Top 10 scientific advances in China in 2022

The Zhurong Mars rover conducts in-situ radar detection in the Utopia Plain, the source of the high-tech research and development centre of the Ministry of Science and Technology
The Zhurong Mars rover conducts in-situ radar detection in the Utopia Plain, the source of the high-tech research and development centre of the Ministry of Science and Technology

On Friday, March 17, 2023, the High-tech Research and Development Center (Basic Research Management Center) of the Ministry of Science and Technology released the top ten advances in Chinese science in 2022. The summary of IT House is as follows:

1. Zhu Rong’s patrol radar reveals the shallow layered structure of Martian Utopia Plain

Detailed information on the subsurface structure and physical properties of Mars is the key to studying the geology of Mars and its habitability evolution.

The team of Chen Ling and Zhang Jinhai from the Institute of Geology and Geophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences conducted in-depth analysis and fine imaging of the low-frequency radar data of the Zhurong Mars rover and obtained high-precision structural layered images and stratigraphy above the shallow surface of 80 meters in the southern Utopia Plain. physical information. The study reveals the fine structure and physical characteristics of the surface of Mars today, provides observational evidence of long-term water activities on Mars and provides an important basis for an in-depth understanding of Mars’ geological evolution, environment, and climate change.

2. FAST finely characterizes active repeating fast radio bursts

Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are the most violent eruptions in the cosmic radio band and are one of the major hot fronts in the field of astronomy. The Li Di team of the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, together with Peking University, Zhejiang Laboratory and the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, used FAST to discover the world’s first continuously active fast radio burst FRB20190520B and obtained the largest FRB polarization so far by monitoring the active repeating fast radio burst FRB20201124A sample. FAST finely characterizes active and repetitive fast radio bursts, builds a unified picture, and lays the observation foundation for finally revealing the origin of fast radio bursts.

3. A new principle realizes the direct electrolysis of seawater to produce hydrogen

The side reactions and corrosion caused by the complex components of seawater have always been a major problem that is difficult to solve for the direct electrolysis of seawater to hydrogen production. The Shenzhen University/Sichuan University Xie Heping team combined physical and mechanical processes such as molecular diffusion and interfacial phase equilibrium with electrochemical reactions to create a new principle and technology for in-situ direct electrolysis of seawater and solved the problem that has long plagued the scientific and technological circles and industries in this field. technical problems in the world.

4. Revealing the mutation characteristics and immune escape mechanism of the new coronavirus

The team of Cao Yunlong and Xie Xiaoliang from Peking University, Beijing Changping Laboratory and Wang Xiangxi’s team from the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences took the lead in revealing the humoral immune escape mechanism and mutation evolution characteristics of the new coronavirus Omicron variant strain and its new subtypes. Spectrum COVID-19 vaccine and antibody drug development provides a theoretical basis and design guidance and provides an important reference for global COVID-19 prevention and control.

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5. Realizing high-efficiency all-perovskite tandem solar cells and modules

Perovskite tandem solar cells have the advantage of low-cost solution processing, showing great promise in the large-scale application of thin-film solar cells. Tan Hairen’s team at Nanjing University designed the polarity of passivation molecules to increase their adsorption strength on defect sites on the surface of narrow-bandgap perovskite grains, greatly improving the efficiency of all-perovskite stacked cells; the developed large-area stacked The mass-production preparation technology of multi-layer photovoltaic modules has significantly improved the photovoltaic performance and stability of the modules.

6. New principle switching devices provide new solutions for high-performance mass storage

High density and mass storage are the key bottlenecks in the development of information technology and the digital economy in the era of big data. The team of Song Zhitang and Zhu Min from the Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences invented a new type of switching device based on the interface effect of elemental tellurium and titanium nitride electrodes. It has excellent comprehensive performance and provides a new technical solution for the development of mass storage and near-memory computing.

