Advanced Semiconductor Laboratory
Developing cutting-edge technologies based on III-nitride semiconductors


Xiaohang Li, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator
​Assistant Professor​​​​​​​​​​​



Professor Xiaohang Li is the Principal Investigator of Advanced Semiconductor Laboratory of Electronic Engineering Program under CEMSE division at KAUST. He received Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering with minor in Physics from Georgia Institute of Technology (PhD advisor: Prof. Russell D. Dupuis, U.S. National Medal of Technology laureate, MOCVD pioneer). Professor Li has extensive research experience in the field of wide-bandgap semiconductors, especially III-nitride semiconductors. He has conducted many research projects under the sponsorship of U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, U.S. Natural Science Foundation, Chinese Natural Science Foundation, and GCC Research Program. Prof Li’s team at KAUST is now committed to the research of wide bandgap semiconductor materials and devices. The field is expected to bring revolutionary impacts on the future of optoelectronic and electronic industries.

Professor Li has made outstanding contributions to the cutting edge of wide bandgap semiconductor research. He is one of the pioneers of deep UV laser research: he was the first to achieve lasers below 260 nm on sapphire; he was the first to achieve low-threshold deep UV lasers on sapphire; he was the first to achieve both TE and TM semiconductor lasers on the same type of substrates; he was the first to achieve deep UV surface stimulated emission. In addition, he was the first to grow high quality AlN/sapphire templates by MOCVD without the use of epitaxial lateral overgrowth, high temperature, or precursor modulation which is important for low-cost and large-scale manufacturing. He has also demonstrated world-leading and groundbreaking results in emerging wide bandgap semiconductor research such as B-III-N and III-O. In particular, he demonstrated that the addition of boron into III-nitride can effectively elevate the conduction band, creating the largest conduction band offset known to the III-nitride community.  Also, he holds the world record of the boron composition in BAlN ternary alloys. His research results have been frequently covered and highlighted by the major wide bandgap semiconductor media in a prominent position. In addition, Professor Li has made high-impact contributions to the development of visible LED and bionic photonics.

Professor Li has published more than 120 papers in leading journals and conferences. He has been invited to deliver more than 30 talks and seminars at international conferences, universities, research institutions, and companies. His scientific research output and impact ranks high among the wide bandgap semiconductor scientists under the age of 35. He has been invited to pen a Compound Semiconductor magazine editorial and book chapters of Elsevier and Wiley related to UV optoelectronics and MOCVD. He has more than 20 approved and pending patents. He is an active journal reviewer for prestigious wide bandgap semiconductor journals such as Nature Photonics, Applied Physics Letter and Optics Express.

He has been the recipient of many awards including most prestigious scholarship from SPIE and IEEE Photonics Society, i.e. D. J. Lovell Scholarship (one recipient per year) and IEEE Photonics Graduate Student Fellowship (10 recipient per year), respectively. He has also received Georgia Tech’s most prestigious award for graduate students, Edison Prize (one per year). He has been invited by the White House senior advisor of the Obama administration to participate in the immigrant innovation and entrepreneurship event. He has also represented Georgia Tech in the Global Young Scientist Summit. 

In addition to academic teaching and research, Professor Li has been involved in a variety of business, entrepreneurship, leadership, and mentoring activities. He has attended the graded MOOC MBA courses by Wharton School of Business and passed with certificates of accomplishment. He has been selected for the highly competitive McKinsey and BCG summer programs for advanced degree holders in the US. He has been involved in the creation of start-up companies in Boston and Atlanta in the U.S. and has been covered by many top media reports including Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Tech Crunch and Gigom. He has won prizes in several entrepreneurial competitions. He has served as President of the IEEE Photonics Society chapter at Lehigh University. He is a guest writer of the Edison Innovation Foundation of the United States and is also a mentor for many undergraduates' postgraduate academic and career development.

Major contributions and achievements with the ASL members as the first author

·         First demonstration of α-, β- and ε-Ga2O3 films grown by MOCVD (CGD 2018)

·         Polarization-free III-N heterojunctions on c-plane for optical devices (APL 2017)

·         Record-large III-N heterointerface polarization for electronic devices (APL 2017)

·         Record-small electron affinity of any known III-N alloy (APL 2017)

·         Record-high boron content in monocrystalline BAlN layer (PSSB & JCG 2017)

·         First UV LED grown on metal (OE 2017)

·         Revelation of working principle of TMAl preflow for AlN growth by MOCVD (APL 2017)

·         High quality AlN/sapphire template grown by MOCVD without high temperature, precursor pulsing, or substrate patterning (PSSB & JCG 2015)

