Dr Jensen Li BEng, MPhil, PhD

Dr Jensen Li

School of Physics and Astronomy
Reader in Photonics

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Jensen Li is working mainly on photonic crystals and metamaterials. His research revolves around various extraordinary optical phenomena given by metamaterials, with prominent examples such as invisibility cloaking and super-resolution imaging. His current interests are on transformation optics, metasurfaces, non-hermitian optics and complex media. Apart from electromagnetic waves, he is keen on extending the concepts of metamaterials to acoustic and elastic waves as well.

Jensen has published over 60 research articles including scientific journals and book chapters. He has received 6 grants as PI from Hong Kong, mainland China, Korea and the European Union.


  • PhD in Physics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2004
  • MPhil in Physics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2000
  • BEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering (First Class Honours), 1998


Dr Jensen Li received his BEng degree with first class honours in electrical and electronic engineering from the University of Hong Kong in 1998 and his MPhil, PhD degree in physics from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2000 and 2004. In this period of time, he work on the photonic band gap and the theoretical proposal of acoustic negative index metamaterials.

From 2005 to 2007, Jensen worked in Imperial College London with support from a Croucher Foundation postdoctoral fellowship where he developed a theoretical scheme of carpet cloaking. From 2007 to 2009, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California at Berkeley and participated in the realisation of carpet cloaking at infrared frequencies. 

He continued his research in metamaterials also worked on alternative schemes in achieving acoustic negative indices without local resonance from theory to realisation. In 2013, he joined the University of Birmingham as a senior lecturer and in August 2017, he took the position of Reader in Photonics. Dr Li and his research group have been active in metamaterials and transformation optics research and he is best known for his work in carpet cloak. He is currently working in metasurfaces, gauge-field optics, non-hermitian optics and elastic metamaterials. 


  • Modern Optics (Year 2)
  • Nanophotonics (Year 4)
  • Computational Physics Laboratory (Year 2, 3)
  • Year 4 Projects in Metamaterials

Postgraduate supervision

  • Tianhua Feng
  • Fu Liu
  • Pengjiang Wei
  • James Gear
  • Jian Zhu


Research Themes

  • Electromagnetic metamaterials and metasurfaces for microwave, terahertz and optical applications
  • Invisibility cloaks and transformation optics
  • Acoustic and elastic metamaterials
  • Plasmonics and nanophotonics
  • Non-hermitian optics

Other activities

  • Associate Editor, EPJ Applied Metamaterials
  • Associate Editor, Optics Express
  • Editorial Board Member, Scientific Reports


  1. Y. Liu, Z. Liang, F. Liu, O. Diba, A. Lamb and Jensen Li, “Source illusion devices for flexural Lamb waves using elastic metasurfaces”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 034301 (2017)
  2. S. Xiao, J. Wang, F. Liu, S. Zhang, X. Yin and Jensen Li, “Spin-dependent optics with metasurfaces”, Nanophotonics 6, 215 (2017)

  3. S. Xiao, H. Muhlenbernd, G. Li, M. Kenney, F. Liu, T. Zentgraf, S. Zhang and Jensen Li, “Helicity-preserving omnidirectional plasmonic mirror”, Adv. Opt. Mater. 4, 654 (2016) 
  4. S. Xiao, F. Zhong, H. Liu, S. Zhu and Jensen Li, “Flexible coherent control of plasmonic spin Hall effect”, Nature Communications 6, 8360 (2015).
  5. James Gear, Fu Liu, S. T. Chu, Stefan Rotter and Jensen Li, “Parity-Time symmetry from stacking purely dielectric and magnetic slabs”, Phys. Rev. A 91, 033825 (2015).

  6. F. Liu and Jensen Li, “Gauge field optics with anisotropic media”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 103902 (2015).

  7. W. Gao, M. Lawrence, B. Yang, F. Liu, B. Beri, J. Li, and S. Zhang, “Topological photonic phase in chiral hyperbolic metamaterials”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 037402 (2015).

  8. Y. Sun, W. Tan, H.-Q. Li, Jensen Li and H. Chen, "Experimental demonstration of a coherent perfect absorber with PT phase transition", Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 143903 (2014).

