Recently, the team of Professor Xiong Rengen from Southeast University and the research team of Professor You Yumeng made another major breakthrough in the field of molecular ferroelectrics – they’ve developedthe world's first metal-free perovskite ferroelectrics. On July 13, America Eastern Standard Time, the research achievement was published online by the world's top academic journal Science under the title of Metal-Free Three-Dimensional Perovskite Ferroelectrics. This represents the third paper published by the team with Southeast University as the first completion unit since 2013 and 2017.
In the morning of July 13, Southeast University held a press conference at Jiulonghu Hotel. Zhang Guangjun, President of Southeast University, Wu Gang, Vice President of Southeast University, principals of Propaganda Department of the Party Committee, Scientific Research Institute, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering of Southeast University, etc. as well as members of Professor Xiong Rengen’s and Professor You Yumeng's research teams attended the conference. Journalists from more than 20 media outlets including Xinhua News Agency, CCTV, China News Service, China Youth Daily, and Science and Technology Daily, etc. attended the press conference. The conference was presided over by Zhou Jiancheng, Dean of the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering of Southeast University.
In his speech, Professor Xiong Rengen extended his appreciations to the school for its strong support to the team over the years. He used this famous saying that if knowledge is the sea, then all I know is a drop of water to express his own journey in the course of scientific research. He expressed frankly that the road of scientific researches was full of twists and turns but also great interests, often feeling like having searched for him hundreds and thousands of times in the crowd, suddenly you turn back, and he is there by the dim light.
Team member Professor You Yumeng delivered a lecture on science popularization in simple language. Two perovskite materials are usually seen, specifically, the inorganic perovskite and the organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite, both of which have metallic elements. Although the appearance of metal elements has endowed the perovskite materials with certain functional advantages, such metal elements have also increased the difficulty in processing and preparation. In addition, certain metal elements can eve cause serious environmental problems. Therefore, people have been always seeking the third category of the perovskite family - all-organic perovskite materials. Science, the international top academic journal, once predicted the novelty of metal-free perovskite materials in 2002. However, over the past decade or so, the development of metal-free perovskite materials has been stalled.
The molecular ferroelectrics team of Southeast University has successfully prepared a big class of 23 all-organic new perovskite materials based on painstaking researches and adoption of charged molecular groups in replacement of inorganic ions. Among others, a total of 17 materials showed sound ferroelectricity. What is worth mentioning that the team has synthesized the left-hand enantiomers, the right-hand enantiomers and the racemic compounds of four materials and verified their ferroelectricity. Historically, cases of such left-handed, right-handed and achiral-free compounds with ferroelectricity have never been reported. In the future, such materials will cut a figure in such applications as data storage, logic computing, optical quantum communication, optical radar and energy conversion, etc.. This research achievement was published by Science, which has not only turned the prediction made a decade ago into reality, but also added new members to the important material family of perovskites; besides, it has also brought about new ideas and directions about the research on ferroelectric materials and even symbolized that China has once again walked in the forefront of the world in the field of molecular materials.
Vice President Wu Gang, in his speech, expressed his gratitude to the media friends who have long cared for the development of Southeast University and expressed his congratulations on the first-class scientific research achievement made by Professor Xiong Rengen’s team. Vice President Wu Gang highly appraised the outstanding achievement made by Professor Xiong Rengen's team. He pointed out that Professor Xiong Rengen's team, as a prominent representative engaged in basic research and original innovation in Southeast University, has made outstanding achievements from the following four perspectives. Firstly, the team has achieved internationally cutting-edge results, took the lead in international research trend, and established the leading position of Chinese scientists in this field; secondly, the team has cultivated and gathered a batch of high-end talents and potential young and middle-aged backbone teachers; thirdly, the team has cultivated more than 100 graduates and doctoral students, and played an outstanding role in scientific research and education of undergraduate students; fourthly, the team has created a sound industrial prospect and thus made great contributions to the sustainable development and promotion of molecular-based ferroelectrics. Vice President Wu Gang said that the school would unswervingly assist and support the growth and development of scientific research teams involved in basic researches in the construction of “double first-class” university, make more contributions to leading the construction of an innovative country and serving the new practice of “focusing on innovation, focusing on enriching the people and building a well-off society in an all-round way” in Jiangsu Province, and continue to compose beautiful and beautiful stories in Southeast University.