The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

92° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Professor of optical sciences, Galina Khitrova, passes away at 57

    College of Optical Sciences
    Headshot of Professor of Optical Sciences Galina Khitrova in August 2014.

    Optical sciences’ professor Galina Khitrova passed away June 4 in her Tucson home due to chronic health issues. She is known for being a brave experimentalist and for her unique partnerships. Following her Ph.D. in physics from New York University, Khitrova came to the UA Optical Sciences Center as an assistant research scientist in 1986.

    Khitrova is internationally known for her significant contributions in semiconductor optics, nonlinear optics of quantum wells and dots and cavity quantum and electrodynamics.

    One of her most profound contributions includes her 2004 paper published in Nature titled “Vacuum Rabi splitting with a single quantum dot in a photonic crystal nanocavity,” for which she received 1,259 citations.

    RELATED: UA optics department celebrates 50th anniversary

     Khitrova married UA professor emeritus of optical sciences Hyatt Gibbs, a close colleague from the college, in 1991. They enjoyed traveling together, and appreciated each other’s energy. They formed a unique research group with visiting scientists, post-docs, graduate students utilizing unique research capabilities based on molecular beam epitaxy to grow high-purity, high-quality semiconductor quantum wells, quantum dots and multi-quantum wells.

    Dean of the College of Optical Sciences, Thomas L. Koch, wrote in a College of Optical Sciences press release that “[Khitrova] was a fearless and intrepid experimentalist, constantly breaking new ground and attracting exciting partnerships.”

    Khitrova was pleased to characterize her work as “curiosity driven looking for surprises,” according to the release.

    RELATED: Optics undergrads win competition

    In addition to her contributions as an experimentalist, Khitrova was also known for being on public policy, prize and conference committees. She also chaired conferences and international advisory boards. To her, science involved more than just laboratories and experiments—it was also about meeting people.

    James C. Wyant, professor emeritus of optical sciences and founding dean of College of Optical Sciences, told the College of Optical Science media that Khitrova loved her students and treated them as family. She gave them the opportunity to conduct research in labs in Europe, Asia and the United States.

    Khitrova is remembered as a pioneer in her field and a close friend and colleague to many people around the world. The UA community sends condolences to her family and to those who knew her closely.

    Follow Varuska Patni on Twitter.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search