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Contact Info

William H. Sanders
Interim Department Head
1406 W. Green St.
Urbana, IL 61801-2918
Ph: (217) 333-2300
Fax: (217) 244-7075

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Gaurav Bahl

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Gaurav  Bahl
Gaurav Bahl
Assistant Professor
  • Mechanical Science and Engineering
4413 Mechanical Engineering Lab
105 S. Mathews
Urbana Illinois 61801
(217) 300-2194


  • Mechanical Science and Engineering

Primary Research Area

  • Nanomechanics & Nanomanufacturing


  • PhD, Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, September 2010
  • MS, Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, June 2008
  • B.Eng, Summa cum laude, Electrical Engineering, McMaster University, ON, Canada, June 2005

Academic Positions

  • Affiliate, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, August 16, 2012-August 16, 2014
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, August 16, 2012-date
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, EECS, Optics and Photonics Laboratory, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, September 2010-August 2012
  • Research Assistant, Mechanical Engineering, Micro-Structures and Sensors Laboratory, Stanford, April 2006-August 2010

For more information

Research Statement

Gaurav Bahl performs experimental research at the interface between optical and mechanical systems. Of particular interest are the mechanisms by which light interacts mechanically with photonic microsystems (i.e. via radiation pressure, gradient force, electrostrictive pressure, and photothermal effects), and how mechanical devices can affect and manipulate light. Applications of this research include inertial sensors, microfluidic bio-chemical devices, microwave frequency references, and harsh-environment physical sensors.

While the forces exerted on matter by single photons are miniscule, micro/nanodevices that are both optically and mechanically resonant can enhance such opto-mechanical interactions by several orders-of-magnitude. These devices are excellent scientific platforms for research in nonlinear optics, quantum mechanics, laser development, and thermal management via laser heating and cooling.

Graduate Research Opportunities

PhD oriented Electrical Engineering graduate students with a strong background in experimental optics are encouraged to contact Prof. Bahl with a complete CV.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Our group has multiple research opportunities for undergraduate students with a strong interest in physics, optics & photonics, and nanomechanics. Topics include microcavity lasers, extreme-nonlinear optics, new sources of radiation, ultra-tunable oscillators, and optomechanical sensors and actuators. Interested students should contact Prof. Bahl with a complete CV.

**We are presently seeking an undergraduate student with experience in microcontrollers and/or digital logic programming, for a quadrotor-based research project.**

Research Areas

  • Lasers and optical physics
  • Microcavity lasers and nanophotonics
  • Microcavity lasers and nanophotonics
  • Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Bahl, G., X. Fan, and T. Carmon, "Acoustic Whispering-Gallery Modes in Optomechanical Shells," New Journal of Physics, Vol. 14, 115026, 2012.
  • Bahl, G., M. Tomes, F. Marquardt, and T. Carmon, “Observation of Spontaneous Brillouin Cooling,” Nature Physics, doi:10.1038/nphys2206, 2012.
  • Tomes, M., F. Marquardt, G. Bahl, and T. Carmon, “Quantum Mechanical Theory of Optomechanical Brillouin Cooling,” Physical Review A, 84, 063806, 2011.
  • Bahl, G., J. Zehnpfennig, M. Tomes, and T. Carmon, “Stimulated Optomechanical Excitation of Surface Acoustic Waves in a Microdevice,” Nature Communications, 2:403, doi:10.1038/ncomms1412, 2011.
  • Zehnpfennig, J., G. Bahl, M. Tomes, and T. Carmon, “Surface Optomechanics: Calculating Optically Excited Acoustical Whispering Gallery Modes in Microspheres,” Optics Express, Vol. 19, pp.14240-8, 2011.
  • Bahl, G., J. Salvia, R. Melamud, B. Kim, R.T. Howe, and T. W. Kenny, “AC Polarization for Charge-Drift Elimination in Resonant Electrostatic MEMS and Oscillators,” Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, Vol. 20, No. 2, April 2011.
  • Yoneoka, S., J. Salvia, G. Bahl, R. Melamud, S. A. Chandorkar, and T. W. Kenny, “Active Electrostatic Compensation of Micromechanical Resonators Under Random Vibrations,” JMEMS Letters, Vol. 19, No. 5, October 2010.
  • Bahl, G., R. Melamud, B. Kim, S. A. Chandorkar, J. Salvia, M. A. Hopcroft, D. Elata, R. G. Hennessy, R. N. Candler, R.T. Howe, and T. W. Kenny, “Model and Observations of Dielectric Charge in Thermally Oxidized Silicon Resonators,” Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, Vol. 19, No. 1, Feb 2010.
  • Melamud, R., S. A. Chandorkar, B. Kim, H. K. Lee, J. Salvia, G. Bahl, M. A. Hopcroft, and T. W. Kenny, “Temperature Insensitive Composite Micromechanical Resonators,” Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, Vol. 18, No. 6, Dec 2009.
  • Agarwal, M., S. A. Chandorkar, H. Mehta, R. N. Candler, B. Kim, M. A. Hopcroft, R. Melamud, C. M. Jha, G. Bahl, G. Yama, T. W. Kenny, and B. Murmann, “A Study of Electrostatic Force Nonlinearities in Resonant Microstructures,” Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 92, pp. 104106-3, 2008.
  • Agarwal, M., H. Mehta, R. N. Candler, S. A. Chandorkar, B. Kim, M. A. Hopcroft, R. Melamud, G. Bahl, G. Yama, T. W. Kenny and B. Murmann, “Scaling of Amptitude-Frequency-Dependence Nonlinearities in Electrostatically Transduced Microresonators,” Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 102, p. 74903, 2007.
  • Jha, C. M., G. Bahl, R. Melamud, S. A. Chandorkar, M. A. Hopcroft, B. Kim, M. Agarwal, J. Salvia, H. Mehta, and T. W. Kenny, "High Resolution Microresonator-Based Digital Temperature Sensor, "Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 91, p. 74101, 2007.
  • Hopcroft, M. A., B. Kim, S. Chandorkar, R. Melamud, M. Agarwal, C. M. Jha, G. Bahl, J. Salvia, H. Mehta, H. K. Lee, R. N. Candler, and T. W. Kenny, "Using The Temperature Dependence of Resonator Quality Factor as a Thermometer," Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 91, p. 013505, 2007.

Professional Societies

  • Member, Optical Society of America (OSA), 2010-date
  • Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 2009-date