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30 Dec 2021

CUHK Physics scholar receives 2022 Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics

30 Dec 2021

Professor Renbao LIU

Professor Renbao LIU, Professor of the Department of Physics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has received the 2022 Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics in recognition of his seminal contributions to spin decoherence and quantum sensing. The award will be presented at the prestigious 51st Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics (PQE) in January 2022 in Utah, USA.

Research on spin decoherence and quantum sensing

Spin is a promising candidate for qubits, the units of quantum information. Decoherence is the collapse of quantum states due to environmental noises and is a critical issue in quantum computing and a fundamental question in quantum mechanics. Professor Liu made seminal contributions to understanding and combating spin decoherence in solid-state environments. In addition, he proposed a quantum sensing scheme for single-molecule nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and atomic-scale magnetic resonance imaging using spin quantum sensors. With his collaborators, he then achieved single-atom NMR with a world record in high sensitivity and spectral resolution. Using spin decoherence, they also made the first observation of “Lee-Yang zeros”, which were predicted by Nobel Laureates in Physics Professor T. D. Lee and Professor C. N. Yang in 1952. The observation has opened up a new approach to studying physics in complex plane with quantum sensing.

Professor Liu is deeply honoured to be given the award, and said, “This award acknowledges the leading role of Hong Kong scientists in quantum information research and will encourage our team as well as other young academics in Hong Kong to contribute more to this emerging field and develop impactful research work.”

Recognitions of research on quantum information science and technology

This year, Professor Liu was also elected a Fellow of Optica 2022 (formerly named The Optical Society), for “original contributions to nonlinear and quantum optics and their applications in quantum information technologies”. He was additionally awarded the Huang Kun Prize for Solid-state Physics and Semiconductor Physics in 2013 by the Chinese Physical Society for his contributions to solid-state quantum information processing.

Professor Liu has published more than 100 papers in international journals, including Nature, Science and Physical Review Letters. He has also been invited to speak at many reputed conferences, including the American Physical Society (APS) March Meeting, the Materials Research Society (MRS) Fall Meeting, and the International Conference on the Physics of Semiconductors. Professor Liu is a co-founder of the Quantum Sensing Gordon Research Conference at CUHK.

Professor Liu graduated from Nanjing University in 1995 and got his PhD degree in Physics from the Institute of Semiconductors of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2000. After his postdoctoral research in Tsinghua University and then in the University of California, San Diego, he joined the Department of Physics at CUHK in 2005. He is currently an Outstanding Fellow of the Faculty of Science, CUHK, the Director of the Centre for Quantum Coherence, and the Director of the Hong Kong Institute of Quantum Information Science and Technology, CUHK.

About the Willis E. Lamb Award for Laser Science and Quantum Optics

The award was inaugurated in 1998 by The Winter Colloquium on the Physics of Quantum Electronics (PQE). It honours Willis E. Lamb, Jr., a famous laser scientist and the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1955. The award is presented annually to scientists with outstanding contributions to the fields of laser science and quantum optics. Only three scholars were selected for this year.

Professor Renbao LIU

Professor Renbao LIU


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