October 27, 2016
Cui-zu Chang will receive the 2017 C10 Young Scientist Prize from the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP).
Chang, who joined the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) community in 2013, is a postdoctoral associate in Jagadeesh Moodera’s Thin Film Magnetism, Tunneling and Nano-spintronics group at the Francis Bitter Magnet Laboratory (FBML). There he has continued the research on topological insulators (TI) that he began while a doctoral student at Tsuinghau University in China.
Topological insulators allow the easy flow of electrons only on their surface while blocking the flow of electrons through their bulk. In the last several years, theorists and experimentalists have been using these extremely thin TIs, which have special properties, to research how to create electronic devices with little or no resistance to the flow of electricity. This would reduce heat output of devices and extend their capabilities, while saving energy.
As a student in China, Chang and his colleagues had studied what physicists call the quantum anomalous Hall effect - experimentally demonstrating electrons flowing only along the edge of a topological insulator film circuit, driven by an internal remnant magnetism. The system still showed remnants of electrical resistance to the edge current. At MIT, in Moodera’s group, Chang, along with his colleagues at FBML and other national collaborators, was able to go further, achieving robust and precise quantum anomalous Hall state, and dissipationless electron transport along the edge in topological insulators. They reported their results in Nature Materials and Physical Review Letters in May 2015.
Chang will receive the IUPAP C10 Young Scientist Prize at a ceremony during the American Physical Society Division of Condensed Matter Physics (DCMP) and Division of Material Physics (DMP) meeting to be held in March 2017 in New Orleans. The award recognizes exceptional achievement in the study of the structure and dynamics of condensed matter by scientists at a relatively junior stage of their career. The citation for his work praises him “for the discovery of quantum anomalous Hall effect in magnetically doped 3D topological insulator films.”