​​Professor Zhigang Chen's research focuses on the interdisciplinary fields of nonlinear optics, biophotonics (combining biology, optics, and photonics), and material sciences.

Dr. Chen's ongoing research includes using optical beams to control or guide microparticles, biological samples, surface electromagnetic waves, and electric discharges. He has even developed photonic structures that mimic the behavior of graphene. This research is unique because it applies fundamental science beyond the field of optics and photonics.

This wide-ranging application integrates the expertise of a diverse team of faculty and students in physics, chemistry, biology, and environmental science. This core team develops active collaborations with world-renowned experts in the field of optics and photonics.​

"I spent more than six years in Professor Zhigang Chen's optics research laboratory," says Anna Bezryadina, now a postdoctoral fellow at UC San Diego. "Professor Chen is really like my 'scientific father,' and the experience and accomplishment I gained while working with him simply transformed my entire career."