The Institute of Physics (IOP) was established in 1950, through the merger of the National Research Institute of Physics of Academia Sinica (established in 1928), and the Institute of Physics of the National Academy of Peiping (established in 1929). After the founding of the People’s Republic of China it became known as the Institute of Applied Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The present name was adopted in October 1958.
Through the steadfast efforts of generations of scientists, IOP has become a comprehensive and multidisciplinary research organization engaged in research on basic and applied physics. Its current research focuses mainly on condensed matter physics, optical physics, atomic and molecular physics, plasma physics, soft matter physics, and condensed matter theory and computational physics.
IOP houses state key laboratories for superconductivity, magnetism and surface physics, respectively; and seven CAS key laboratories for optical physics, advanced material and structure analysis, nanophysics and nano devices, extreme conditions physics, soft matter physics, renewable energy, and condensed matter theory and material computation, respectively. IOP also has two institute laboratories in the fields of solid-state quantum information and quantum computation, and microfabrication, respectively. In addition, the institute also houses the Quantum Simulation Science Research Center, the CSNS Engineering Center for Target Stations and Instruments, the International Center for Quantum Structures, the Center for Clean Energy, the Superconducting Technology Applications Center, and the Functional Crystal Research and Applications Center.
As of the end of 2013, IOP had a staff of 408, including 260 scientific researchers, 107 technical personnel, 45 administrators, 13 CAS members, and two Chinese Academy of Engineering members. In the past two decades, 67 researchers have been recruited through the CAS Hundred Talent Program, and 51 have been supported by the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars. IOP currently has 479 doctoral students, 283 master’s students, and 47 postdoctoral scholars.
In fundamental research IOP, has made many important breakthroughs. Key research studies have included: “Discoveries of oxide superconductors at liquid nitrogen temperatures”; “Nd-Fe-B permanent magnetic alloys using low purity materials”; “Carbon nanotubes”; and “Generation and transport of fast electrons in ultra-intense laser interaction with plasmas.” In 2012, IOP published more than 800 SCI papers as first author, ranking second among all the institutes in China. In the field of applied physics, 565 patents have been granted since 1998, some of which have been successfully commercialized. IOP has ownership stakes in eight high-tech companies, including six companies in which it has contributed intellectual property. Since 1978, institute members have won more than 300 awards, including five physics awards from The World Academy of Sciences, 18 National Natural Science Awards, eight National Invention Awards, and 22 National Natural Science and Technology Progress Awards. In 2012, IOP won a First-level National Natural Science Award for studies of iron-based high critical temperature superconductors.
The institute has devoted much attention to international collaboration and academic exchange. So far, many cooperative programs have been carried out and various agreements and memorandums have been signed with universities and laboratories in the USA, France, Britain, Germany, and Japan, etc., for a total of 31 different countries or regions. On average, IOP researchers make more than 300 trips abroad for academic exchange yearly and more than 400 foreign experts and scholars from about 30 countries visit IOP each year. International visitors include Nobel Prize winners and world-famous scientists. IOP also regularly organizes high level international conferences and seminars that provide an important means for Chinese and overseas scientists to share research achievements.