Academic Profile : Faculty

Prof Sum Tze Chien.jpg picture
Prof Sum Tze Chien
Director, Institute of Advanced Studies
Professor, School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences - Division of Physics & Applied Physics
Associate Dean (Research), College of Science
Tze Chien graduated with a B.Sc. (1st Class Hon), an M.Sc. (Accelerated Masters Program) and a Ph.D. degree in Physics from the National University of Singapore, Singapore in 1999, 2001 and 2005, respectively, where he worked on the development of a novel direct-write lithographic technique (proton beam writing) for photonic applications.

In June 2005, he joined the Division of Physics and Applied Physics, School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Nanyang Technological University as a Lecturer where he switched his research field from applied nuclear physics (proton beam writing and accelerator-based nuclear spectroscopy) to Femtosecond Laser Spectroscopy and its applications. Subsequently, he set up the Femtosecond Dynamics Laboratory (xC-Lab) and the Organic Electronics Laboratory; and established a new research group at the Division of Physics & Applied Physics. He was appointed Assistant Professor (tenure tracked) in 2008, promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure in Sep 2014 and subsequently to Professor in Sep 2018.

He is interested in the development and application of time-resolved and time-integrated optical spectroscopic techniques to interrogate the fundamental and applied properties of materials – i.e. probing the energy and charge transfer mechanisms in semiconducting nano-heterostructures & light-harvesting systems; as well as investigating the nonlinear optical properties of nanoscale systems.

Tze Chien received a total of 11 teaching awards from both the National University of Singapore (while he was a teaching assistant at the Department of Physics then) and the Nanyang Technological University, including the Nanyang Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006 and the SPMS Teaching Excellence Award – Honour Roll 2010. He also set up the 1st Year Physics Teaching Laboratory, the 3rd Year Physics Teaching Laboratory and the NTU H3 Physics Teaching Labs for the MOE H3 program.

Tze Chien received several research awards: 2013 SPMS Young Researcher Award, the Institute of Physics Singapore 2014 World Scientific Medal and Prize for Outstanding Physics Research, the 2014 Nanyang Award for Research Excellence (Team) and the 2015 Chemical Society of Japan Asian International Symposium Distinguished Lectureship Award, the 2018 NRF Investigatorship, the 2022 Optica Fellow (Formerly OSA), as well as the Clarivate Analytics/Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher since 2018. In 2023, he is also conferred the Public Administration Medal (Bronze) for his merits and services from the Prime Minister’s Office in Singapore.
My research focuses on investigating light matter interactions; energy and charge transfer mechanisms; and probing carrier and quasi-particle dynamics in a broad range of emergent nanoscale light emitting and light harvesting systems using Femtosecond time-resolved spectroscopy. These can be categorized under two main research themes: (1) light emitters/lasing and (2) photovoltaics. I have also established a 3rd category: (3) Aspirational Areas to explore new ideas and concepts away from my two core research themes. Specifically, I seek to address the following three questions in these systems:

(a) Where did the energy go? That is the interplay of carrier/quasi-particle dynamics between the host energy levels, defect energy levels and the dopant energy levels.

(b) What are the underlying photo-physics and light-matter interactions that give this system its unique characteristics? That is the various processes such as carrier-carrier scattering, carrier-phonon scattering, radiative recombination and auger recombination etc.

(c) How can these properties/technologies be improved for practical applications? That is how the knowledge gained be used for the development of novel optoelectronic devices; nanolasers; and photovoltaic devices.

Today, my group tackles a broad spectrum of research problems in emergent materials (such as halide perovskites, 2D materials etc) ranging from novel photophysics, solar cells, LEDs, lasing, spin phenomena, hot-carrier phenomena and nonlinear properties.

(1) Light Emitters/Lasing: We seek to understand the interplay of carrier/quasi-particle dynamics between the host energy levels, defect energy levels and the dopant energy levels and the factors affecting amplified spontaneous emission or lasing in these II-VI nanostructures such as ZnO nanowires, CdS nanowires and even the mixed dimension CdSe dot/ CdS nanorod heterostructures and organic-inorganic halide perovskites.

(2) Photovoltaics: Ultrafast optical spectroscopy allows us to trace the fate of the carriers and quasi-particles in photovoltaic devices from genesis to the end with timescales spanning over ten orders of magnitude. Correlated with electrical characterization techniques, new insights into the mechanisms of charge generation, transfer, trapping, recombination and transport in novel PV materials can be gained through these studies.

(3) Aspirational Areas: Presently, we live in a highly competitive era of rapid technological changes and shortened innovation cycles, where a keen sense and nimbleness to seek out opportunities is key to sustaining economic growth and our quality of life. These aspirational areas on 2-D Materials, novel nonlinear optical properties and spin phenomena allow us to explore new ideas and concepts apart from our core research.
 
