Ali Serpengüzel attended Bogaziçi University for his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and Physics. For his Doctor of Philosophy degree he attended Yale University and worked in the group of  Professor Richard Kounai Chang, in the Applied Physics Department, and the Yale Center for Laser Diagnostics, first as a Graduate Research Assistant, and then as a Postdoctoral Research Associate. His Ph.D. thesis work was on "Applications and Characterization of Stimulated Raman Scattering in Microdroplets", which focused mainly on nonlinear laser spectroscopy of spherical microresonators. This included the design, performance, analysis, and modeling of the stimulated Raman scattering experiments in microdroplets and sprays.  At Yale, he also studied the effect of stimulated Brillouin scattering on the stimulated Raman scattering, as well as single and two photon pumped lasing processes in microdroplets. Recently, Ali Serpengüzel and Andrew Poon completed the "Optical Processes in Microparticles and Nanostructures: A Festschrift dedicated to Richard Kounai Chang on his Retirement from Yale University," in the Advanced Series in Applied Physics.

Ali Serpengüzel was also a consultant to Texaco Research Center in the field of energy related research, mainly “Laser Combustion Diagnostics,” where he performed laser induced fluorescence and Mie scattering experiments in a running optically accessible internal combustion engine. Later, he joined Polytechnic University (now part of New York University), Microparticle Photophysics Laboratory as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, where he performed the first coupling experiment of solid microspheres to optical fibers. Afterwards, he joined Bilkent University as an Assistant Professor of Physics, where he concentrated his research on the optoelectronics properties of semiconductor microcavities and semiconductor microdevices. Currently, Ali Serpengüzel is a Professor of Physics and the Founder and the Principal Investigator of the Microphotonics Research Laboratory at Koç University, where he is actively continuing his research on the photonic applications of microsphere resonators with an emphasis on silicon photonics and liquid crystal photonics.

Ali Serpengüzel contributed significantly to the linear and nonlinear laser spectroscopy of high quality factor dielectric microcavities. Work on stimulated Raman scattering in microdroplets led to the first publications on stimulated Raman scattering in sprays. Such techniques are being used in order to understand the characteristics of sprays. He was also involved in pioneering work on the coupling of dielectric microcavities to optical fibers. Such dielectric microcavities are being investigated as channel add-drop filters and devices in photonic integrated circuits (PICs). Other work has included the study of single and two photon absorption induced lasing in microdroplets.  Additional research work has been concerned primarily with photonic devices based on amorphous silicon and coupled cavity semiconductor diode lasers, as well as fundamental studies of the donor-acceptor levels in layered semiconductors.

Research included multilayer dielectric and metal mirror growth technology to modulate the luminescence of amorphous silicon in the visible region of the optical spectrum. He has also contributed to the development of microcavity based hot electron light emitting semiconductor devices.  He has now shifted much of his research effort into the Integrated Photonics with his group introduction of distributed meandering waveguides, as well as silicon microsphere based optoelectronic devices for optical fiber communication.

Ali Serpengüzel's scholarly output includes more than 80 papers published in refereed scientific journals and proceedings and more than 140 talks at scientific conferences. He has received invitations to lecture from more than 40 universities and research centers. He is the recipient of the prestigious Werner von Siemens Excellence Award for Science and Innovation from Siemens Aktiengesellschaft. He is the first Turkish Fellow of the SPIE, a member of Sigma-Xi, a senior member of the IEEE and OSA. He is the founding advisor to the Koç University Science Society, the OSA Student Chapter and the SPIE Student Chapter.