News Archive (2012)

NUS scientists make a significant breakthrough in plastic solar cells

In a report carried by Nature Communications last week, a team of scientists from the Departments of Physics and Chemistry of NUS, together with the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, announced a breakthrough in the morphology control and performance of plastic solar cells. Part of the work was also carried out at the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS), owned by NUS.

AAAS Members Elected as Fellows

Congratulations to Professor Antonio H. Castro Neto who is among the 701 members selected as Fellows of AAAS by the AAAS Council. He will be recognized for his contributions to science and technology at the Fellows Forum to be held on 16 February 2013 during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

NUS physicists invented light-powered nanowalkers free of chemical waste

The group of A/P Zhisong Wang at NUS Physics, in collaboration with colleagues A/P Johan van der Maarel and Asst/P Ruchuan Liu, have made and demonstrated a bipedal nanowalker that mimics biological counterparts in design but draws energy from light. This work appears in Physical Review Letters with a news highlight.

Suzi's SEM image of her mesocrystals selected for coverpage of NanoToday!

Suzi, a Research Fellow from the Nanomaterials Research Laboratory, submitted SEM image of her mesocrystals for NanoToday coverpage competition and her work was selected! It has now officially appeared as the coverpage image of the latest issue of NanoToday.

Highlights of our recent Colloquium in EPJB

An Invited Article from Prof Li Baowen's research group published in EPJB (below) has been highlighted by EUROPHYSICS NEWS : EPJ B Colloquium - Too small to follow the law – Anomalous heat conduction and anomalous diffusion in low dimensional nanoscale systems. by S. Liu et al., Eur. Phys. J. B (2012) 85: 337, DOI: 10.1140/epjb/e2012-30383-8

Research paper published in Nature Physics

Prof. Scarani’s new research paper published in Nature Physics: Quantum non-locality based on finite-speed causal influences leads to superluminal signalling. An experiment has been proposed that could make us to make a choice between extremes to describe the behavior of the Universe. It is based on what the researchers call a 'hidden influence inequality' exposing how quantum predictions challenge our best understanding about the nature of space and time, Einstein's theory of relativity.

Young Scientist Awards (YSA) 2012

Congratulations to Assistant Professor Chen Wei who are among the 2012 Young Scientist Award winners. Dr. Chen received this prestigious award for his research on interface engineering for molecular, organic and graphene electronics.

A/P Dagomir Kaszlikowski's research paper published in PRL on navigation of birds was highlighted in headlines of Physicsworld

This idea has now been bolstered by a new study from physicists in Singapore, who have shown that the spin-based process and the dynamics of a proposed "compass" molecule take place over similar timescales.

3M Young Scientist award and distinction (Gold) poster award

Congratulations to Dr M.V. Reddy and his NUS High school SMP 2012 students for winning the "3M Young Scientist award and distinction (Gold) poster award". Their research project was chosen as the top project in the Physics, Chemistry & Engineering categories. It is also the first time for Physics Department project to win the above award at the Youth Science Conference since 2007.

SMP Outstanding Mentor Award 2012

Congratulations to Dr M. V. Reddy for receiving the "SMP Outstanding Mentor Award 2012" from Ministry of Education (MOE), Singapore. Previous years, (2011 and 2010) consecutively he won outstanding SMP oustanding mentor award from MOE. Dr .Reddy strives to cultivate the spirit of inquiry in students who are interested in science and gives inspirational mentoring to local high school students for their research projects.

National Day 2012 Awards

Professor Lai Choy Heng is the recipient of this year's National Day Long Service Medal. Congratulations Prof Lai!


These Chair Professorships are for a three-year term with effect from 1 July 2012, and are bestowed in recognition of their excellent academic contributions to the Faculty and international recognition in their fields of research.

Provost's Chair : Professor Valerio Scarani
Professor Scarani did seminal work on quantum cryptography. He invented a new protocol for more robustly distributing secret messages between distant partners using laser sources. His works on device-independent quantum cryptography and "information causality" are hugely influential and has earned him an international reputation.

Dean's Chairs : Associate Professor Peter Ho
Assoc Prof Ho has made outstanding contributions to the fundamental physics and solution to technological issues of organic semi-conductor devices, such as light-emitting diodes, field-effect transistors, and solar cells. Leading the Organic Nano Device Laboratory (NUS), he and his team has made a number of recent breakthroughs and innovations such as robust polymer-nanometal composites with composition-tuneable conductivity, or novel high-performance polymer semiconductor heterostructures for light-emitting diodes and photovoltaic applications.

