- Prof. Liang Wu (University of Pennsylvania) is a winner of the 2020 OCPA Outstanding Young Researcher Award (Macronix Prize)
Citation: For his pioneering experiments exploring topological materials with terahertz and nonlinear spectroscopy.
Bio: Prof. Wu received his undergraduate degree in physics at Nanjing University in 2010. He finished his graduate study in physics in 2015 under the supervision of Prof. Peter Armitage at the Johns Hopkins University. Afterwards he became a postdoctoral fellow in the group of Prof. Joseph Orenstein at the University of California, Berkeley from 2016-2018, before joining the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania in 2018.
Dr. Wu’s research focuses on developing and using nonlinear optics and terahertz techniques to study topological materials and quantum magnets. A few of his representative works include the observation of the quantized Faraday and Kerr rotation in the 3D topological insulator Bi2Se3 and the discovery of the giant second harmonic generation in the Weyl semimetal TaAs. The quantized terahertz rotation is the second example of quantization based on a topological invariant in solids (with the quantum Hall effect being the first), and it provides the evidence of axion electrodynamics and topological magneto-electric effect in a 3D topological insulator. The pioneer nonlinear optical work on Weyl semimetals started a research direction of topological nonlinear optics. After joining Penn in 2018, Dr. Wu has developed two new nonlinear terahertz and optical techniques to study these two classes of quantum materials. His group has pushed nonlinear terahertz emission spectroscopy to the mid-infrared regime for the first time to measure photocurrent in a contact-less method, and discovered a purely topological circular photo-galvanic effect in chiral semimetals CoSi and RhSi. The photocurrent is also the largest among crystals measured to date in the infrared regime, making them promising candidates for photodetectors based on the topological mechanism instead of p-n junctions. His group has also increased the detection sensitivity of second harmonic generation, and therefore has been able to directly detect a long-range antiferromagnetic order and image the Neel vector switching in a monolayer antiferromagnet for the first time.
Many colleagues consider Dr. Wu to be a rising star in condensed matter physics. This is reflected in the recognition he has received, including the 2019 William L. McMillan Award for Outstanding Contributions in Condensed Matter Physics and the 2017 APS Richard L. Greene Dissertation Award in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics. He has also received an Army Research Office Young Investigator Program Award in 2019.
- Prof. Yuanming Lu (Ohio State University) won the 2020 OCPA Outstanding Young Researcher Award (Macronix Prize)
Citation: For his leading theoretical investigation on the topological phases in strongly interacting systems.
Bio: Professor Yuan-Ming Lu received his B.S. degree in Fundamental Science from Tsinghua University in 2007. In 2011 he earned his Ph.D. degree at Boston College, under the supervision of Professor Ziqiang Wang. After that, he spent about three years at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as a postdoctoral scholar supervised by Professor Dung-Hai Lee and Professor Ashvin Vishwanath. In 2015 Professor Lu joined the Ohio State University as an assistant professor in the department of physics, and was promoted to a tenured associated professor in 2019.
The research of Prof. Lu has been focused on strongly correlated systems and topological phases of matters. He is best known for his works on the classification on a variety of topological phases in strongly interacting systems, including fractional quantum Hall states, fractional Chern insulators and quantum spin liquids in two-dimensional magnets. One of his most influential works is the classification and characterization of two-dimensional symmetry protected topological (SPT) phases, which are analogs of topological insulators in strongly interacting bosons and spins. He has also made influential contributions to predict physical properties of topological semimetals, including Weyl, Dirac and topological crystalline semimetals. Recently he has developed a generalization of the Lieb-Schultz-Mattis theorem to SPT phases, which can identify symmetry enforced SPT phases in strongly correlated systems. For his leading research, in 2017 Prof. Lu received the NSF career award on “Detecting and Designing Topological Orders in Frustrated Magnets”. Starting from Sep. 2020, he has been a co-lead of an interdisciplinary research group “IRG-2: Topology and Fractionalization in Magnetic Materials” in the Center for Emergent Materials, an NSF MRSEC at the Ohio State University.