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Professor Zhi-Xun Shen

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Dr. Shen is the Paul Pigott Professor in Physical Sciences, Professor of Physics and Applied Physics Departments, and a senior fellow of the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford. He is the Advisor for Science and Technology of SLAC and a member of the faculty advisory board of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, and the faculty steering committee of Stanford Science Fellows program, at Stanford.


Dr. Shen's main research interest lies in the area of condensed matter and materials physics, as well as the applications of materials and devices. He develops advanced instruments, with a focus on photon-based spectroscopy, imaging, and scattering tools. He has produced an extensive amount of literature that advanced our understanding of materials related to basic energy sciences, including the physics of superconductors, oxides, novel magnets, density wave materials, topological insulators, novel carbon, and electron emitters. He has more than 600 publications, with ISI Web of Science citation over 50,000, H citation index over 110 (Google Scholar H citation index oevr 130), and six of his papers identified by the citation tracking algorithm of the Institute for Scientific Information as among the most cited recent papers in its periodic surveys. His works have been featured as covers of the most important physics journals — Physical Review Letters, Physics Today, Physics World, and Reviews of Modern Physics.

Honors & Awards

Dr. Shen's work has been recognized by many important awards, including the Centennial Lecture of the American Physical Society, the Kamerlingh Onnes Prize (international prize on superconductivity, 2000), the E.O. Lawrence Award (Department of Energy award, 2010), the Oliver E. Buckley Prize (condensed matter prize of the American Physical Society, 2011), Einstein Professorship Award (Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2013), William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Fellow (Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, 2019), and Tage Erlander guest professor (Swedish Research Council and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, 2020). In 2015, Dr. Shen was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2017, he was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. His works have also been featured in public media, such as ABC Evening News, Washington Post, and National Public Radio.

Students & Postdocs

Dr. Shen has mentored about one hundred graduate students and postdoctoral associates over the last three decades. They are part of the highly skilled scientific personnel for research institutes and industry, and their career paths are about 50/50 distributed between faculty members of research universities, as well as positions in industry and national laboratories.


Dr. Shen is a co-inventor of numerous patents. The non-resonance microwave imaging technology invented by his group has witnessed a wide range of applications in materials research, and earned him the Takeda Foundation Techno-Entrepreneurship Award in 2002. In 2010, he was recognized as a Finalist for Energy Technology by World Technology Network for his work on materials science, and co-invention of the photon-enhanced thermionic emission (PETE) device concept. Dr. Shen is also co-founder of PrimeNano Inc. PrimeNano’s core ScanWave technology emerged from original Microwave Impedance Microscopy research done in Shen lab.

Brief Bio

Dr. Shen received his B.S. degree from Fudan University (1983), M.S. degree from Rutgers University (1985), and Ph.D. degree from Stanford University (1989). He served as the Chief Scientist of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (2010-2012), and the first Director of the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences (2006-2011). He was also the Director of the Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials (2004-2007). He was a member (and vice chair in 2001-2002) of the Basic Energy Science Advisory Committee of the US Department of Energy (1997-2002).