Quantized Adiabatic Transport In Momentum Space

A/P Gong Jiangbin's most recent publication with his student, Derek Ho was highlighted as "Editor's Suggestion" by PRL Derek Y. H. Ho and Jiangbin Gong, Quantized Adiabatic Transport In Momentum Space, Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 010601 (2012). Though topological aspects of energy bands are known to play a key role in quantum transport in solid-state systems, the implications of Floquet band topology for transport in momentum space (i.e., acceleration) have not been explored so far. Using a ratchet accelerator model inspired by existing cold-atom experiments, here we characterize a class of extended Floquet bands of one-dimensional driven quantum systems by Chern numbers, reveal topological phase transitions therein, and theoretically predict the quantization of adiabatic transport in momentum space. Numerical results confirm our theory and indicate the feasibility of experimental studies.

Novel findings on a universal gene-silencing nucleoprotein structure in bacterial

Recent research led by Aassociate Professor Yan Jie at the department of physics and principal investigator at MBI (Mechanobiology Institute), NUS, reported that the E. coli H-NS and its paralogue StpA form rigid helical nucleoprotein filaments on DNA.

World Future Foundation (WFF) PhD Prize Recipient

Congratulations to Dr. Chen Jie for receiving this year's World Future Foundation (WFF) PhD Prize in Environmental and Sustainability Research, the only such award in Singapore that recognises excellence in doctoral-level environmental and sustainability research.

Fluoropolymer drops graphene's resistance

It was reported that Assistant Professor Özyilmaz Barbaros from the Department of Physics at the NUS Faculty of Science and researchers from Sungkyunkwan University in Suwon, South Korea worked together to develop a simple, more permanent strategy for boosting graphene's conductance.

Unveiling the Mystery of DNA overstretching transitions

In a series of publications, Assoc/Prof Yan Jie and his team recently made several significant breakthroughs in resolving this debate, confirming the existence of S-DNA. They demonstrated that the overstretching transition produces both types of structural reorganization, depending on minor changes in the physiological environmental conditions. The PNAS paper was published online.

Quantum Information Motion Control Is Now Improved

It was reported that a team of physicists from the Centre for Computational Science and Engineering of the NUS Faculty of Science and China's Zhejiang University have devised a new method for handling the effect of the interplay between vibrations and electrons on electronic transport. The study could have implications for quantum computers due to improvements in the transport of discrete amounts of information, known as qubits, that are encoded in electrons. It was also mentioned that their paper is about to be published in The European Physical Journal B. A similar report was carried in Online (3 April 2012).

Faculty Search for Astrophysics Lecturership

The Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore (NUS), invites Astrophysicists to apply for teaching-track faculty positions at Lecturer level. Preference will be given to outstanding applicants who specialize in the Large Scale Structures of the Universe, Cosmological Many-body Problem, Galaxy Clustering, Merging and Evolution, Practical Astronomy and Telescopic & Observatory Instrumentation.

NUS hosts Institute of Physics Singapore meeting

More than 180 physics researchers from across Singapore gathered at the NUS Faculty of Science for the annual meeting of the Institute of Physics Singapore (IPS), 23-24 February. With plenty of talks and poster presentations, the IPS Meeting 2012 provided an excellent opportunity to strengthen ties in the local physics community. Participants came from NUS, the Nanyang Technological University and the A*STAR research institutes. Also offering a small, vibrant trade fair, the IPS Meeting 2012 provided plenty of networking opportunities. NUS is proud to have hosted the meeting.

CQT participates in global science event

CQT participated 16-20 February in one of the world's most significant gatherings in science - the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The interdisciplinary meeting attracts a global group of leading scientists, policy-makers and the media, as well as many members of the public.

Taiwan International Science Fair 2012

Congratulations to Iris Ng and her teammates for winning the 1st award at Taiwan International Science Fair 2012 (Engineering Category). Iris Ng is a student from Dunman High School who worked in Assoc Prof Sow Chorng Haur's lab on a science project as part of their enrichment program. She and her teammates are guided by Lim Xiaodai Sharon.

Germany Immersion Trip 2012

The immersion trip will be heavily subsidized by the Faculty of Science and the Physics Department, and an affordable contribution will be paid by the students. It is open to all NUS Physics students.

