TAN KAH KEE Science Award

Tan Kah Kee Physical Science Award

Zhao Zhongxian was from Xinmin, Liaoning province and he graduated from China University of Science and Technology with a major in low-temperature physics in 1964. Zhao Zhongxian has been engaged in research on low temperature and superconductor in Physics Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences ever since graduation. From the year 1976, he started research in high critical-temperature superconductors.

In 1987, Zhao Zhongxian discovered superconductors in liquid nitrogen temperature region, making him one of the forerunners in the world in the research on high-temperature superconductor. In September of 1987, The Third World Academy of Science awarded him Physics Award of Year 1986 to reward him for his breakthrough discovery in superconductors in liquid nitrogen temperature region, and elected Zhao Zhongxian as its academician. At home, he and his team won the First Prize of China National Natural Science in 1990 and Top Grade Award of Science and Technology Progress awarded by Chinese Academy of Sciences.



Zhao Zhongxian

(Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences)


In this short report, a brief history of research activities in China on searching for the high temperature superconducting materials is presented. Zhao found that, an alternating Jahn-Teller Effect can be caused when electron moves between bivalent copper and trivalent copper, which will in turn cause unstableness in crystal lattice. As explained with theory of electron-phonon interactional superconductivity, this effect will cause a comparatively high critical temperature for superconductor. Zhao developed a superconductor of Sr-La-Cu-O at a transition temperature of 48.6K; in a multi-phase system of Ba-La-Cu-O, he observed a sign of superconducting at a temperature of 70K, and then in February of 1987, he discovered superconductors in liquid nitrogen temperature region.

An outline of the progress in some aspects of the high temperature superconductors (HTSC), such as its structural features of materials ,physical properties ,possible mechanism and prospects of applications is also discussed. For the further research in this field, this report emphasizes the searching for new materials, mechanism and application to electronics in the coming years.

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