  • Brilliant Ultra-stable Aqueous Colloidal Halide Perovskite Nanocrystals
  • Development and Optimization of Ternary Non-Fullerene Acceptors
  • Energy Selective Contacts for Perovskite Hot Carrier Photovoltaics
  • IDMxS PI Account - Sum Tze Chien
  • Institute for Digital Molecular Analytics and Science (IDMxS)
  • Low-dimensional Materials Interfaces towards Highly Efficient and Stable Perovskite Solar Cells
  • Perovskite Solar Concentrators Optimization through Radiative Engineering (SCORE)
  • Perovskite-integrated photobatteries
  • Solvent-free Mechanosynthesized PerovskIte Light Emitters (SMILE)
  • The Science of High INtensitY (SHINY) Perovskite Emitters
US 2015/0071319 A1: Emission Source And Method Of Forming The Same (2018)
Abstract: In various embodiments, an emission source may be provided. The emission source may also include a gain medium including a halide semiconductor material. The emission source may further include a pump source configured to provide energy to the gain medium.

US 2017/0012404 A1: Emission Source And Method Of Forming The Same (2018)
Abstract: In various embodiments, an emission source may be provided. The emission source may also include a gain medium including a halide semiconductor material. The emission source may further include a pump source configured to provide energy to the gain medium. The halide semiconductor material may include a lead-free perovskite material.
Awards
2015 Chemical Society of Japan Asian International Symposium Distinguished Lectureship Award
2014 Nanyang Award for Research Excellence (Team)
2014 Institute of Physics Singapore World Scientific Medal and Prize for Outstanding Physics Research
2013 SPMS Young Researcher Award
2011 Certificate of Honour - Koh Boon Hwee Scholars Award 2011 – honoured by Mr Ngiam Song Wee,
2010 SPMS Teaching Excellence Award – Honour Roll 2010
2009 SPMS Teaching Excellence Award AY 2008/09
2008 SPMS Teaching Excellence Award AY 2007/08
2007 SPMS Teaching Excellence Award AY 2006/07
2006 Nanyang Award for Excellence in Teaching
2006 SPMS Teaching Excellence Award AY 2005/06
2005 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award (2004/2005), Faculty of Science, NUS
2004 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award (2003/2004), Faculty of Science, NUS
2003 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award (2002/2003), Faculty of Science, NUS
2002 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award (2001/2002), Faculty of Science, NUS
 
Fellowships & Other Recognition
2023 World’s Top 2% Scientists List by Stanford University
2023 Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher (Cross-Field)
2023 Public Administration Medal (Bronze)
2022 World’s Top 2% Scientists List by Stanford University
2022 Optica Fellow (Formerly OSA)
2022 Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher (Cross-Field)
2021 Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher (Cross-Field)
2020 Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher (Cross-Field)
2019 Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher (Cross-Field)
2018 Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher (Cross-Field)
2018 National Research Foundation Investigatorship
2018 NTU 15-Year Long Service Award
2013 NTU 10-Year Long Service Award
2012 Singapore Armed Forces National Service Medal and Certificate of Appreciation
2011 Singapore Armed Forces Letter of Commendation
2008 Singapore Armed Forces Good Service Medal
 
Courses Taught
PAP 112 – Fields & Oscillations; PHYS1B – Electromagnetism & Relativity; PAP 454 – Nuclear Physics; PAP 444 – Nanoscale Physics; PAP 321 – Statistical Mechanics I; PH4408 – Nuclear Physics; PH4409 – Quantum Electronics
 
Supervision of PhD Students
PhD Main Supervisor (Current Students):
Mr Ignatio Glory Adi Winning (Aug 2023 - SINGA); Mr Yu Yue (Aug 2023 - CRP/PCP); Mr Balaji Shyam Sundar (Jan 2023 - CRP/IGS); Mr How Jiunn Ming Kelvin (Aug 2022 - CRP); Mr Furuhashi Tomoki (Aug 2020 - SINGA); Mr Cai Rui (Aug 2020 - MOE Tier 2).


PhD Main Supervisor (Graduated):
Dr Wang Yue (2024 - NRFI); Dr Ramesh Sankaran (2023 - IGS); Dr Lim Jia Wei Melvin (2023 - NPGS); Dr Mohammad Tanhaei (2022 - SINGA); Dr Zhang Qiannan (2021); Dr Nguyen Thi Phuc Tan (2021); Dr Tay Yong Kang Eugene (2020); Dr Fu Jianhui (2019); Dr Lim Swee Sien (2018); Dr Chong Wee Kiang (2017); Dr Ankur Solanki (2016); Dr Yu Guannan (2015); Dr Wu Bo (2014); Dr Li Mingjie (2013).