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PolyU outstanding scholar Dr Kathy K. Leng receives Croucher Tak Wah Mak Innovation Award 2023

11 Dec 2023

Achievements Department of Applied Physics

Dr Kathy K. Leng, Assistant Professor of the Department of Applied Physics of PolyU (front row, right), is presented the “Croucher Tak Wah Mak Innovation Awards 2023” by Guest of Honour Prof. Sun Dong, Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry, HKSAR Government (front row, left).

Dr Kathy K. LENG, Assistant Professor of the Department of Applied Physics of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), has been honoured at the “Croucher Tak Wah Mak Innovation Awards 2023” in recognition of her outstanding achievements in material physics. Each Award provides funding of HK$5 million towards the winner’s research expenses.

Prof. Christopher CHAO, Vice President (Research and Innovation) of PolyU, congratulated Dr Leng and said, “PolyU’s young scholars are dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in scientific research and intellectual expertise, and they have a strong international presence in diverse research areas. We are delighted to nurture a group of rising stars committed to scientific research and we will provide them with a full array of research resources to support their innovative endeavours.”

Dr Leng’s current research examines 2D van der Waals (vdW) epitaxy, a process whereby a thin film of crystalline material is grown on a crystalline substrate without the constraints of lattice matching. The challenge is that growth on important semiconductor substrates often produces polycrystalline films, hindering 2D electronics development. Specifically, Dr Leng’s research examines large area, single crystalline 2D hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites (HOIPs) to be grown on semiconductors such as SiO2/Si substrate, as well as on a wide range of other substrates. Dr Leng is also exploring the growth of various 2D HOIPs with ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties on 3D and 2D substrates, targeting nanometer-thick single crystalline HOIP films for large-scale electronic and spintronic device applications.

Honoured to receive the Award, Dr Leng said, “I am grateful to the Croucher Foundation for recognising my research efforts in material physics. This award will drive me and my team to further explore the potential applications of 2D materials in different fields to benefit society.”

Dr Leng is currently a tenure-track Assistant Professor and Presidential Young Scholar at PolyU. Her research focuses on hybrid organic-inorganic materials that can be made as thin as graphene and she is enthusiastic about the promise such materials show in smart devices and spintronics. Her recent accolades include the TR35 Award for Asia Pacific in 2023 from MIT Technology Review, the Excellent Young Scientist Fund 2023 (Hong Kong and Macau) from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the PolyU Young Innovative Researcher Award for 2023. She was the recipient of an Early Career Award from the University Grants Committee of Hong Kong in 2022. She obtained her PhD degree in physical chemistry from the National University of Singapore in 2018. In the same year, she won a Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Student Abroad, followed by a Professor Lee Soo Ying Early Career Gold Award from the Singapore National Institute of Chemistry in 2020. Dr Leng pursued her postdoctoral studies at the University of Cambridge before joining PolyU in October 2020.



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