Faculty Directory

Davis, Christopher

Davis, Christopher

Minta Martin Professor of Engineering
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Kim Building 2124


Christopher C. Davis is Minta Martin Professor of Engineering and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. He received the B.A. degree (with Honors) in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge in 1965, the M.A. degree from the University of Cambridge in 1970, and the Ph.D. degree in Physics from the University of Manchester in 1970. From 1973-1975 he was an Instructor/Research Associate at Cornell University, and from 1982-83 was a Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge. He has been a recipient of the following Honors and Awards:  University of Maryland Distinguished Scholar-Teacher, 1989-90; Fellow of the Institute of Physics, 1989; AT&T/ASEE Award for Excellence in Engineering Education,1990; Fellow of the IEEE, 1993; Invention of the Year Award in Information Technology, University of Maryland, 2000; Poole and Kent Teaching Award for Senior Faculty, 2012. Professor Davis is the author of the widely used text “Lasers and Electro-Optics,” published by Cambridge University Press, and co-author with Jack Moore and Mike Coplan of the best selling text “Building Scientific Apparatus,” recently published in its 4th edition by Cambridge University Press. He is also author or co-author of 14 chapters in books, 215 refereed journal articles and over 295 conference papers, and is the holder of twelve awarded and several pending patents. He is Conference co-Chair of the SPIE Free Space Laser Communications Conference, and is a frequent invited lecturer both nationally and internationally. He has served as a scientific consultant to several US Government agencies and industry. He is a member of the IEEE Committee SCC-34 SC2, which deals with RF exposure from wireless devices.


  • Jimmy H.C. Lin Award for Innovation (2015)
  • Clark School of Engineering Senior Faculty Outstanding Research Award (2014)
  • Clark School of Engineering Poole and Kent Senior Faculty Teaching Award (2012)
  • University of Maryland Invention of the Year Award in Information Science (2000)
  • Technology Education Award of Distinction awarded by the Technology Education Association of Maryland (1994)
  • Fellow of IEEE (1993)
  • NASA Certificate of Recognition for Fiber Injection Locked Broad Area Laser (1992)
  • AT&T/ASEE Award for Excellence in Engineering Education (1990)
  • Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award, University of Maryland (1989-1990)
  • Fellow of the Institute of Physics (1989)
  • NSF Creativity Award (1983)
  • S.E.R.C. Senior Visiting Fellow, University of Cambridge (1982)
  • George Corcoran Award, ECE Department, University of Maryland (1978)


Free space optical and directional RF communication systems, atmospheric turbulence, advanced surveillance systems, plasmonics, chemical and biological sensors, interferometry, optical systems, bioelectromagnetics, RF dosimetry. Currently active research includes optical and RF directional wireless, real-time advanced surveillance systems with “event” detection, the optical properties of nanostructures where surface plasmons can be excited, laser interferometry, dielectrometry, fiber sensors and biosensors, magnetooptics, optical trace detection, atmospheric turbulence, optical communication systems and devices, and studies of the biological effects of non-ionizingradiation.  Latest papers: (1) R. Fainchtein, D.M. Brown, K.M. Siegrist, A.H. Monica, E. Hwang, S. D. Milner, and C.C. Davis, “Time-Dependent Near-Blackbody Thermal Emission from Pulsed Laser-Irradiated Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotube Arrays," Physical Review B 85, 125432-1 125432-12. 2012. (2) H. Zhang, J. Llorca, C.C. Davis, and S.D. Milner.  Nature-Inspired SelfOrganization, Control, and Optimization in Heterogeneous Wireless Networks.  IEEE Trans. Mob. Comp. 11, 1207-1222, 2012. His past research has covered gas lasers, photon counting, chemical lasers, molecular relaxation processes, diode-pumped solid-state lasers, laser noise and instabilities, injection locking of broad area laser diodes, nonlinear imaging of ferroelectric and ferromagnetic materials, and near-field scanning optical microscopy.

Honoring the Life of Professor Christopher Davis

ECE mourns passing of long-time faculty member

Abshire part of CogniSense, a DARPA JUMP 2.0 center

This center will pursue intelligent sensing to action: Sensing capabilities and embedded intelligence to enable fast and efficient generation of actions.

