SUSTech President Qikun XUE receives Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize
On October 24, the American Physical Society (APS) announced that Qikun XUE, President of the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), Chair Professor of College of Science(SUSTech), Professor of Tsinghua University and Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), has received the 2024 Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize (Oliver E. Buckley Prize) in recognition of his achievements in the fields related to topological insulators and the quantum anomalous Hall effect.
It marks the first time the prize has been awarded to a Chinese physicist since its establishment in 1953.
The Oliver E. Buckley Prize is recognized as the highest international award in the field of condensed matter physics, and aims to recognize scientists who have made outstanding theoretical or experimental contributions to condensed matter physics.
Qikun XUE and Ashvin Vishwanath, Professor at Harvard University, are the joint recipients of this year’s prize. They received it “for groundbreaking theoretical and experimental studies on the collective electronic properties of materials that reflect topological aspects of their band structure”.
With innovative breakthroughs in topological insulator research and the discovery of the quantum anomalous Hall effect in topological insulators, Qikun XUE has become the first Chinese recipient of the Oliver E. Buckley Prize in its 70-year history.
It is a further recognition from the international physics community of his and his research team’s work for years in the fields of topological insulators and quantum anomalous Hall effect, and achieved extraordinary results.
The quantum anomalous Hall effect is an important quantum effect in condensed matter physics. For a long time, making it “appear” and materialize experimental observations has been incredibly difficult, and it has been a scientific aim that innumerable researchers have struggled to pursue.
Since 2009, Qikun XUE, together with several research groups from the Department of Physics at Tsinghua University, the Institute of Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Stanford University, formed a research team with the objective of exploring the field of topological insulators. Their collective efforts aimed to make significant advancements in this scientific domain.
In late 2012, Professor XUE and his research team achieved a significant milestone by successfully conducting the first-ever experimental observation of the quantum anomalous Hall effect, following a series of persistent efforts to overcome various challenges. The result was published in the journal Science in May 2013 and was highly praised by reviewers, calling it a landmark work in the field of condensed matter physics.
This particular physical phenomenon, which has been detected by Chinese scientists in independent studies, is widely recognized as a noteworthy scientific finding within the realm of worldwide fundamental research. It is one of the most important experimental advances in the world of physics and has led a new direction for subsequent international condensed matter physics research.
In recent years, many research teams domestically and internationally have made new breakthroughs on this basis.
In the field of application, the quantum anomalous Hall effect and its non-dissipative edge state may be used in the future to develop a new generation of low-energy electronic devices and solve a series of bottleneck problems.
Over the course of the previous decade, Qikun XUE and his research team have continuously engaged in the investigation of topological quantum physics. Efforts have been consistently made to enhance the observation temperature, explore novel materials, and achieve significant advancements. Simultaneously, their objective is to facilitate the transition of experimental findings into practical implementation, while actively fostering innovation within the domestic information technology sector.
In addition to topological quantum physics, his research team has also targeted the field of high-temperature superconductivity in recent years to explore the mysteries of the material world.
The superconductivity and high-temperature superconductivity fields have also received continuous attention from generations of physicists for more than a hundred years. Their research has promoted a deep understanding of nature, especially the laws of electrical resistance transmission. However, it has also left many problems that are still unresolved in the field of physics.
In 2012, he led a research team from the Department of Physics at Tsinghua University to discover interface high-temperature superconductivity derived from the combination of a single layer of iron-selenium and a strontium titanate single crystal substrate.
This discovery challenged the mainstream consensus and led to the publication of a paper in 2021 to further propose unique and innovative ideas.
Making new discoveries in the study of the mechanism of high-temperature superconductivity is the next scientific goal for Prof. XUE and his research team.
Qikun XUE has been the recipient of various accolades, including one first-class National Natural Science Award, two second-class National Natural Science Awards, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) Prize in Physics, the Tan Kah Kee Science Award, the Qiu Shi Outstanding Scientist Award, the Ho Leung Ho Lee Science and Technology Achievement Award, the Physical Science Award of the Future Science Prize, State Natural Science Award (the First Prize), Fritz London Memorial Prize, Outstanding Contribution Zhongguancun Award, and Fudan-Zhongzhi Science Award, amongst other awards and honors.
“These accomplishments have been attributed to the nation’s sustained advancements in the fields of science and technology, as well as the extensive accumulation of fundamental scientific research over an extended period of time. These distinctions are attributed to all researchers within the team as well as the entire nation”, Professor XUE said.
He has the belief that China will contribute to international growth through the emergence of more scientific breakthroughs and achievements. He noted that he would lead the research team at SUSTech and Tsinghua University to continue to develop and make breakthroughs in the fields of topological quantum physics and high-temperature superconductivity. Professor XUE emphasized the team’s commitment to addressing significant scientific challenges faced by society and propelling the country’s fundamental scientific research to a prominent global position.