7. Quantum coherent synthesis of ultracold triatomic molecules

The use of ultracold molecules to simulate chemical reactions allows precise and comprehensive studies of complex systems, and the preparation of ultracold triatomic molecules has always been a great challenge in experiments. The team of Pan Jianwei and Zhao Bo from the University of Science and Technology of China, in cooperation with Bai Chunli’s team from the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, coherently synthesized ultracold triatomic molecules for the first time using radio frequency synthesis technology in a mixture of sodium and potassium ground state molecules and potassium atoms. The study opens up new directions for research in ultracold chemistry and quantum simulations.

8. Ethylene Glycol Synthesis Under Mild Pressure Conditions

At present, the global annual demand for ethylene glycol reaches tens of millions of tons, mainly from the petrochemical industry. Xie Suyuan’s team from Xiamen University and Yuan Youzhu’s team jointly developed the fullerene-modified copper catalyst and realized the fullerene-buffered copper-catalyzed dimethyl oxalate under mild pressure. The synthesis of ethylene glycol under high conditions is expected to reduce the dependence on petroleum technology routes.

9. Discovery of a new mechanism for femtosecond laser-induced micro-nano structures in complex systems

When a femtosecond laser is focused inside a material, various highly nonlinear effects are produced, and the interaction between light and matter under such extreme conditions is full of unknowns. Qiu Jianrong’s team at Zhejiang University and their collaborators discovered a new mechanism for the formation of micro-nano structures in complex systems induced by femtosecond lasers. This achievement reveals the law of femtosecond laser-induced space-selective mesoscale phase separation and ion exchange and opens up the principle of femtosecond laser three-dimensional extreme manufacturing technology.

10. Experiments confirm superconducting state “segmented Fermi surface”

The Fermi surface determines the electrical, optical and other physical properties of solid materials, and the artificial regulation of the Fermi surface is an important way to control the physical properties of materials. Superconductors do not have a Fermi surface because of the energy gap. The team of Jia Jinfeng and Zheng Hao from Shanghai Jiaotong University cooperated with the team of Fu Liang from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to design and prepare a topological insulator/superconductor heterojunction system and realized and observed the “segmented Fermi surface” caused by the Cooper pair momentum. This research has opened up a new method to regulate the state of matter and construct a new type of topological superconductor.

According to reports, the selection of “Top Ten Progresses in Chinese Science” was led by the High-Tech Research and Development Center of the Ministry of Science and Technology (Basic Research Management Center of the Ministry of Science and Technology) and has been successfully held for 18 sessions so far. Encourage the scientific enthusiasm and dedication of the majority of scientific and technological workers, carry out scientific popularization of basic research, promote public understanding, care and support for basic research, and create a good scientific atmosphere in the whole society.

The selection process for the Top Ten Advances in Science in China is divided into five stages: recommendation, primary selection, final selection, review, and release. In 2022, five editorial boards, including “China Basic Science”, “Science and Technology Herald”, “Proceedings of the Chinese Academy of Sciences”, “Chinese Science Foundation” and “Science Bulletin”, recommended a total of more than 600 scientific research progress. Research results that were formally published or completed between December 1, 2021, and November 30, 2022.

In December 2022, the High Technology Research and Development Center of the Ministry of Science and Technology (Basic Research Management Center of the Ministry of Science and Technology) organized the 2022 Top Ten Advances in Chinese Science Primary Selection Conference. For the 4 subject groups of Chemical Materials Energy Science, Earth Environmental Science, and Life Medical Science, experts were invited to select 30 advances from the recommended scientific advances to enter the final selection.

The final selection adopts online voting, and invites academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, former directors of the State Key Laboratory, experts and project chief scientists of the original 973 Program Advisory Group and Advisory Group, members of the general expert group and projects related to key special projects of the National Key R&D Program More than 3,000 experts, including the person in charge, voted online for 30 candidate scientific advances, and invited high-level experts to review the top 10 scientific advances with the highest number of votes, and were finally selected as the top ten scientific advances in China in 2022.