2012
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Mathematic and Physical Sciences
 
Growth and Quantum Phenomena of High Quality Topological Insulator Films
 
Topological insulator is a bulk insulator with conducting surface. This quantum material is promising for future applications in information technology. The main scientific achievements of the awardees include: establishment of the growth dynamics of MBE topological films with high quality, which provides the material basis for studying quantum anomalous Hall effect, giant thermoelectric effect, etc; observation of quasiparticle scattering by surface impurities, which proves the existence of surface states protected by time-reversal symmetry; observation of Landau quantization of topological surface states and the field-independent zeroth order Landau level; observation of the coupling between topologcal surface states on two surfaces and the opening of energy gap. These progresses help to promote China as one of the research centers for this rapidly developed research area.
 
Awardee:
Prof. Qi-Kun Xue was born in 1963. He received his PhD degree in condensed matter physics from Institute of Physics, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 1994. From 1994 to 1999, he worked as a research associate in Professor Toshio Sakurai's group, IMR, Tohoku University, Japan and a visiting Assistant Professor in Professor David Aspnes' group, Department of Physics, North Carolina State University, USA. He became a professor at Institute of Physics, CAS in 1999. He was elected into the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2005. Since 2005, he has been a Cheung Kong distinguished professor in Department of Physics, Tsinghua University. He was the director of State Key Laboratory for Surface Physics from 1999 to 2005. He has been the Chair of Department of Physics and the Dean of School of Sciences of Tsinghua University since 2010 and the director of State Key Laboratory of Low-Dimensional Quantum Physics since 2011. His research interests include scanning tunneling microcopy/spectroscopy, molecular beam epitaxy growth of semiconductor and metal thin films, low-dimensional superconductivity, molecule-based spintronics, topological insulators, and quantum size effects in low-dimensional structures. Prof. Xue has authored or coauthored more than 300 papers which were citied over 4700 times, including 2 in Science, 5 in Nature Physics, 1 in PNAS, 28 in Physical Review Letters. He has presented more than 70 invited talks at international conferences. His research works were selected as Top Ten Achievements for Science and Technology in Chinese Universities (2010, 2011) and Top Ten Achievements for Science in China (2010). The major awards he has received include National Funds for Distinguished Young Scientists (1997), National Prize for Advancement in Natural Science (second class, 2004, 2011), HLHL Advancement Prize in Science and Technology (2006), TWAS Prize in Physics (2010) and Qiu Shi Award for Outstanding Team Achievement (2011).
 
Prof. Xi Chen was born in October, 1970. He received B.S. degree from Tsinghua University in 1993 and Ph.D. degree from Cornell University in 2004. He became an assistant professor of physics at Tsinghua University in 2006 and was promoted to professor of physics in 2010. He was awarded National Funds for Distinguished Young Scientists in 2010, National Prize for Advancement in Natural Science (second class) in 2011 and Qiu Shi Award for Outstanding Team Achievement in 2011. His research works were selected as Top Ten Achievements for Science and Technology in Chinese Universities (2010, 2011) and Top Ten Achievements for Science in China (2010). His research field is experimental condensed matter physics. His recent works include single spin detection using STM, superconductivity in single atomic layer films, demonstration of time-reversal symmetry in topological insulator, Landau quantization of topological insulator, observation of nodes and twofold symmetry in FeSe superconductor and phase separation in KFe2Se2 superconductor. 

Ma Xucun, born in November 1971, received her BS degree in Chemistry from Department of Chemistry, Peking University in 1992, received her PhD degree in Physics from Institute of Physics, CAS in 2000. From 2000 to 2002 she worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in Max-Planck-Institut fr Mikrostrukturphysik, Germany. Currently she is working as a full professor and the group leader in Institute of Physics, CAS. Her main research interests are on the growth and atomic-level control of thin films (including topological insulators), and the novel physical/chemical properties and quantum effects in nanostructures, mainly using molecular beam epitaxy combined scanning tunneling microscopy, and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy.