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Zhi-Xun Shen, PhD

Paul Pigott Professor in Physical Sciences

Professor of Applied Physics

Senior Fellow, Precourt Institute for Energy

(650) 725-0440

Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2017)

Foreign Member, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2017)


My main research interest lies in the area of condensed matter and materials physics. The questions that motivate my research are: what is the nature of quantum matter? How does complexity give rise to unusual and extreme properties?



MS, Rutgers University

PhD, Stanford University


Research Interests

I focus on the physics of “emergent phenomena”, where interactions among multiple constituencies give “emergence” of novel properties not intrinsic to the individual components. I send electromagnetic waves to probe matter, including x-ray, ultra-violet radiation, laser and microwave radiation. Insights are gained through precision analysis of ejected particles, either photons or electrons. My lab develops precision instrumentation. I develop new interest in energy-related materials.



  • High temperature superconductors
  • Strongly correlated materials
  • Nano-structured carbon, x-ray techniques and novel light sources
  • Modern photoelectron spectroscopy –with energy, momentum, spin and time resolution
  • Laser and microwave spectroscopy and imaging
  • Photon enhanced thermionic emission for concentrator solar energy conversion
  • Application of novel materials



See Publications for Zhi-Xun Shen, PhD