Research Summary

Professor Chou is an outstanding scientist in the field of theoretical condensed matter physics, with a research focus on the electronic properties of novel materials of fundamental interest and technological importance. In the past few decades, she has established herself as one of the leading figures in first-principles electronic-structure calculations, with a distinguished career marked by numerous important contributions to the development and characterization of advanced materials. She is known for her versatility and high-quality work.

Professor Chou’s earlier studies of simple metal clusters have become a classic work in the field. The studies illustrated that the inherent electronic shell structure is responsible for the size variations in the stability, optical response, and electronic properties of these simple metal clusters. Her two most-cited papers on this subject have accumulated a sum of 2,000 citations so far. This electronic shell structure picture provided an important basis for understanding nanoscale phenomena and represented a classic success of the electronic structure theory. 

She is also well known for her deep involvement in developing new fundamental concepts and methods for electronic structure calculation. Her most noted work includes the first implementation of the wavelet method in self-consistent calculations for molecules.  Her group also presented the first evaluation of the “exact” electron exchange and correlation energy density in silicon and other materials using full-scale many-body methods. This work pointed out a clear path for future development needed toward better approximations within density functional theory, the current standard method of electronic structure calculations. These results have been included in a recent textbook Electronic Structure by Richard Martin, published by Cambridge Press.

In the past decade, her work has been focused on various types of nanostructures ranging from semiconductor nanowires to metal thin films and to novel two-dimensional materials. Her groups did the first systematic study of the electronic structure of silicon nanowires including the orientation dependence, Raman intensity, core-shell separation of charge carriers, and the excitonic effects. Her first paper (2004) in this series of studies explaining the quantum confinement effect has been cited 300 times. Another theory paper on the quantum size effect of Pb films on the Si surface is a milestone paper in the field, providing a clear demonstration of the significance of this intriguing physical effect at the nanoscale.

In addition, she is an internationally known expert on the problem of hydrogen in and on metals and the properties of metal hydrides, which are an important class of energy storage materials. She has developed new approaches to deal with the complex problems of hydrogen adsorption, diffusion, and the formation of hydrides, as well as the concurrent changes in electronic structure at each stage of the formation process.

Professor Chou has also taken an active role in serving the scientific community. She has organized several important international conferences in the U.S. and in Taiwan, and has been on the editorial board of the UK journal Reports on Progress in Physics (IF: 17.06) since 2008. During the past decade, she has been elected to serve as an officer in the Division of Computational Physics of the American Physical Society (APS), first as Secretary/Treasurer and later as Chair of the Division in 2008. She also served on the selection committees of several major APS awards in recent years. After coming back to Taiwan, she has been Director of the Institute of Atomic and Molecular Sciences at Academia Sinica, and served on various committees and panels for the Ministry of Educations, Ministry of Science and Technology, various universities and foundations. She received the 2013 Outstanding Taiwan Woman Scientist Award and was elected Academician of Academia Sinica in 2014 and Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) in 2019.






教授曾得到美國國家科學基金會的總統年輕學者獎,以及美國Packard基金會和Sloan基金會的Fellowship。她在2002年當選為美國物理學會的會士,曾在2008年被選為美國物理學會計算物理分部的主席,並從2008年起被聘為英國重要期刊Reports on Progress in Physics (IF: 17.06) 的編輯委員。周教授在國際科學界相當活躍,曾在美國和台灣主辦了多場重要國際會議,並擔任美國物理學會重要獎項的遴選委員。她自從2011年接任中研院原分所所長後,也多次擔任教育部、國科會/科技部、各大學、基金會的各項審查委員,在學術界表現出的卓越領導能力。周教授於2013年獲得台灣傑出女科學家獎 ,並在2014年獲選為中央研究院院士,2019年獲選世界科學院院士(TWAS)。