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Outstanding Researcher Award 2015

Dr Wang YAO
Department of Physics


Dr Yao received his BSc degree from Peking University in 2001, and his PhD from the University of California, San Diego in 2006. After two years undertaking postdoctoral work at the University of Texas at Austin, he joined the University of Hong Kong as Assistant Professor in 2008, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2014.

The central theme of Dr Yao’s research is to explore novel quantum phenomena associated with internal degrees of freedom of electrons such as spin and valley pseudospin for new concept quantum devices. His team is currently exploring such phenomena in atomically thin two-dimensional materials and their van der Waals heterostructures. Dr Yao’s most representative work is the discovery of the physics associated with electron valley pseudospin, previously thought to be unusable for the lack of control over this degree of freedom. His predictions of the valley Hall effect and valley optical selection rules have been observed in various two-dimensional materials, making it possible for valley pseudospin to be used as an information carrier with electrical and optical controllability in optoelectronics. He received the Croucher Innovation Award in 2013, HKU Outstanding Young Researcher Award in 2013, and OCPA Achievement in Asia Award (Robert T. Poe Prize) by the International Organization of Chinese Physicists and Astronomers in 2014.

Dr Yao is a theoretician who works very closely with experimentalists. He enjoys both predicting new phenomena and identifying new physics from unexpected experimental observations.