2024 IEEE DEIS Boggs Winners Announced

The IEEE Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society (DEIS) has two DEIS-level technical awards that it bestows every two years.  They are the highest-level IEEE technical awards in the dielectrics and electrical insulation field.  DEIS President Davide Fabiani announced the winners of the 2024 awards in April. Prof Yao Zhou is the 2024 Boggs Award recipient.

The IEEE DEIS STEVEN A. BOGGS YOUNG PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD was first given in 2020.  This award is presented to individuals who have achieved their first significant results in the field of dielectrics and electrical insulation.  The nominees are required to have a minimum of 3 years and up to 10 years’ experience in research, engineering or innovation after completing their bachelor’s degree.

Prof Yao Zhou

Prof Zhou obtained his BSc and PhD from Tsinghua University, the latter in 2019.  After a post-doc at the Pennsylvania State University in the USA, he was appointed a full professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University in 2023.  His main research fields of interest include: high-temperature capacitive energy storage dielectric materials and devices; high-performance environmentally friendly electrical materials and equipment; and flexible ferroelectric and piezoelectric materials for energy conversion. He has already produced 2 peer-reviewed book chapters and 63 peer-reviewed papers, including in Nature (co-polymers for high temperature energy storage) and Nature Materials (ferroelectric polymer nanocomposites with large electro-strain) as the leading author, as well as 10 patents.

Prof Zhou was specifically nominated for his pioneering research in polymer dielectrics for energy storage, conversion, and transmission. He developed the substituent engineering approach to molecular semiconductors as organic fillers for high-temperature dielectric polymers. By modulating the energy level of charge trapping through systematic variation of the substituents of molecular semiconductors, Yao revealed new fundamental insights into the mechanisms of electrical conduction in dielectric polymers at high temperatures. Consequently, with this improved understanding, the operating temperature has been increased from 150 °C of current dielectric polymers to 200 °C of using dielectric polymers doped with optimized molecular semiconductor fillers. He and his colleagues also developed the first example of dielectric polymers that exhibit both the lowest high-field high-temperature electrical conductivity and the highest through-plane thermal conductivity compared to existing polymers.  In a different research project, Yao invented a polypropylene-based high-voltage cable that can operate at higher temperatures than XLPE. The environmentally friendly PP-based cables he helped to develop was put into operation in May 2023.  Finally, he has made important breakthroughs on a completely new electro-thermal phase transition method to actuate percolative ferroelectric polymer nanocomposites, achieving superior actuation performance in terms of strain, mechanical energy density and actuation strength compared to benchmark piezoelectric ceramics and single crystals.  He has already won several awards for his research.  In summary, Yao is an outstanding young scholar who has been innovative and extremely productive. He is a young world-class leader in the field of polymer dielectrics and insulation.

Prof Zhou will receive his award at the 2024 IEEE ICPADM in Phuket, Thailand, where he will also present an invited lecture.