News

A fascination with light and its possibilities drives Professor Zhipei Sun’s research

Aalto University's Professor Zhipei Sun is on the Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list for the third time – congratulations!
Professor Zhipei Sun, photo: Niina Norjamäki/Aalto University
Professor Zhipei Sun and his group develop new applications for photonics and quantum technologies in the laboratory at Otaniemi. Photo: Niina Norjamäki/Aalto University

Professor Zhipei Sun leads the Photonics research group in the Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering at Aalto University, which studies the electrical and optical properties of various nanomaterials for photonic and optoelectronic applications. He has been included in the 2021 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list, which identifies researchers with highly cited research papers in the Web of Science database.

What are you researching and why?

I am very excited about light – which is everywhere – and photonics research. During the pandemic, online communication and meetings have become more important than ever. Everything behind these technologies is possible because of light. The truth is that almost all the data on the internet is communicated by light. My group is searching for ways to generate and detect light more efficiently and modulate it faster, so that we can enable future applications that will benefit humankind.

What is your research field in this Highly Cited Researchers list?

I was listed as a 'Physics' researcher and a 'cross-field' researcher.

What are the next steps in your research field, and how they will support or develop your research field?

Connecting ever-increasing amounts of data is a major challenge. The data centres behind the internet have thousands of devices connecting to each other, and those connections consumer a lot of energy. That is a big problem to solve. My research aims to use light to connect systems more efficiently and faster. I truly believe that light technologies offer a promising way to solve many energy and sustainability issues – the grand challenges of our society.

Multidisciplinary approaches and collaboration are key in supporting my research. I have a great team. All the team members work on different photonics devices, but they also represent different backgrounds. For example, some of them have a background in quantum physics, while others come from chemistry and material science backgrounds, which helps develop high-quality materials for photonics. Great examples of mixing research fields and collaboration are our Photonics flagship and our Quantum Centre of Excellence.

Where do you get the inspiration for your research from?

Inspiration comes naturally to me, as photonics motivates me a lot. I am generally keen to try something crazy or different, and I really enjoy it when I get some ideas working.

What tips would you give to future researchers?

My personal experience is to choose the field that motivates you. Boldness and persistence are valuable. I also benefit from the saying “Think big; start small.” And, of course, try to talk with different people and collaborate with them.

What do you think about Finland – what do you like about the country?

Finland is a great country. The eight years in Finland have been a great time for my family and me. I enjoy working here. I like forests in Finland. Walking in nature is the best way to clarify your thoughts for science. After a walk in cold weather, a sauna is a nice refreshing way to be with the family.

Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers 2021 listing

Researchers in the list have had multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top one per cent of the number of citations in their field in the Web of Science citation database during the last ten years. The list includes approximately 6,600 researchers around the world, roughly 20 of whom are in Finland. Read more: Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers 2021 listing

Read also

Kuvituskuva esittelee fotoniikan eri sovelluskohteita kuten tiedonsiirtoa ja tietotekniikan komponenetteja. Kuvassa on myös laboratoriossa työskentelevä henkilö. Kuvittaja: Jolanda Jokinen.

The science of light is everywhere

Photonics is everywhere, and not just in nature. It figures abundantly in research, industry and business, and not always in the most obvious places.

News
professor zhipei sun portrait. image anni hanen-kajander / aalto university

Professor Zhipei Sun elected as a Fellow Member of The Optical Society

The honor is granted for professor Sun's pioneering contributions to photonic and optoelectronic applications with low-dimensional materials.

News
Prof. Risto Nieminen, Zhipei Sun and Päivi Törmä

Three Aalto University professors become members of the Academia Europaea 

Professors Risto Nieminen, Zhipei Sun and Päivi Törmä were elected as members.

News
ERC grant awardees 2019

Aalto nabs 3 ERC Advanced Grants

Aalto University has been awarded €6.3 million by the European Research Council to support three research projects over the next five years.

News
  • Published:
  • Updated:
Share
URL copied!

Read more news

Image and photo by Aalto University, Giulnara Launonen. MMD logo by Aalto University, Mithila Mohan
Research & Art Published:

Multifunctional Materials Design: Highlights of 2022

Our group's milestones of the previous year
Fluffy, colourful design by fashion design graduate Tuuli-Tytti Koivula, Aalto University
Honoured Published:

Fashion design graduate Tuuli-Tytti Koivula wins Alpha Award23

Fashion design graduate Tuuli-Tytti Koivula from Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Finland won the top prize at this season's Alpha show 31 January, 2023 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Nainen rannalla tuulisella säällä hymyilee, taustalla meri kuohuaa
Appointments, Research & Art Published:

Professor Ranja Hautamäki: ‘Diverse urban nature is key to increasing well-being and carbon sinks’

Professor of Landscape Architecture is tackling the issues of climate change mitigation and urban carbon sinks.
NASAn Curiosity-mönkijä kuvaama pölypyörre Marsin Gale-kraatterissa. Kuvankäsittely: Henrik Kahanpää. Alkuperäinen kuva: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Research & Art, Studies Published:

On Mars the weather varies dramatically, however the planet’s climate is not changing

The doctoral dissertation of Henrik Kahanpää also questions a prevailing perception related to dust devils on Mars. As a researcher, he hopes that humans would never go to Mars.