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Zaijun Chen

Research Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering


  • Doctoral Degree, Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics


Zaijun Chen received his Ph.D. in Physics with the highest distinction from the Max-Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in 2019, for his work on frequency-comb based precision metrology and optical sensing. Before joining USC, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Quantum Photonics Group at MIT, where he developed photonic AI accelerators and neuromorphic devices.

He is a recipient of the 2023 Optica Foundation Challenge Award, the 2023 SPIE Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Award, the OECC/PSC 2022 Best Paper Award, the 2022 Sony Faculty Award, and the 2018 Rao Prize for the best student talk at the international symposium of molecular spectroscopy. He serves on the Early Career Editorial Board for Advanced Photonics. He is a principle investigator leading a DARPA founded project.

Research Summary

Dr. Chen's research group of “Intelligent and Quantum Photonics” works on photonic-chip-based integrated circuits for ultralow-energy analog computing, hardware for AI/ML acceleration, interconnects and distributed computing systems, AI-assisted and quantum-enhanced sensing and metrology. His current research interests include optical neural networks, clolud/edge computing, precision optical metrology for molecular sensing, light detection and ranging (Lidar), volumetric imaging.


  • 2023 Optica Foundation Challenge Award
  • 2023 SPIE Award for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  • 2022 Sony faculty research Award
  • 2022 OECC/PSC Best Paper Award
  • 2019 Highest distinction for the Doctoral Degree, LMU Munich
  • 2018 Rao Prize at the International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy
  • Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering - Electrophysics
  • PHE 512
  • Charles Lee Powell Hall
  • 3737 Watt Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089
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