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Mak awarded 2016 Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering

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13 December 2016

Kin Fai MakKin Fai Mak, assistant professor of physics, has been awarded a 2016 Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The Packard Foundation established the fellowships program in 1988 to support the research of "the nation's most innovative early-career scientists," providing them with "flexible funding and the freedom to take risks and explore new frontiers in their fields." Mak is one of only 18 scientists nationwide to be honored this year.

Mak's research combines techniques from nanoscale electronics and from optics to study the behavior of electrons in two-dimensional materials. His research is focused on understanding unusual electronic phenomena that occur when electrons are confined in crystals that are only a few atoms thick. He is also interested in the electronic properties of heterostructures formed from these thin nanoscale materials. Examples of these phenomena that Mak studies include the emergence of unconventional superconductivity, topological transport, and the formation of high-density exciton gas.

In 2016, Mak was awarded a Young Investigators Research Program grant by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. In 2015, he was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science to receive funding for his research as part of the DOE's Early Career Research Program. In 2013, he received the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) Young Scientist Prize in Quantum Electronics. In 2012, Mak was honored with the Michelson Postdoctoral Prize Lectureship from Case Western Reserve University. Mak's research has been published in such journals as Nature, Science, and Physical Review Letters.

Before joining Penn State in 2014, Mak was a Kavli Fellow in physics at Cornell University from 2012 to 2014 and a postdoctoral fellow at the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center at Columbia University from 2010 to 2012. He earned a bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2005 and a doctoral degree in physics at Columbia University in 2010.

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