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The 2007 Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics

Awarded January 5, 2007, at the 37th Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics.

Sunney Xie, Harvard University

For pioneering contributions to CARS microscopy.


Professor X. Sunney Xie was born in Beijing, China, in 1962. He received a B.S. in chemistry from Peking University in 1984. He then came to United States and earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1990 from the University of California at San Diego, working in the laboratory of Professor John Simon. There, he developed picosecond time resolved circular dichoism spectroscopy for the study of ultrafast conformational motions of biomoleucles. Xie then conducted postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Professor Graham Fleming at the University of Chicago, where he developed a femtosecond up-conversion technique for time resolved fluorescence study of ultrafast energy transfer and electron transfer processes in photosynthesis.

In 1992, Xie joined the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), where he later became a Chief Scientist. His group at PNNL made advances on near-field optical microscopy, and was one of the first to pioneer fluorescence studies of single molecules at room temperature in early 1990s. In 1999, he was appointed by Harvard University as a Professor of Chemistry.

Working at the interface of physics, chemistry and biology, Professor Xie has ventured into several new research areas since the start of his independent career. He has made major contributions in single-molecule spectroscopy, single-molecule enzymology, protein conformational dynamics, and single-molecule live cell imaging of gene expression. Xie and his colleagues also pioneered the development and application of coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) microscopy, which allows imaging of live cells and tissues based on vibrational spectroscopy with high sensitivity. His work has not only brought about technological innovations but also addressed fundamental and compelling scientific issues.

Professor Xie has coauthored over 110 research papers and holds three US patents. He received the 1996 Coblentz award, the 2003 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences, and the 2004 NIH Director’s Pioneer Award. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Fellow of Biophysical Society.

Bio provided by Prof. Xie, 2007.

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