- Chair Professor in Department of Physics at The University of Hong Kong
- Research interests span condensed matter physics, quantum physics, and optical physics, with a current focus on atomically thin two-dimensional materials and their van der Waals layered structures, having played a decisive role in creating an important new research direction – valley optoelectronics in two-dimensional semiconductors
- SRFS project — to explore the profound effects of moiré superstructures, arising from the atomic-stacking-dependent interlayer coupling, on the physics phenomena, material properties and potential device functionalities in a range of van der Waals layer structures
- Awards and Honours:
- RGC Senior Research Fellow (2021)
- Fellow of American Physical Society (2020)
- Croucher Senior Research Fellowship (2020)
- OCPA Achievement in Asia Award (Robert T. Poe Prize) (2014)
- Moiré Superlattice Physics in Van der Waals Materials
Prof. Yao got his Bachelor degree from Peking University in 2001, and his PhD degree in Physics in 2006 from University of California, San Diego. He joined The University of Hong Kong as an assistant professor in 2008, and rose through the academic ranks to Full Professor in 2017 and Chair Professor in 2019. His theoretical research interests span condensed matter physics, quantum physics, and optical physics, with a current focus on atomically thin two-dimensional materials and their van der Waals layered structures.
Prof. Yao has played a decisive role in creating an important new research direction – valley optoelectronics in two-dimensional semiconductors. Valley is a quantum degree of freedom of electrons in solid state materials. Its exploitation as information carrier can potentially lead to versatile functionalities in future optoelectronic devices. Prof. Yao's work laid down the theory foundation for versatile controls of valley in two-dimensional semiconductors and their van der Waals layered structures. His important collaborations with experimentalists also contributed to a series of breakthroughs demonstrating optoelectronic controls of valley.
Prof. Yao has received the OCPA Achievement in Asia Award (Robert T. Poe Prize) in 2014 from The International Organization of Chinese Physicists and Astronomers (OCPA), the Croucher Innovation Award in 2013, Croucher Senior Research Fellowship in 2020, the Nishina Asia Award in 2021 from the Nishina Memorial Foundation, the Xplorer Prize in 2021 from the Tencent Foundation, and has been named by Clarivate Analytics in the list of "Highly Cited Researchers" in consecutive years from 2018. In 2020, he is elected Fellow of American Physical Society.