·         First deep UV surface stimulated emission from semiconductor structures (APL 2015)

·         First TE-TM optical polarization switch of semiconductor laser (APL 2015)

·         First low-threshold deep UV semiconductor laser on sapphire substrates (APL 2014)

·         First semiconductor laser below 260 nm on sapphire substrates (APL 2014)

·         First magnet field detector based on magnetic fluid (Patent: CN200976041Y)

Research Interests

​Professor Li is devoted to innovating and perfecting growth, simulation, fabrication, and characterization of III-nitride structures for next-generation devices. The devices of particular interest include LED, laser, solar cells, transistors, and sensors. Because of excellent properties of III-nitrides, these devices are expected to become the enabling technologies to revolutionize energy, communication, biochemical, biomedical, and data storage industries and many others. 

Selected Publications

1. K. Liu, H. Sun, F. AlQatari, W. Guo, X. Liu, J. Li, C. G T. Castanedo, and X. Li, "Wurtzite BAlN and BGaN alloys for heterointerface polarization engineering," Appl. Phys. Lett. 111, 222106 (2017).
2. ​H. Sun, C. G. T. Castanedo, K. Liu, K.-H. Li, W. Guo, R. Lin, X. Liu, J. Li, and X. Li, “Valence and conduction band offsets of β-Ga2O3/AlN heterojunction,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 111, 162105 (2017).
3. H. Sun, Y. Park, K.-H. Li, C. G. T. Castanedo, A. S. Alowayed, T. Detchprohm, R. D. Dupuis, and X. Li, “Band alignment of B0.14Al0.86N / Al0.7Ga0.3N heterojunction,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 111, 122106 (2017).
4. H. Sun, F. Wu, Y. J. Park, T. M. Al tahtamouni, K.-H. Li, N. Alfaraj, T. Detchprohm, R. D. Dupuis, and X. Li, “Influence of TMAl preflow on AlN epitaxy on sapphire,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 110, 192106 (2017).
5. N. Alfaraj, S. Mitra, F. Wu, I. Ajia, B. Janjua, A. Prabaswara, R. A. Aljefri, H. Sun, T. K. Ng, B. S. Ooi, I. S. Roqan, and X. Li, “Photoinduced entropy of InGaN/GaN p-i-n double-heterostructure nanowires,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 110, 161110 (2017).


​Ph.D., Electrical Engineering (minor in Physics), Georgia Institute of Technology

M.S., Electrical Engineering, Lehigh University

B.S., Applied Physics, Huazhong University of Science and Technology

Certificates of graded MBA online courses (Accounting, Operation, Marketing, Corporate Finance​) in Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania

Scientific and Professional Memberships



1. Official Nominee of KAUST Distinguished Teaching Award, KAUST, 2018

         One of the six faculty nominees at KAUST

2. Elected Representative of CEMSE Division in University Academic Counsel, KAUST, 2017

3. Exploration Award, Whale Foundation (won by my visiting student Kaikai Liu while at KAUST), 2017

4. Outstanding Student Award, UESTC (won by my student Jingtao Li while at KAUST), 2017

5. Title of the Weekly News Letter, Compound Semiconductor, 2017

6. Title of the Weekly News Letter, Compound Semiconductor, 2017

7. Poster Award, KAUST-NSF Conference on Electronic Materials, Devices and Systems for a Sustainable Future, 2017

8. Editor’s Select, Applied Physics Letter, 2016

9. Georgia Tech representative, Global Young Scientist Summit, 2015

10. Graduate Student Fellowship, IEEE Photonics Society, 2014

         The highest award from IPS for graduate students with 10 recipients worldwide annually

11. Steve W. Chaddick Fellowship, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2014

12. Anne Robinson Clough International Student Grant, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2014

13. D. J. Lovell Scholarship, SPIE, 2013

         The largest and most prestigious scholarship given for optics and photonics professionals

14. Edison Prize, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2013

15. Member of Insight Engineering & Science Program, McKinsey & Company, 2013 

16. Member of Bridge to BCG Program, Boston Consulting Group, 2013 

17. Most Commercializable Prize, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2013

18. Best Product Showcase Prize, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2013

19. Innovation Alley, Lehigh Valley, TEDx, 2013  

20. Immigrant Innovator and Entrepreneur Awarding Ceremony, the U.S. White House, 2013

21. First Place of Elevator Pitch Competition, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2012

22. Michael W Levin ’87 Advanced Technology Award, Lehigh University, 2012

23. National Scholarship, China, 2008

KAUST Affiliations

Electrophysics Track

Electrical Engineering Program

​Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering (CEMSE) Division