headshot of Ryan Behunin

Ryan Behunin

Assistant Professor
Applied Physics and Materials Science

Contact information

Phone: (928) 523-0443
Email: Ryan.behunin@nau.edu
Office: Bldg 19, Room 212

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Ryan Behunin explores the physics of fluctuation-induced phenomena (FIP), optomechanics, and quantum systems. His work on FIP investigates fundamental questions regarding the interaction of light, sound, and matter—spanning from quantum friction to laser noise. Within the field of optomechanics, Ryan is currently focused on Brillouin physics, describing the interaction of light and sound. By using unique aspects of Brillouin physics, Ryan and collaborators have developed new high-performance chip-scale lasers, precision sensors, and novel methods of laser cooling.


Recent Patents- “Secure Multi-State Quantum Key Distribution with wavelength division multiplexing”, I. Montano, V. Rodriguez, R. Behunin and B. Cambou, provisional patent application no. 62936793

“Acousto-optic coupling techniques and related systems and methods”, P Rakich, P Kharel, W Renninger, RO Behunin US Patent App. 16/488,223

“Brillouin Laser” Peter Rakich, Nils Otterstrom, Eric Kittlaus, Zheng Wang, Ryan Behunin, US Patent App. 15/977,500, 2018

Community Commitments –broadening the participation of groups underrepresented in STEM and service to the scientific and engineering community outside of academia:a.Semester-long science fair mentor for 2ndgrade class at Mauro-Sheridan Magnet School New Haven, CTb.

Working with Tynkertopia, to nurture a STEM learning environment for children, adults, and educators. With strategic location, after-school open hours, and free admission Tynkertopia aims to ignite a passion for science within all of Flagstaff’s local communities

2009 NSF EAPSI Fellow

2007/2008 Ralph D. Myers Award for excellence in teaching, honorable mention

Professional Experience

Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science (2017-current)

Associate Research Scientist, Department of Applied Physics, Yale University (2016-2017)


Most highly cited publications

OG Symko, E Abdel-Rahman, YS Kwon, M Emmi, R Behunin, Design and development of high-frequency thermoacoustic engines for thermal management in microelectronics, Microelectronics Journal 35 (2), 185-191 (2004)

NT Otterstrom, RO Behunin, EA Kittlaus, Z Wang, PT Rakich, A silicon Brillouin laser, Science 360 (6393), 1113-1116 (2018)

S Gundavarapu, GM Brodnik, M Puckett, T Huffman, D Bose, R Behunin, …, Sub-hertz fundamental linewidth photonic integrated Brillouin laser, Nature Photonics 13 (1), 60-67 (2019)

RO Behunin, F Intravaia, DAR Dalvit, PAM Neto, S Reynaud, Modeling electrostatic patch effects in Casimir force measurements, Physical Review A 85 (1), 012504 (2012)

F Intravaia, RO Behunin, DAR Dalvit, Quantum friction and fluctuation theorems, Physical Review A 89 (5), 050101 (2014)

Recent publications


“422 Million intrinsic quality factor planar integrated all-waveguide resonator with sub-MHz linewidth”, MW Puckett, K Liu, N Chauhan, Q Zhao, N Jin, H Cheng, J Wu, et al. Nature communications 12 (1), 1-8 (2021).

“Low-loss low thermo-optic coefficient Ta2O5 on crystal quartz planar optica waveguides”, Q Zhao, RO Behunin, PT Rakich, N Chauhan, A Isichenko, J Wang, et al. APL Photonics 5 (11), 116103 (2020).

“Backscatter-Immune Injection-Locked Brillouin Laser in Silicon”, NT Otterstrom, S Gertler, Y Zhou, EA Kittlaus, RO Behunin, M Gehl, et al. Physical Review Applied 14 (4), 044042 (2020).

“Frequency-stabilized links for coherent WDM fiber interconnects in the Datacenter”, DJ Blumenthal, H Ballani, RO Behunin, JE Bowers, P Costa, D Lenoski, et al. Journal of Lightwave Technology 38 (13), 3376-3386 (2020).

“Shape-Dependent, Chiro-optical Response of UV-Active, Nanohelix Metamaterials”, S Sarkar, RO Behunin, JG Gibbs, Nano letters 19 (11), 8089-8096

“Resonantly enhanced nonreciprocal silicon brillouin amplifier”, NT Otterstrom, EA

Kittlaus, S Gertler, RO Behunin, AL Lentine, PT Rakich, Optica 6 (9), 1117-1123

“Spontaneous forward Brillouin scattering in carbon disulfide”, R. Behunin, Y-. H.Ou, K. Kieu, Phys. Rev. A 99 (6), 063826 (2019).

“Sub-Hz Fundamental Linewidth Photonic Integrated Brillouin Laser”, S. Gundavarapu, et al., Nature Photonics, 13, 60 (2019).

“Optomechanical Cooling in a Continuous System”, N. T. Otterstrom, R. Behunin, E. Kittlaus, and P. T. Rakich, Physical Review X 8, 041034 (2018).

“A silicon Brillouin laser”, N. T. Otterstrom, R. Behunin, E. Kittlaus, Z. Wang and P.T. Rakich, Science, 360, 1113 (2018).

“Fundamental noise dynamics in cascaded-order Brillouin lasers”, R. Behunin, N. T. Otterstrom, S. Gundavarapu, P. T. Rakich and D. J. Blumenthal, Physical Review A,98, 023832 (2018).

“Bulk crystalline optomechanics”, W. H. Renninger, P. Kharel, R. Behunin and P. T.Rakich, Nature Physics, 14, 601 (2018).