  9. P. Wei, C. Croenne, S. T. Chu and Jensen Li, "Symmetrical and anti-symmetrical coherent perfect absorption for acoustic waves", Appl. Phys. Lett. 104, 121902 (2014).

  10. Y. D. Xu, C. D. Gu, B. Hou, Y. Lai, Jensen Li and H. Y. Chen, "Broadband asymmetric waveguiding of light without polarization limitations", Nature Communications 4, 2561 (2013).

  11. G. Li, M. Kang, S. Chen, S. Zhang, E. Y.-B. Pun, K. W. Cheah, and Jensen Li, "Spin-enabled plasmonic metasurfaces for manipulating orbital angular momentum of light", Nano Lett. 13, 4148 (2013).

  12. F. Liu, Z. Liang and Jensen Li, "Manipulating polarization and impedance signature: a reciprocal field transformation approach", Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 033901 (2013).

  13. M. Kang, Fu. Liu and Jensen Li, "Effective spontaneous PT-symmetry breaking in hybridized metamaterials", Phys. Rev. A 87, 053824 (2013).

  14. Z. Liang, T. Feng, S. Lok, F. Liu, K. B. Ng, C. H. Chan, J. Wang, S. Han, S. Lee, and Jensen Li, "Space-coiling metamaterials with double negativity and conical dispersion", Sci. Rep. 3, 1614 (2013).

  15. M. Kang, T. Feng, H.-T. Wang and Jensen Li, "Wave front engineering from an array of thin aperture antennas", Opt. Exp. 20, 15882 (2012).

  16. Z. Liang and Jensen Li, "Extreme Acoustic Metamaterial by Coiling Up Space", Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 114301 (2012)

  17. T. Feng, Y. Zhou, D. Liu, and Jensen Li, "Controlling magnetic dipole transition with magnetic plasmonic structures", Opt. Lett. 36, 2369 (2011).

  18. T. Zentgraf, J. Valentine, N. Tapia, Jensen Li and X. Zhang, “An Optical Janus Device for Integrated Photonics”, Adv. Mat. 22, 2561 (2010).

  19. Jensen Li, L. Fok, X. Yin, G. Bartal and X. Zhang, "Experimental Demonstration of an Acoustic Magnifying Hyperlens", Nature Materials 8, 931 (2009).

  20. J. Valentine*, Jensen Li*, T. Zentgraf*, G. Bartal and X. Zhang, “An optical cloak make of dielectrics”, Nature Materials 8, 568 (2009).

  21. S. Zhang, Y. Park, Jensen Li, X. Lu, W. Zhang and X. Zhang, “Negative refractive index in chiral metamaterials”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 023901 (2009).

  22. J. B. Pendry and Jensen Li, “An acoustic metafluid: realizing a broadband acoustic cloak”, New J. Phys. 10, 115032 (2008).

  23. Jensen Li and J. B. Pendry, “Hiding under the carpet: a new strategy for cloaking”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 203901 (2008).

  24. Y. Wu, Jensen Li, Z. Q. Zhang, and C. T. Chan, "Effective medium theory for magnetodielectric composites: Beyond the long-wavelength limit", Phys. Rev. B 74, 085111 (2006).

  25. D. Wang, Jensen Li, C. T. Chan, V. Salgueiriño-Maceira, L. M. Liz-Marzán, S. Romanov, and F. Caruso, “Optical Properties of Nanoparticle-Based Metallodielectric Inverse Opals”, Small 1, 122 (2005).

  26. Jensen Li and C. T. Chan, "Double-negative Acoustic Metamaterial", Phys. Rev. E 70, 055602(R) (2004).

  27. Jensen Li, L. Zhou, C. T. Chan and P. Sheng, “Photonic band gap from a stack of positive and negative index materials”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 083901 (2003).W. Wen, L. Zhou, Jensen Li, W. Ge, C.T. Chan, and P. Sheng, "Subwavelength Photonic Band Gaps from Planar Fractals", Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 2239011 (2002).