Haiyan Gao

Haiyan Gao

Henry Newson Distinguished Professor of Physics

Professor of Physics

Professor of Physics at Duke Kunshan University (Secondary)

Office Location: 
Ffsc 2313, Science Drive, Durham, NC 27708
Front Office Address: 
Box 90308, Durham, NC 27708-0308
(919) 660-2622


Prof. Gao's research focuses on understanding the structure of the nucleon in terms of quark and gluon degrees of freedom of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), search for QCD exotics, and fundamental symmetry studies at low energy to search for new physics beyond the Standard Model of electroweak interactions. Most recently, her group's studies of the structure of the nucleon have been focusing on a precision measurement of the proton (see her group's 2019 Nature paper on this topic) and deuteron charge radii to elucidate on the proton and the deuteron charge radius puzzles, and on imaging the three-dimensional structure of the nucleon in momentum space through the extraction of transverse momentum dependent parton distribution functions (TMDs), employing polarized semi-inclusive deep inelastic scattering processes. The nucleon tomography provided by TMDs will uncover the rich QCD dynamics, and provide quantitative information about the quark orbital angular momentum contribution to the proton spin. TMDs will also provide information on fundamental quantities such as the tensor charge of the nucleon, a quantity not only important for testing lattice QCD predictions, but also important for searches of new physics beyond the Standard Model together with the next generation of nucleon electric dipole moment experiments. Her group is playing leading roles in the Solenoidal Large Intensity Device (SoLID) project at Jefferson Lab, a high profile program which will make major impact on TMD physics, proton mass puzzle through precision measurement of J/psi production near threshold, and search for new physics beyond the Standard Model using parity-violating deep inelastic scattering. Most of her work utilizes the novel experimental technique of scattering polarized electrons or photons from polarized gas targets. Her group has built a number of state-of-the-art polarized gas targets including H/D internal gas target and a high-pressure polarized 3He target for photon experiments using the High Intensity Gamma Source (HIGS) facility at the Duke Free Electron Laser Laboratory (DFELL). Her research is being carried out mostly at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLab) in Newport News, Virginia, and the HIGS facility at DFELL.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., California Institute of Technology 1994

  • B.S., Tsinghua University (China) 1988

Ye, Z., et al. “Unveiling the nucleon tensor charge at Jefferson Lab: A study of the SoLID case.” Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High Energy Physics, vol. 767, Apr. 2017, pp. 91–98. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2017.01.046. Full Text

Ji, W., et al. “Searching for new spin-dependent interactions with SmCo5 spin sources and a spin-exchange-relaxation-free comagnetometer.” Physical Review D, vol. 95, no. 7, Apr. 2017. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.95.075014. Full Text

Yan, X., et al. “First measurement of unpolarized semi-inclusive deep-inelastic scattering cross sections from a He 3 target.” Physical Review C, vol. 95, no. 3, Mar. 2017. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.95.035209. Full Text

Flay, D., et al. “Measurements of d2n and A1n: Probing the neutron spin structure.” Physical Review D, vol. 94, no. 5, Sept. 2016. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.94.052003. Full Text

Accardi, A., et al. “Electron-Ion Collider: The next QCD frontier: Understanding the glue that binds us all.” European Physical Journal A, vol. 52, no. 9, Sept. 2016. Scopus, doi:10.1140/epja/i2016-16268-9. Full Text Open Access Copy

Huang, Y., et al. “Non-uniformity effects of the inter-foil distance on GEM detector performance.” Chinese Physics C, vol. 40, no. 4, Apr. 2016. Scopus, doi:10.1088/1674-1137/40/4/046001. Full Text

Laskaris, G., et al. “Measurement of the doubly-polarized He3→(γ→,n)pp reaction at 16.5 MeV and its implications for the GDH sum rule.” Physics Letters, Section B: Nuclear, Elementary Particle and High Energy Physics, vol. 750, Nov. 2015, pp. 547–51. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2015.09.065. Full Text

Zhang, Y. .. W., et al. “Measurement of the Target-Normal Single-Spin Asymmetry in Quasielastic Scattering from the Reaction (3)He(↑)(e,e').Physical Review Letters, vol. 115, no. 17, Oct. 2015, p. 172502. Epmc, doi:10.1103/physrevlett.115.172502. Full Text

Solvignon, P., et al. “Moments of the neutron g2 structure function at intermediate Q2.” Physical Review C  Nuclear Physics, vol. 92, no. 1, July 2015. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.92.015208. Full Text

Zhao, Y. X., et al. “Double spin asymmetries of inclusive hadron electroproduction from a transversely polarized He 3 target.” Physical Review C  Nuclear Physics, vol. 92, no. 1, July 2015. Scopus, doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.92.015207. Full Text


Gao, H., et al. “Study of the GDH sum rule of 3He at HIGS.” Proceedings of Science, vol. 86, 2009.

Qian, X., et al. “Study of semi-inclusive deep inelastic (e, e 'pi(+/-)) production with a polarized He-3 target.” Spin Physics, edited by D. G. Crabb et al., vol. 1149, AMER INST PHYSICS, 2009, pp. 457-+.

Gao, Haiyan. “Compton scattering from a high pressure polarized He-3 target at HI gamma S.” Czechoslovak Journal of Physics, vol. 56, INST PHYSICS ACAD SCI CZECH REPUBLIC, 2006, pp. C323–28.

Gao, Haiyan, and Christopher Crawford. “Proton electric to magnetic form factor ratio from spin-dependent electron scattering from polarized internal hydrogen gas target.” Czechoslovak Journal of Physics, vol. 56, INST PHYSICS ACAD SCI CZECH REPUBLIC, 2006, pp. C337–42.