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Mathematics and Physics

Awardee:  Yu-Ao Chen
Under the mentorship of Prof. Jian-Wei Pan, Yu-Ao Chen received his master's degree from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in 2004 and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Heidelberg in 2008. He then joined the QUANTUM group in the University of Mainz as a postdoctoral researcher. He subsequently moved with the group to Max-Planck Institute for Quantum Optics and the Ludwig-Maximilians University, where he became the project leader for the experiment of ultracold bosonic quantum gases in optical super-lattices. In 2011, Yu-Ao was selected as a "Youth Thousand Talent Plan" scholar by the "Recruitment Program of Global Experts" and then appointed as a professor at USTC.

Prof. Chen current research focuses on quantum manipulation of photons and atoms including the further development of multi-photon entanglement research, fundamental research on long-distance free-space quantum communication, exploration of atomic-ensemble based quantum memory and the study of ultra-cold atoms in optical lattices based quantum many body physics. He has authored or co-authored over 40 peer-reviewed publications that have attracted over 3300 citations.

In recognition of "outstanding achievements in the fields of multi-photon entanglement, quantum communication, quantum computation and quantum simulation based on manipulation of photons and atoms", the European Physical Society recently awarded him the 2013 Fresnel Prize for fundamental aspects. And later Yu-Ao received the "Qiu Shi Outstanding Youth Scholar" from Qiushi Science & Technologies Foundation. Meanwhile, since 2013, he was appointed as the Chief Engineer for Quantum Communication Beijing-Shanghai Backbone project, which aiming a quantum secure communication network from Beijing to Shanghai over more than 2000 kilometers.

Award-winning achievement: Experimental Research in Quantum Physics and Quantum Information

Abstract: Quantum information science is a new field of science and technology, combining and drawing on the disciplines of physical science, mathematics, computer science, and engineering. Since the middle of 1990's, quantum information science has been a new interdisciplinary research field with the potential to cause revolutionary advances in the fields of computation and communication by exploiting the information theory and the physical law of quantum mechanics. Yuao Chen has been working on experimental quantum foundations. He did his best to develop the techniques of quantum control with photons and atoms, which have been systematically applied to quantum communication, quantum computation, quantum simulation, and etc. Together with his colleagues, he has performed a number of significant experiments in the field. He has realized for the first time in the world five- six- and eight-photon entanglement and kept the records. Based on the multi-photon entanglement, he has demonstrated quantum teleportation and entanglement distribution over 100-kilometer free-space channels. Based on an eight-photon cluster-state, he experimentally realized the topological error correction, which has highest tolerable error threshold in quantum computation and represents an important step towards large scale quantum computing. Further, together with his colleagues, he has systematically developed the atomic ensemble based quantum memory with long storage time and high retrieve efficiency. He has realized memory-built-in quantum teleportation between photonic and atomic qubits, which realized an interface between photonic and atomic qubits. Based on such an interface, together with his colleagues he, for the first time in the world, entangled two atomic ensembles with entanglement swapping. Together with the built-in storage ability, it is a first demonstration of quantum repeater. All these achievements have pave the way to scalable quantum information processing.