Most Downloaded - Applied Physics Letters

Congratulations to Professor VENKATESAN, Thirumalai Venky's research group. Their paper "Metal-insulator transition at a depleted LaAlO3/SrTiO3 interface: Evidence for charge transfer induced by SrTiO3 phase transitions" is the most downloaded paper in Applied Physics Letters.

Congratulations Prof Thirumalai Venkatesan

Prof Venkatesan won the prestigious APS George E. Pake Prize 2012 for his exemplary scientific career in research, industrial leadership, and guidance of new generations of physicists in the creation new ventures by innovation.

Congratulations Dr Wang Xiao

Dr Wang Xiao was awarded a prestigious Rubicon Grant. His proposal "Nanoscale Oxide Electronics" has won a 2-year grant to study his postdoctoral research in University of Twente (The Netherlands).An alphabet list of awarded grants in this round could be found in the link Currently he is a PHD student in NUSNNI-Nanocore under Asst/Prof Ariando and Prof. T. Venkatesan supervision.

The Rubicon programme is a research programme funded by both Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and EU Marie Curie Actions. It is directed at promising young postdoctoral researchers who are still at the start of their careers but whose academic strengths give them the potential to become established figures in the Dutch research world. The Rubicon programme is open to all scientific disciplines, e.g. language, culture, science and law, and all nationalities. It offers researchers the opportunity to gain knowledge, skills and experience by spending up to 2 years at a top research institute outside the Netherlands. There is also a limited opportunity to apply for a research period at an excellent Dutch research institute.

Congratulations Dr M .V. Reddy

Dr Reddy, together with his three project students (Ang Yen Ling, Lee Yann Tsyr Andreea, Justin Ng Choon Hwee) from NUS High School won the "Best Poster Award" in the 5th MRS-S Conference on Advanced Materials, Singapore, March 20 - 22, 2012.

Outstanding Lectureship Lectureship Award

In recognition of his contributions to theoretical/computational studies of nanomaterials, Dr. Zhang Chun was awarded the “Outstanding Lectureship Award” by the Chemical Society of Japan (CSJ) at the 92nd annual meeting of the Chemical Society of Japan (CSJ) held in Keio University from March 26 to 29, 2012.

Dr. Zhang was a keynote speaker at the conference. Seven other young researchers (approximately under 40) in different fields of chemistry from the Asian Pacific region also received the award for their cutting-edge research in their own fields. The award includes a cash prize of 100K JPY and a one-year free pass for the electronic version of the Bulletin of Chemical Society of Japan and Chemistry Letters published by CSJ. The award will definitely help to increase the impact of Dr. Zhang’s work (in particular, his recent work on catalytic activity of graphene-based catalysis) in the chemical society of Japan as well as in the world.

Singapore Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) 2012

Asst/Prof Andrew Anthony Bettiol, A/Prof Sow Chorng Haur, Prof Chowdari, B VR, Dr. M.V. Reddy and A/Prof Peter Ho mentored the following winning school projects at the recent Singapore Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) 2012. We also wish to thank the many other mentors who have put in considerable time and effort to mentor our SMP, SRP and SCIENTIA students. The Faculty appreciates the effort and encourages all staff to participate in these programmes to inspire our school students to do science.

List of SSEF winning projects with mentors from FoS
GOLD: Project PA026 mentored by Assistant Professor Andrew Anthony Bettiol
BRONZE: Projects EB066, EB053 mentored by Associate Professor Sow Chorng Haur
Project CH023 mentored by Professor Chowdari, B VR and Dr. M.V. Reddy
MERIT: Projects CH012, EB044 mentored by Professor Chowdari, B VR and Dr. M.V. Reddy
Project EB016 mentored by Associate Professor Peter Ho

Best Poster Award

Mr. Liu Zhiqi won the “Best Poster Award” in the 5th MRS-S Conference on Advanced Materials, Singapore, March 20 - 22, 2012. Currently he is a PHD student in NUSNNI-Nanocore under Asst/Prof Ariando and Prof. T. Venkatesan supervision.

Inspiring Mentor Award 2012

A/P Sow Chorng Haur and Dr M V Venkatashamy Reddy received the "Inspiring Mentor Award 2012" from NUS High school (SCIENTIA projects NUSHS 2012). They strive to cultivate the spirit of inquiry in students who are interested in science and gives inspirational mentoring to NUS High school students for their research projects. The awards would be presenting to them during NUS High school's research congress on 21 Feb, 2012.

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