Ping Kong Alexander Wai

  • Source: Scopus
  • Calculated based on no. of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
1986 …2021

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Personal profile


Ir Professor Ping-kong Alexander Wai is Vice President (Research Development) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). Having received a Bachelor of Science (Hons) degree in Physics with first-class honours from The University of Hong Kong in 1981, Professor Wai then went to the United States to begin his graduate study in physics and obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, in 1988. His thesis research was on the nonlinear propagation of optical signals in optical fibers. After graduation, he joined Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in McLean, Virginia, United States where he worked as a Research Scientist on the Tethered Satellite System (TSS) mission — a joint U.S.-Italy Space Shuttle project to study the release and retrieval of a satellite tethered to the Space Shuttle with a 20-kilometer long cable. There were two TSS missions: TSS-1 was flown aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis in August 1992, and TSS-1R was released in February 1996 from the Space Shuttle Columbia. Professor Wai studied the electromagnetic interaction of the tethered satellite with ambient space plasma.

In 1990, Professor Wai left SAIC and returned to the University of Maryland as a Research Associate in the Department of Electrical Engineering. There, he resumed his research on fiber optic communication focusing on transoceanic transmission, studying the impact of fiber nonlinearity on light propagation. He made important contributions to the study of interaction of polarisation mode dispersion and nonlinearity on high-speed optical fiber communication systems. He also studied photonics devices such as lasers and photonic switches.

In 1996, Professor Wai returned to Hong Kong to join the Department of Electronic Engineering of PolyU as an Assistant Professor. Together with PolyU colleagues, he established the Photonics Research Center and state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure for research in optical fiber communications, fiber-optics sensors and gallium nitride technology. The Center now boosts a specialty fiber tower that can pull novel photonic crystal fibers for research in cutting edge fiber technology. In Hong Kong, Professor Wai began his research on future optical network technology including all-optical packet-switching. He designed and demonstrated routing of optical information with all-optical processing of the packet header information. He has received seven U.S. patents on his inventions in optical packet-switching and other technologies. To recognise his contribution in optical communication and optical networks, Professor Wai was elected to the rank of Fellow by the Optical Society of America in 2009. In January and December 2012, Professor Wai elevated to IEEE Fellow and Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences respectively. With the approval of the State Ministry of Science and Technology, Professor Wai has been selected for the "National Science and Technology Programmes Expert Database" since February 2012.

Professor Wai is an active contributor to the technical field. He has over 160 refereed international journal publications. He has participated in the organisation of many international conferences in photonics and optical communications such as the Conference of Laser and Electro-Optics and the Optical Fiber Communication Conference. Professor Wai is currently an Associate Editor of IEEE Journal of Lightwave Technology.

In 2002, Professor Wai became Professor and Head of Department of the Electronic and Information Engineering. In 2005 he was promoted to Chair Professor of Optical Communications and Dean of Faculty of Engineering. In 2008, he also served as Associate Vice President.

Research interests

  • Optical fiber communications
  • Fiber-optics sensors
  • Gallium nitride technology


Photonics, optical fibre communications.

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor of Science, University of Hong Kong

Master of Science, University of Maryland

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Maryland


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