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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr Chen’s research is dedicated to the development of novel optical metamaterials and their applications in invisibility cloaking, imaging, information processing, light harvesting, biomedical sensing and nanofabrication. Metamaterials are man-made materials which have unusual electromagnetic properties that cannot be found in nature or their constituent components, thus providing more freedom to control electromagnetic waves. His research enables the discovery of new phenomena and the development of novel prototype devices, which might be essential for future technologies.

He has been involved in nanophotonics, plasmonics, metamaterials, surface plasmon resonance biosensors, nanodevice fabrication and optical measurement system for the characterization of plasmonic devices. His recent work includes the realization of dual-polarity plasmonic metalens in the visible range, broadband vortex beam generator, helicity dependent directional surface plasmon polariton excitation and 3D optical holography using a metasurface, and the development of a macroscopic invisibility cloak for visible light based on transformation optics.


Dr Xianzhong Chen is a lecturer in metamaterials at Heriot-Watt University. He received his PhD from the Institute of Optics & Electronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2004 and worked there for two years. Prior to joining Heriot-Watt, he was a research fellow in Prof. Shuang Zhang’s group (2010-2013) and Prof. Kyle Jiang’s group (2007-2010) in the University of Birmingham (UB). He also worked as a visiting scholar (2005-2006) in the Nanoscale Physics Research Laboratory (UB).

Dr Chen’s recent work includes the development of metadevices using plasmonic metasurfaces and surface plasmon resonance biosensor chips as well as the realization of macroscopic invisibility cloaking of visible light. He has published over 40 research papers in journals including Nature Communications, Nano Letters, Advanced Optical Materials, Optics Express and Nanotechnology. He obtained the Innovation Award for Young Researchers from the Institute of Optics & Electronics in 2005. His recent work has been selected as one of the "top 10 breakthroughs for 2010" by Physics World, "top 100 stories in 2011" by Discover Magazine, and received wide media coverage including BBC News, Telegraph, Channel 4, ITV, Guardian, Fox News, USA Today and MSNBC.  

Roles & Responsibilities

He is an editorial member of Journal of Biosensors & Bioelectronics and a member of American Nano Society (ANS). He also serves as a referee for ten journals including Scientific Reports, Optics Express, Applied Physics, Applied Optics, Nanotechnology and Sensors and Actuators B.

Press Profile


  • QC Physics
  • metamaterials
  • plasmonics
  • nanophotonics
  • surface plasmon resonance
  • biomedical sensing
  • Nanotechnology
  • nanofabrication

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Xianzhong Chen is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

polarization Physics & Astronomy
manipulators Physics & Astronomy
lenses Physics & Astronomy
profiles Physics & Astronomy
light beams Physics & Astronomy
holography Physics & Astronomy
polarized light Physics & Astronomy
nanorods Physics & Astronomy

Co Author Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2011 2020

Recent advances in optical metasurfaces for polarization detection and engineered polarization profiles

Intaravanne, Y. & Chen, X., 18 Jan 2020, (Accepted/In press) In : Nanophotonics.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
light beams
2 Downloads (Pure)

A Multi‐Foci Metalens with Polarization‐Rotated Focal Points

Zang, X., Ding, H., Intaravanne, Y., Chen, L., Peng, Y., Xie, J., Ke, Q., Balakin, A. V., Shkurinov, A. P., Chen, X., Zhu, Y. & Zhuang, S., Dec 2019, In : Laser and Photonics Reviews. 13, 12, 1900182.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Imaging techniques
Light propagation
Light polarization
7 Downloads (Pure)

Flat optics and ultrathin optical devices with unusual functionalities

Chen, X., 16 Oct 2019, Emerging Imaging and Sensing Technologies for Security and Defence IV. Buller, G. S., Hollins, R. C., Lamb, R. A. & Laurenzis, M. (eds.). SPIE, (Proceedings of SPIE; vol. 11163).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Open Access
systems integration
27 Downloads (Pure)

Metasurface generated polarization insensitive Fano resonance for high-performance refractive index sensing

Liu, H., Zheng, L., Ma, P., Zhong, Y., Liu, B., Chen, X. & Liu, H., 29 Apr 2019, In : Optics Express. 27, 9, p. 13252-13262 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
figure of merit
3 Downloads (Pure)

Metasurface Hologram for Multi-Image Hiding and Seeking

Zhao, H., Zhang, C., Guo, J., Liu, S., Chen, X. & Zhang, Y., 5 Nov 2019, In : Physical Review Applied. 12, 5, 054011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
slot antennas
circular polarization