Michal Lipson


1006 CEPSR 
Mail Code 8903

Tel(212) 854-3105
Fax(212) 854-1909

Michal Lipson’s research focuses on areas where nanophotonics has a big impact, both fundamentally and technologically. Lipson and her lab’s main topics of research include novel photonic materials and fabrication, silicon photonics and non-reciprocity, nano-magnetism and thermal control, nanophotonics for neuroscience, optomechanics, nonlinear and quantum optics, and sensing and optofluidics. Silicon photonics – presentation, or all-optical control of light on a silicon chip, is one of the very few areas in physics ever to be adopted in industry within less than 10 years of its conception.

Research Interests

Nanophotonics, Optics, Silicon Photonics.

In silicon photonics, Lipson and her lab they showed that enormous bandwidth can be transferred in waveguides using new, ultrahigh speed nanophotonic modulators with low power. This has tremendous applications in data communications where ultrahigh bandwidth data could be moved on-chip with low power pumping, enabling, for example, future supercomputers on-chip.

In optomechanics, they have shown that two nanophotonic cavities placed far away from each other can synchronize; not only their optical properties, but also their mechanical properties, can be drastically changed. This enables completely new communication schemes where one device can be controlled by another that could be miles away.

All of the different research areas are strongly interrelated.  For example, in the new photonic materials and fabrication area, her lab’s demonstration of gray scale lithography enabled the demonstration of new structures in the optomechanics area. In the nonlinear photonics area, their demonstration of comb generation enabled a new on-chip light source in the silicon photonics area. Further, their research interests are constantly evolving to keep up with important trends, and so they always look to extend their expertise into new areas such as imaging of the brain and optical non-reciprocity.

Michal Lipson joined the Electrical Engineering faculty at Columbia University in July 2015. She completed her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Physics at the Technion in 1998 followed by a Postdoctoral position at MIT in the Materials Science Department until 2001. In 2001 she joined the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University. She was named Cornell Given Foundation Professor of Engineering in 2013.

Lipson is one of the main pioneers in the field of silicon photonics and is the inventor of several of the critical building blocks in the field, including the GHz silicon modulator. She holds over 20 patents and is the author of over 200 technical papers.  She has held several leadership positions in the scientific community, including member of the IEEE Photonics society board of directors.  She has co-organized numerous symposia and sessions in OSA (The Optical Society) conferences. She chaired and served on numerous committees including the Micro and Nanophotonics Subcommittee of CLEO (Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics), which she chaired 2006-2009. She has served as a topical editor (integrated photonics) for Optics Letters and served as a guest editor for IEEE Journal of Selected Topics of Electronics. She currently serves on the board of directors for two international photonics centers, two start-up companies, and on the Rice ECE Advancement Committee. She is a co-founder of PicoLuz, a company specializing in nonlinear silicon photonic components.

Professor Lipson’s honors and awards include the MacArthur Fellow, Blavatnik Award, IBM Faculty Award, R. W. Wood Prize, the NSF Early Career Award, and the 2019 IEEE Photonics Award. She is a fellow of OSA and IEEE. Since 2014, she has been named top 1% most cited by Thomson Reuter Award.


  • Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Ph.D., Physics, 1998


  • Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering, Columbia University, School of Electrical Engineering, Columbia Nano Initiative, 2015-present
  • Given Professor of Engineering, Cornell University, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2013-2015
  • Associate Professor, Cornell University, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2007-2013
  • Assistant Professor, Cornell University, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2001 – 2007
  • Postdoctoral Associate, MIT, Department of Material Science, 1999 – 2001


  • Advisory Board Member, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at Rice University (2013- )
  • Scientific Board Member, the New York Academy of Sciences Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists (2013- )
  • Co-Founder and Board Member, PicoLuz, Inc. (2009- )
  • Board Member, CRANN Nanoscience Institute, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (2012- )


  • Elected to National Academy of Sciences, 2019
  • Comstock Prize in Physics
  • 2019 IEEE Photonics Award
  • R. W. Wood Prize, 2017
  • Thomson-Reuter, top 1% most highly cited researcher in Physics every year since 2014
  • IEEE Fellow, 2013
  • MacArthur Fellow, 2010
  • Blavatnik Award, NY State Academy of Science, 2010
  • Optical Society of America (OSA) Fellow, 2007
  • Fulbright Fellowship, 2007
  • IBM Faculty Award, 2006
  • NSF CAREER Award, 2004


  • Vilson R. Almeida, Roberto R. Panepucci, and Michal Lipson, "Nanotaper for compact mode conversion," Opt. Lett. 28, 1302-1304 (2003)
  • Vilson R. Almeida and Michal Lipson, "Optical bistability on a silicon chip," Opt. Lett. 29, 2387-2389 (2004)
  • Qianfan Xu, Vilson R. Almeida, Roberto R. Panepucci, and Michal Lipson, "Experimental demonstration of guiding and confining light in nanometer-size low-refractive-index material," Opt. Lett. 29, 1626-1628 (2004)
  • Luke, K., Dutt, A., Poitras, C.B. and Lipson, M., “Overcoming Si3N4 film stress limitations for high quality factor ring resonators”, Opt. Express 21, 22829 (2013)
  • M. Yu, Y. Okawachi, A. G. Griffith, M. Lipson, and A. L. Gaeta, "Chip-Based Tunable Direct Comb Spectroscopy," in Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, OSA Technical Digest (online) Optical Society of America, (2017)
  • Yu, M., Jang, J. K., Okawachi, Y., Griffith, A. G., Luke, K., Miller, S. Ji, X., Lipson, M., and Gaeta, A. L. “Breather Soliton Dynamics in Microresonators.” Nature Communications 8 (2017)
  • Mohanty, Aseema, Zhang,Mian, Dutt, Avik, Ramelow, Sven, Nuseenzveig, Paulo and Lipson, Michal., “Quantum interference between transverse spatial waveguide modes” Nat. Commun. 8, 14010 doi: 10.1038/ncomms14010 (2017)
  • Klenner, Alexander, Aline S. Mayer, Adrea R. Johnson, Kevin Luke, Michael R. E. Lamont, Yoshitomo Okawachi, Michal Lipson, Alexander L. Gaeta, and Ursula Keller. “Gigahertz frequency comb offset stabilization based on supercontinuum generation in silicon nitride waveguides.” Opt. Express 24 (2016)
  • Griffith, M. Yu, Y. Okawachi, J. Cardenas, A. Mohanty, A. Gaeta, and M. Lipson, “coherent mid-infrared frequency combs in siliscon-microresonators in the presence of Raman effects,” Opt. Express 24, 13044-13050 (2016)
  • Joshi, J. Jang, K.Luke, X. Ji, S. Miller, A. Klenner, Y. Okawachi, M. Lipson, and A. Gaeta, “Thermally controlled comb generation and soliton modelocking in microresonators,” Opt. Lett. 41, 2562-2568 (2016)

Personal Affiliations

  • Scientific Board Member, The Quantum Valley Ideas Lab (QVIL), Waterloo, CA (2018- )
  • Elected Board Member, Optical Society of America, (2016- )