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Mikael C. Rechtsman

Professor of Physics, Associate Head for Research
Mikael C. Rechtsman


  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (S.B. Physics, 2003)
  2. Princeton University (Ph.D. Physics, 2008)

Honors and Awards

  • Penn State Faculty Scholar Award
  • Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher Award (2021, 2022, 2023) 
  • ICO Prize of the International Commission for Optics 
  • Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award 
  • Downsbrough Early Career Professorship
  • Packard Fellowship
  • Kaufman Foundation New Investigator Grant
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship
  • Kavli Fellowship of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Fine postdoctoral fellowship
  • Azrieli postdoctoral fellowship
  • Ray Grimm computational physics award
  • NSERC graduate fellowship

Selected Publications

Quantized fractional Thouless pumping of solitons, Jürgensen, Marius, Sebabrata Mukherjee, Christina Jörg, and Mikael C. Rechtsman, Nature Physics, 19.3, 420-426 (2023).

Quantized nonlinear Thouless pumping, Marius Jürgensen, Sebabrata Mukherjee, and Mikael C. Rechtsman, Nature, 596.7870, 63-67 (2021).

Observation of Floquet solitons in a topological bandgap, Sebabrata Mukherjee, and Mikael C. Rechtsman, Science, 368.6493, 856-859 (2020).

Broadband topological slow light through higher momentum-space winding, Jonathan Guglielmon, and Mikael C. Rechtsman. Physical Review Letters 122.15, 153904 (2019).

Topological protection of photonic mid-gap defect modes, Jiho Noh, Wladimir A. Benalcazar, Sheng Huang, Matthew J. Collins, Kevin P. Chen, Taylor L. Hughes, and Mikael C. Rechtsman, Nature Photonics 12, 7, 408-415 (2018).

Photonic Floquet topological insulators, Mikael C. Rechtsman, Julia M. Zeuner, Yonatan Plotnik, Yaakov Lumer, Daniel Podolsky, Felix Dreisow, Stefan Nolte, Mordechai Segev, and Alexander Szameit, Nature, 496, 196-200 (2013).

Research Interests

Photonics experiment and theory: my group explores the linear, nonlinear, and quantum optics of complex photonic structures.  One example is the new field of topological photonics - we showed that light could be protected from scattering in a photonic crystal structure much as electrons are in a solid-state topological insulator (Rechtsman et al., Nature 496, 196-200 (2013)).  What are the device implications for this robustness of photon transport?  Can we topologically protect photonic quantum information?  Can we use these ideas to bulid tiny optical diodes?  How will photon interactions (nonlinearity) alter topological effects?