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 In Focus

Quantum dynamics and quantum simulations

Published 2001-01-19

As the first Institutional Grant, out of more than a dozen within the programme for collaboration with China, Professor Shiwu Gao, at the Physics Department of the University of Gothenburg (GU), received a grant in spring 2006 to start a long-term collaboration within Physics with Prof. Enge Wang and his colleagues at the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The total sum allocated for a four-year period is 2.8 million SEK.

This program was initiated by early collaboration between the two partners on the study of water at solid surfaces and interfaces. With the support from STINT, it has now been expanded to a broad collaboration program between the two Institutes, which involves 3-5 senior researchers and graduate students from each side. During the past two years, two joint workshops have been organized in Beijing (May 2006) and Göteborg (August 2007), which brought together about 10 researchers from Chalmers/GU to Beijing and approximately an equal number of people from Beijing to Göteborg. Two research projects on Quantum path integral dynamics and nanoplasmonics have also been kicked off. Several Ph.D students on both sides, who are actively involved in this collaboration, paid short visits to the other party during the past two years.

China has, during the past decade, undergone a dynamical expansion not only in its economy but also in education and research. Chinese Academy

of Sciences, CAS which is the largest and dominant research organ of China, has gained a rapid increase in research funding by about 50 times during the past ten years, and is projected to keep a yearly increase of around 20% in the coming 10 years. The Institute of Physics, IOP, of CAS is the No. 1 physics institute of China with a broad and strong profile in condensed matter physics. The Institute has about 300 research staffs and 600 graduate students in 10 research divisions, covering all major areas of condensed matter physics. Recently a new Center for Quantum Simulation has also been created, with ambition to strength activities in materials simulation using first-principles quantum-mechanical methods. The IOP-CAS is the nationally leading institute in condensed matter physics, and is striving for a leading position on the international arena. The Institute has good human and economic resources, modern research facilities, and an impressive scientific production.

In Göteborg, there is a long history and on-going activities in quantum theory of many body systems and surface dynamics. This tradition dates back to the sixties of the last century in the early development of the many-body theory of electron gas, which is now often cited as the ‘Swedish Electron Gas’, and density functional theory for inhomogeneous systems. Well-known examples include the invention of the GW formalism for excited electronic states, development of the local (spin) density approximation to exchange-correlation energy functional, and the inclusion of the van der Waals interaction into the density functional theory. In recent years, Göteborg has been also in leading positions in many other areas of surface physics and materials physics, such as vibrational damping by electron-hole pairs, atomic and molecular manipulations, single molecule vibrational spectroscopy and microscopy, quantum diffusion of hydrogen, quantum dissipation, wave packet simulation of reaction dynamics both in gas and condensed phases, surface reaction and catalysis, and soft and hard materials.

This Beijing-Göteborg collaboration, which has gained enthusiastic participation and support from both sides, brings together a natural combination between strong tradition and new emerging strength, a uniting research efforts and resources, and a interaction between two different research organization, infrastructure and academic culture. The current research program encompasses four basic components: 1) Joining workshops. Four workshops have been planned on a yearly basis. In 2006 and 2007, two workshops were organized in May 2006 Beijing, and August 2007, Hjortviken in Göteborg. 2)

Exchange of Ph.D students. About 3-4 Ph.D students from each side have participated in the exchange program, and have been able to visit the other party for short periods; 3) Exchange of senior staffs. It is also our ambition to start regular exchange between senior staffs, which is important for the scientific interactions and for the success of the joint Ph.D program; and 4) Joint program in research and education. The long-term goal of this program is to create a joint research program, which involves participants from both Institutes. At the starting phase, a few strategic areas have been identified, including quantum functional quantum materials, nano-optics and nano-electronics, and soft matter systems. These topics may involve and develop into other new areas during the execution of this program.

The outcome and impact of this Institutional grant program are many folds. It has not only enriched the research activities of the two institutes but has also far-reaching implications in other areas in the long run. Just to mention a few: It recently initiated a new effort at the University of Gothenburg to create international master program with Chinese universities. New efforts are now being made along this line from the Physics Department of the University of Gothenburg. The interaction between senior researchers has catalyzed new research directions in strongly correlated systems, theoretical and experimental study of superconducting oxides. There components were not included in the original plan of this program. Exchange between the students and young researchers has also opened completely new opportunities in education, cultural contact, and cultivated new friendship and understanding among the new generations. These interactions will evolve and propagate beyond science and the scientific community. In a broader perspective, it is our belief that this Institutional Grant program will serve as a unique channel between China and Sweden, for exchange and collaboration, not only in science but also in other dimensions.

Shiwu Gao
Physics Department
University of Gothenburg

Senast uppdaterad: 08-04-28 11:10

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