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Cheng-Wei Qiu, Co-EiC of eLight, is awarded the President’s Science Award 2023

Release date: 23 Oct 2023

Prof. Cheng-Wei Qiu was awarded the President’s Science Award 2023 for his trailblazing contributions to topological thermal materials and diffusion physics, pioneering the fundamental framework in structured thermal metamaterials, quantum heat transport, advanced cooling technologies, and non-reciprocal thermal photonics.

Over the past 15 years, Prof. Cheng-Wei Qiu has conducted groundbreaking research on topological thermal diffusion and quantum heat transport. His work has established new frontiers in the classical fields of thermal diffusion, circumventing the intrinsic limitations of conventional heat transfer laws. His studies have yielded unprecedented opportunities in ultra-high thermal conductivity, non-reciprocal heat transfer, thermal metamaterials, thermal harvesting and management, advanced cooling technologies, and energy sustainability.

Conventional knowledge of thermal diffusion was insufficient to address challenges in global warming, energy crisis, heat waste, and the self-heating of integrated microelectronic chips arising from the limitations of thermal conductivities of natural bulk materials in meeting the demand for rapid heat dissipation and diffusion.

Prof Qiu's discovery and advancement of quantum and topological behaviour in thermal diffusion drastically changed the landscape of thermal science.

 Some of his groundbreaking discoveries include quantum anti-parity-time mechanics in heat transfer, thermal zero-index material, phase-transition thermal diffusion, non-reciprocal heat transfer, spatiotemporal thermal lattice, diffusive Fizeau drag, diffusive non-Hermitian Weyl rings, passive ultra-conductive materials, thermal Willis couplings, and chiral diffusion. These notable scientific achievements heralded a new approach to controlling the heat transfer and diffusion processes enabled by quantum mechanics and topological physics.

Overcoming bottlenecks in thermal dissipation, conduction, and radiation, his research has unlocked new possibilities for applications that exploit ultra-high thermal conductivity, edge-state heat transfer, thermal locking and cooling, influencing diverse areas, including microelectronics, chip technologies, thermal imaging, and carbon neutrality.

 Thermal camouflaging and cloaking technologies developed by Prof Qiu have impacted infrared monitoring, night vision, and infrared deception applications. His work on sensitive thermography significantly enhanced thermal imaging resolution and contrast, bringing about radical disruptions in electronics diagnostics, healthcare monitoring, thermal imaging, and construction defect detection.

He has also pioneered a series of innovations in topological thermal diffusion – solutions to overcome the rising challenges of heat dissipation, overheating issues, and low-grade heat upcycling in integrated chips, computing servers for IoTs, and other related industries.

Prof. Qiu has published over 480 papers with more than 40,000 citations. His list of awards in the past 5 years include:

 President’s Science Award, Republic of Singapore 2023.

 Fellow, American Physical Society, 2023. One of the current three APS Fellows in NUS.

 Fellow, ASEAN Academy of Engineering and Technology, 2023

Achievement in Asia Award (Robert T. Poe Prize) 2023, by International Organization of Chinese Physicists and Astronomers (based in US), 2023. Past awardees include Dr. Che-Ting Chan (Associate Vice President, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology), Dr. En-Ge Wang (former President of Peking University; current Vice President of Chinese Academy of Sciences), Dr. Qing-Shi Zhu (former President of University of Science & Technology of China), Dr. Jianguo Hou (former President of University of Science & Technology of China; current President of Chinese Academy of Sciences), etc. Past award panel includes eminent physicists:Yuen-Ron Shen(Berkeley), Xiao-Gang Wen (MIT), Chen-Ning Yang(Nobel Laureate),Steven Chu(Nobel Laureate), etc.

Highly Cited Researchers (2019,2020,2021,2022,2023), Web of Science

Optics in 2023, Optics & Photonics News, Optica (formerly known as OSA). The most premium award for selected papers in all papers published in all journals of Optica in 2023.

Fellow, SPIE, US 2023. One of the current two SPIE Fellows in NUS

Fellow, Optica, US 2022. The only current Optica Fellow in NUS

Fellow, The Electromagnetics Academy, US, 2021. One of the current two EMA Fellows in NUS.

World Scientific Medal, Institute of Physics, Singapore 2021

Optics in 2021, Optics & Photonics News, Optica (formerly known as OSA). The most premium award for selected papers in all papers published in all journals of Optica in 2021.

Physics World Top 10 Breakthrough 2020. The only award Singapore received in the past 10 years.

China’s Top 10 Optical Breakthroughs for 4 times (2019, 2020, 2021(one in Fundamental Category, the other in Applied Category), as overseas collaborators

 Engineering Research Award, NUS 2019. The only one in the history of College of Design and Engineering receiving this award at the rank of Associate Professor.

Engineering Young Research Award, NUS 2018. Renamed from 2012 Faculty Young Research Award. The only one in the history of College of Design and Engineering receiving this award twice.

SPIE Rising Researcher Award, SPIE, USA. The only awardee outside USA in 2018 batch.

His outstanding contributions extend beyond the pursuit of academic excellence. Under his dedicated mentorship, nearly 30 research group members have emerged as leaders of high-tech companies, achieved their own academic standing, and received prestigious accolades.

They include ICO/ICTP Gallieno Denardo Award, Humboldt Scholar, Nanyang Assistant Professor in NTU, CEO of Metalenx, CTO of Transcelestial Technologies, MIT TR35 China, MIT TR35 Asia Pacific, multiple recipients of Distinguished Young Scholars of NSFC, multiple recipients of “Rising Stars of Light” by Light: Science & Applications, 20th Anniversary Challenge Award by Optica Foundation, Forbes 30 under 30 Asia 2023, many other technical awards received by his mentees, as well as leading administrative roles like vice Dean of School of Physics in University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, vice Dean of School of Physics in Harbin Institute of Technology.