Frank Wise

Samuel B. Eckert Professor of Engineering
Director of the Cornell Center for Materials Research
Applied and Engineering Physics


Wise was a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories before coming to Cornell. He joined the Cornell faculty in 1988, and was named an NSF Presidential Young Investigator in 1989. He has received several awards for excellence and innovation in teaching. From 2007 to 2011 he was director of the School of Applied and Engineering Physics.

Research Interests

Our main research projects are listed below.

Development of femtosecond-pulse lasers and amplifiers We are working to develop sources of ultrashort optical pulses that could be used in applications outside of basic research laboratories. Currently we are focused on fiber lasers and amplifiers. Our activities range from theoretical studies of new mechanisms for shaping pulses in lasers to laser engineering and commercial development.

Studies of optical spatiotemporal solitons Optical solitons are packets of localized electromagnetic radiation that propagate without spreading out spatially despite diffraction nor temporally despite group-velocity dispersion. We are working to generate fully-confined spatiotemporal solitons (sometimes referred to as “light bullets”).

Selected Publications

  • L. G. Wright, D. N. Christodoulides, and F. W. Wise, “Controllable spatiotemporal nonlinear effects in multimode fibers,” Nature Photon. 9, 306 (2015).
  • L. G. Wright, Z. Liu, D. A. Nolan, M.-J. Li, D. N. Christodoulides, and F. W. Wise, “Self-organized instability in graded-index multimode fibre,” Nature Photon. 10, 771 (2016).
  • Z. Liu, Z. M. Ziegler, L. G. Wright, and F. W. Wise, “Megawatt peak power from a Mamyshev oscillator,” Optica 4, 649 (2017).
  • L. G. Wright, D. N. Christodoulides, and F. W. Wise, “Spatiotemporal mode-locking in multimode fiber lasers,” Science 358, 94 (2017).
  • P. Sidorenko, W. Fu and F. W. Wise, “Nonlinear ultrafast fiber amplifiers beyond the gain-narrowing limit,” Optica 6, 1328 (2019).

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Fellow of the Optical Society of America
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society
  • Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award (1992, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2005) (College of Engineering, Cornell University)
  • Optical Society Of America Distinguished Traveling Lecturer 2016
  • NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award (National Science Foundation) 1989


  • BS (Engineering Physics), Princeton University, 1980
  • MS (Electrical Engineering), University of California, Berkeley, 1982
  • MS (Applied Physics), Cornell University, 1986
  • Ph D (Applied Physics), Cornell University, 1988