Maryland Engineering’s John Fisher Appointed MPower Professor

BIOE chair one of six UMCP/UMB professors to receive University of Maryland Strategic Partnership appointment.

From Community College to Ph.D.

Clark Opportunity Transfer Scholar Nathanial (Nate) Ferlic embraced academic career at Maryland.

Striking Up an Innovative Idea

Researchers’ Revamped Electronic Home Plate Adds Automation, Accuracy to Game.

2019 Dean's Doctoral and Master's Student Research Awards

Created by Clark School Dean Darryll Pines, the competition recognize distinguished graduate student researchers in order to help propel their careers and demonstrate the value of high-quality engineering research.

UMD Researchers Conduct Field Tests to Evaluate the Atmosphere’s Effect on Lasers

The project is funded under the Office of Naval Research Atmospheric Propagation Studies for High Energy Lasers program.

UMD RASC-AL Team Wins Big, Akin Recognized with PEACH Award

A team of 19 undergraduate students won first place for the RASC-AL theme category and second place in the overall competition.

UMD Awarded $1.4 Million to Design New Treatment for PCBs, Heavy Metals in Stormwater

The three-year project aims to improve water quality in critical waterways like the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound.

Jewell Research Lab Explores New Therapies for Treatment of Juvenile Diabetes

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation awards Prof. Jewell $500,000 grant to study vaccine for diabetes.

Ulukus Named 2016-2017 Distinguished Scholar-Teacher by University of Maryland

The Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Program honors members of UMD faculty who have demonstrated outstanding scholarly achievements along with equally outstanding accomplishments as teachers.

UMD Invention of the Year Nominees Push Boundaries in Health, Energy, and Security

Campus inventors to be honored at Celebration of Innovation and Partnerships

UMD Team Wins 2015 Robo-Ops and Sets New Course Record

Maryland students and their rover 'Frigg' win first place at the 2015 Robo-Ops Competition.

UMD Clark School Highlights Disaster Resilience at Mpact Week

Five-day event focused on role of engineers in disaster prevention, mitigation, and response.

BioE Capstone 2014: New Projects Focus on Cardiological Health, Surgical Tools and More

Students' inventions range from diagnostic devices to accident prevention products.

Three Clark School Students Named 2013-2014 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars

Clark School undergraduates Rohrbach, Yanes and Yep named 2013-2014 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars

BioE's Chris Jewell Named Outstanding Young Engineer

Md. Science Center honors expert in controlling immune system response.

UMD Awarded Three Department of Defense MURI Grants

Research teams at UMD receive grants for multidisciplinary research initiatives.

Clark School Professor Develops Game-Changing Baseball Innovation

Electronic home plate helps make umpires' calls more precise.

Clark School Faculty Recognized at UMD Invention of the Year Awards

26th annual awards ceremony honors most promising campus inventions.

MIPS Program Awards $4.7 Million to Maryland University Researchers

Participating faculty help Maryland companies develop technology products.

Davis Awarded $4M Multidisciplinary Research Initiatives Contract

The Joint Technology Office will fund Professor Davis's research on laser beam propagation through the turbulent atmosphere over five years.

$1 Million for Traffic Surveillance Research

Federal Highway Administration funds work of Chris Davis, Stuart Milner involving cooperating cameras.

Davis, Balzano Skeptical of Cell Phone Radiation Studies

Clark School researchers write letter to editor of Journal of American Medical Association.

Clark School Invention of the Year Winners

Clark School teams won three out of four top prizes in technology commercialization competition.

Optical Society Names Smolyaninov a Fellow

Visiting scientist researches invisibility cloak technology, Big Bang modeling, superlens microscope.

ECE Event Highlights Innovation, Entrepreneurship

Research Review Day showcases technology advancements in electrical and computer engineering.

Team Introduces World's First Invisibility Cloak

Christopher Davis, Igor Smolyaninov create 2-dimensional cloak.

Clark School Research Featured in Discover

Davis, Smolyaninov superlens microscopy research included in 2007 "Top 100" list.

Scientific American Honors Alumnus, Research Scientist

Clark School boasts two representatives among prestigious Scientific American 50 list.

Clark School Accomplishments Spring 2002

A list of Clark school accomplishments for Spring 2002

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

The International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE)

  • SPIE

Institute of Physics (IOP)