Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics (WNLO) is co-founded by the Ministry of Education (MoE) of People’s Republic of China, Hubei Provincial Government and Wuhan Municipal Government. It is one of the initial five national laboratories authorized in November 2003 by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) of People’s Republic of China. The feasibility plan for its construction was approved by MoST in November 2006. The laboratory is managed by Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in collaboration with Wuhan Research Institute of Posts and Telecommunications (WRI), Wuhan Institute of Physics and Mathematics (WIPM) affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and Huazhong Institute of Electro-Optics (HIEO).
WNLO consists of a research park (about 40000m2 in area) and a multi-building complex (about 48000m2 in area), and is organizationally structured with six divisions of fundamental research. These divisions encompass the following six research fields respectively: (1) Biomedical Photonics, (2) Information Storage and Optical Display, (3) Laser and Tera-Hertz Technology, (4) Optoelectronic Devices and Integration, (5) Optoelectronic Detection and Radiation, and (6) Photonics for Energy. WNLO has provided 400 million RMB for the construction of twelve major research facilities and one public optoelectronics test center to perform basic scientific research and engineering development in the fields of optics and photonics, meeting the national strategic requirements in these fields.
WNLO employs 110 full-time and 220 part-time faculty members, including 5 academicians from home and abroad, 3 chief scientists of the National Basic Research Program of China(also known as the 973 Program), 10 experts recruited in the One-thousand Talents Program by the Department of Organization of the CPC (Communist Party of China),4 talents recruited in the Youth One-thousand Talents Program,13 Cheung Kong Scholars(including 8 distinguished scholars and 5 chaired scholars) appointed by MoE, 7 winners of the National Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars, 5 recruited in the CAS "Hundred Talents Program", 28 listed in the “Cross/New Century Outstanding Talents in University” of MoE and 72 adjunct researchers from all over the world. Many of the research groups of WNLO are distinguished with various honors and titles, including one Creative Research Team of National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), two MoE Innovation Teams and two Hubei Provincial Innovation Teams. Furthermore, WNLO boasts an overseas academic team that consists of Members of National Academy of Sciences of US and Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and Fellows of the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering. Supervised by such an outstanding faculty, more than 1000 graduate students pursue Masters and Ph.D. degrees and conduct research in this laboratory.
WNLO have co-constructed 4 first-level disciplines with HUST, including Optical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Electronic Science and Technology and Computer Science and Technology. WNLO also supports the construction and development of such disciplines as Physics, Chemistry and Material Science and Engineering. In the 2012 national assessment of discipline, “Optical Engineering” ranked the first (tied) and “Biomedical Engineering” ranked the third (tied).
Between 2004 and 2012, WNLO has led or participated in over 1200 projects including the 973 Program, the National High Technology R&D Program (also called 863 Program), the NSFC Programs, The National Major Science and Technology Programs, the National Defense Program and the National Key Technology R&D Program. Since 2004, WNLO has distinguished itself by winning 120 awards of various kinds, including two National Awards for Natural Sciences (second class), one National Prize for Technical Invention (second class), three National Prizes for Progress in Science and Technology (second class), one National Prize for International Science and Technology Cooperation and more than 20 provincial awards of first class. In addition, WNLO owns nearly 500 issued patents for inventions from 2004 to 2012.
Between 2006 and 2012, over 2000 scholarly papers from WNLO were published in journals indexed by SCI, including Science and Nature Photonics. WNLO has its own unique and differentiated innovations in such research areas as biomedical photonics, laser science and technology, optical communications and devices, organic optoelectronics, photonics for energy, and terahertz technology.
WNLO’s responsibility and mission include serving national economy, leading the industrial development trend in the fields of optics and photonics by developing frontier science and interdisciplinary research. Meanwhile, the laboratory provides multi-faceted supports and services to the “Wuhan·Optics Valley of China”, thus promoting the development and industrialization of optoelectronics with respects to technological innovations and technology transfers, optoelectronic test, establishment of optoelectronic industry standards and training of the optoelectronic workforce.
In 2012, Wuhan Industrial Institute for Optoelectronics (WIIO) was jointly established by Wuhan East Lake High-tech Development Zone and HUST. WNLO is responsible for its operation and management. It is a collaborative innovation infrastructure integrated with functions of common technology R&D, pilot ripening docking, high-end industry incubation, and corporation R&D services. Built on a large number of achievements, WIIO is engaged in providing engineering technology research and development, technology docking, investment operation and business incubation, which are necessary for technology transfer from “innovation” to “creation”.
WNLO has jointly set up some technology research and development centers with 11 companies. Dozens of results and technologies have been successfully transferred and applied to the fields of communication, energy, and industrial manufacturing, creating direct economic benefits of up to several billion RMB.
The laboratory has become an important base for international exchange and cooperation in the optics and photonics fields in China. So far, the laboratory has established long-term and stable partnerships with more than 40 important scientific research institutions, universities and enterprises and has carried out various forms of cooperation and exchange. In 2007, it was granted the title of “Innovation Base for Introducing Talents” by the Ministry of Education and State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. In 2008, the Organization Department of CPC Central Committee bestowed it the award of “Innovation and Business Base for Overseas High-qualified Talents”. The Ministry of Science and Technology and the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs also honored WNLO with the award of “State-level International Joint Research Center”. In expanding its international cooperation and exchange, the laboratory has attracted over 10 foreign academicians and more than 50 experts and scholars to work here, including Prof. Gratzel, who is also called the “Father of Dye-sensitized Solar Cells”, Prof. Zhong Lin Wang, who is overseas member of the CAS and has important academic impact in the field of nanotechnology, and Prof. Xi-Cheng Zhang, a distinguished scientist in the field of terahertz. From the year of 2007 till now, there have been over 500 experts working here.
The laboratory has hosted or sponsored over 50 international conferences, and successfully organized six installments of the “International Photonics and Optoelectronics Meetings (POEM)”, which has become one of the most influential academic meetings in the optoelectronic field. Meanwhile, the Wuhan Optoelectronics Forum (WHOF), a series of academic courses launched by WNLO, has become a high-level and high-profile academic exchange model. Up to now, there have been 76 presentations by distinguished lecturers from home and abroad since WHOF’s launching in 2008.
WNLO is an important part of the innovation system of national science and technology and an innovation research base of “Wuhan·Optics Valley of China” as well. It is also considered a scientific research base for the national innovation system and a training base for high-level and inter-disciplinary scientists and engineers. It provides a base for international exchanges and cooperation base in the fields of optics and photonics. It offers strong support to promote the development of the national optoelectronics industry, thus to enhance the international competitiveness of China. Furthermore, it plays an important role in active participation in and deep integration into the development of Wuhan East Lake High-tech Development Zone and contributes to regional economic development in Wuhan.