Zhi-Xun Shen

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Primary Section: 33, Applied Physical Sciences
Secondary Section: 13, Physics
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2015)

Biosketch

Zhixun Shen is a physicist recognized for his work on quantum materials, including superconductors, quantum magnets, topological insulators, and novel forms of carbon. He is known particularly for his discoveries of unusual energy gaps in high temperature superconductors yielding important insights on the pairing symmetry of the superconductivity and other electronic phases surrounding the superconducting state. Shen was born in Wenzhou city, Zhejiang Province, China, in 1962. He graduated from Fudan University with a bachelor’s degree in physics, from Rutgers University with a master’s degree in physics, and from Stanford University with a PhD in Applied Physics.  Shen is the Paul Pigott Professor of Physical Sciences at Stanford University, with joint appointments in Physics, Applied Physics, and Photon Science departments. He is a senior fellow with the Precourt Institute for Energy. He has been the director of Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials, the Chief Scientist of SLAC National Laboratory, and the director of Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Dr. Shen's main research interest lies in the area of condensed matter physics, with a focus on emerging phenomena in quantum materials, including superconductors, quantum magnets, and topological phases of matter. He develops photon based experimental probes, ranging from angle-resolved photoemission, soft x-ray scattering, time domain spectroscopy/scattering, microwave imaging, and matching them with outstanding problems in novel materials. Using high energy and momentum resolution photoemission spectroscopy, he showed that the energy gap of high temperature superconductors is highly anisotropic, consistent with an unconventional d-wave pairing symmetry. Further, the same technique reveals another surprising energy gap above the superconducting transition temperature. The analysis on the resemblance and distinction of these gaps reveals an intertwined relationship between superconductivity and its neighboring states in the electronic phase diagram, which serves as a key ingredient for microscopic theory. More recently, his focus is on the complete mapping of all relevant quantum degrees of freedom that are important to microscopic understanding of emerging properties in complex materials - energy, momentum, spin, orbital, space and time. He has expanded his interest to a wider range of materials, including atomically thin films by in-situ synthesis methods. He has also developed an interest in the applications of materials and scientific instrumentation.

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