Mathematics and Physics
Enge Wang

Microscopic structure and property of liquid and solid water in Confinement


Water plays a major role in controlling the changes of natural environment and to the existence of human. Its structure and properties attract wide attentions and active research activities for long. Enge Wang and his collaborates has studied systematically the structure and properties of water and ice under confinements from the atomic scale perspective. They predicted a new phase of two dimensional ice on the surface of SiO2, named tessellation ice, which was later experimentally confirmed. They proposed for the first time a new order parameter to describe the ice surface structure. In contrast to bulk ice, they found the ice surface is more proton ordered and no order-to-disorder transition could occur at any relevant temperature, which is critical to under many anomalous properties of ice surface. They proceed to discover that molecules prefer to bind more strongly to more ordered ice surface, and explain the nucleation process of ice growth at the microscopic level. They also found the presence of effective local field helps to create many defects at the ice surface, and through a domino effect this process helps to explain the premelting of ice at a temperature below zero degree Celsius. The defects at ice surface act as adsorption and reaction center for small molecules, which is critical to under the chemistry of cloud particles and its influence on climate. They also proved that the first layer of water on metal surfaces is composed by a network of strong and weak hydrogen bonds, and developed a microscopic point of view of hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity, both were verified experimentally. This series of works make an outstanding contribution to the understanding of the fundamental physical properties and principles of water under confinements.

Enge Wang,   Professor of Physics, President of Peking University.  Enge Wang was born in Shenyang, China, and received his Ph.D. from Peking University in 1990. After post-doctoral research in US and France, he started his academic career at Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 1995. He served as Director of Institute of Physics (CAS) (1999-2007), CAS Deputy Secretary-General (2008-2009), Dean of School of Physics and of Graduate School, Provost and Executive Vice President of Peking University (2009-2013), and was appointed President of Peking University in March 2013.

Enge Wang’s main research accomplishments include the fundamental understanding of the kinetics involved in formation and decay of surface-based nanostructures, development of chemical vapor deposition of light-element nanomaterials, and study of water behaviors in confinement system. In the above areas, he is the author of over 280 papers in peer-reviewed journals (more than 40 in Science, Natures, PNAS, PRL, JACS), coeditor of 1 MRS proceeding, and coinventor on 6 patents. He delivered over 80 plenary/keynote/invited talks including APS, MRS, and IUMRS, and gave over 100 seminars/colloquiums worldwide. He is an ISI highly cited researcher in physics with over 7000 citations and a H-index of 49.

Enge Wang was named a number of international and national academic honors and awards, for example, the Asian Consortium on Computational Materials Science Award (2011), the first Ten Outstanding Scientist Award in China (2010), the HLHL Science and Technology Award (2010), the TWAS Award in Physics (2005), the Humboldt Research Award (2005), the Achievement in Asia Award of the Overseas Chinese Physics Association (2003) etc.

Enge Wang is a member of CAS and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), and a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Physics (UK). He serves to the physics community in many committees, for examples of the Vice Chair of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP-C10), the Vice President of the Chinese Physical Society, and international scientific advisory boards for various organizations in the Australia, Chile, India, Japan, UK, USA, and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile he is an executive editor or an editorial board member for a member of international journals, such as AIP Advances, Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, Solid State Communication, IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology, Frontiers of Physics in China etc.