The National Research Foundation (NRF) Investigatorship is a distinguished research grant that supports a small number of scientists who have a track record of scientific achievements that identify them as leaders in their respective field of research.
It provides an opportunity for established, mid-career researchers to pursue ground-breaking, high-risk research.
Assoc Prof Adam’s research aims to achieve ‘high-temperature superconductivity’, something which has long been a dream of many scientists since the discovery of superconducting materials over a century ago.
Superconductivity is the state in which a material has zero electrical resistance below a critical temperature. However, at present, the critical temperature of most superconducting materials is so low that it requires them to be cooled with liquid nitrogen before the electrical resistance drops to zero.
Assoc Prof Adam hopes to discover solutions for raising the temperature of superconductors so that they no longer need to be cooled, and could even operate at room temperature. If this research proves fruitful, it would revolutionise the energy industry, with the possibility of harvesting electrical energy that could be captured and stored indefinitely.
Prof Yang’s research focuses on developing next-generation ‘terahertz’ computer memories, to meet the ever-increasing demands of the electronics industry.
While today’s computer processors operate at around 3- to 5-gigahertz (which refers to the number of clock cycles per second that the processor completes), Prof Yang hopes to push these speeds much further, into the terahertz range. Computers operating in this range would be a thousand of times faster than computers today.
By developing new materials and electronic devices, Prof Yang believes that research in this area could lead to quantum leaps in the system performances of computers. The ultimate goal is to find new physical phenomena and materials for electronic devices, which could dramatically enrich their functionality.