable. IIT Bombay is where I realized that my love for music and science have a lot in common. I learnt a lot about valuing relationships and the importance of meaningful pursuits through the time spent with my band – FFF.”