Skip to main content

25 February 2019

The Optical Society Names Laura Na Liu the 2019 Adolph Lomb Medal Winner

Multidisciplinary researcher works at the interface between nanophotonics, biology and chemistry

WASHINGTON—The Optical Society (OSA) is pleased to name Laura Na Liu, University of Heidelberg, Germany, the 2019 Adolph Lomb Medal recipient. Liu is recognized for seminal contributions to nano-optics, three-dimensional optical metamaterials, as well as interdisciplinary scientific work regarding the development of DNA nanotechnology-based dynamic plasmonics.


“Laura Na Liu’s contributions to optical science have had broad impact,” says 2019 OSA President Ursula Gibson. “At an early stage in her career, she has brought an interdisciplinary focus to her research, studying the interface of nanophotonics with biology and chemistry. The Lomb Medal is recognition for her success in this endeavor.”

Liu received her Ph.D. in physics at University of Stuttgart, Germany, in 2009. She then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A., and as a Texas Instruments visiting professor at Rice University, U.S.A. In 2012, she joined the Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems as an independent group leader. She became a professor at the Kirchhoff Institute for Physics at University of Heidelberg, Germany, in 2015.

Her research is multidisciplinary. Liu works at the interface between nanophotonics, biology and chemistry. Her group focuses on developing sophisticated and smart optical nanosystems for answering structural biology questions as well as catalytic chemistry questions in local environments. She was awarded with the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Award from the German Research Foundation as well as an ERC starting grant from the European Research Council. She was also honored with the Light2015 Young Woman in Photonics Award of the European Optical Society, the IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Optics from the International Commission for Optics in 2016, the Rudolf-Kaiser Prize in 2018, as well as the Kavli Foundation Early Career Award in Materials Science 2018.

Established in 1940, the Adolph Lomb Medal is presented to an individual who has made a noteworthy contribution to optics at an early career stage. Contributions from any area of optics, fundamental or applied, are considered. The medal honors Adolph Lomb, OSA’s first treasurer, for his devotion to OSA and the advancement of optics.

About The Optical Society

Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and entrepreneurs who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit

Media Contacts: