Research Interests

Our research group explores new physical phenomena in atomically thin materials and their heterostructures. We study a wide range of materials with very different properties, which include semiconductors, superconductors and magnets etc. We stack them together to form heteostructures, and make electronics and opto-mechanical devices based on this material platform. To explore new phenomena, we also develop new measurement and imaging techniques suitable for specific problems on hand. Our ultimate goal is to push the limit on what can be seen and done in this two-dimensional world.

Selected Publications

  • Quantum anomalous Hall effect from intertwined moiré bands, T. Li, S. Jiang, B. Shen, Y. Zhang, L. Li, Z. Tao, T. Devakul, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, L. Fu, J. Shan, & K. F. Mak, Nature 600, 641-646 (2021).
  • Strongly correlated excitonic insulator in atomic double layers, L. Ma, P.X. Nguyen, Z. Wang, Y. Zeng, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, A.H. MacDonald, K.F. Mak, & J. Shan, Nature 598, 585-589 (2021).
  • Continuous Mott transition in semiconductor moiré superlattices, T. Li, S. Jiang, L. Li, Y. Zhang, K. Kang, J. Zhu, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, D. Chowdhury, L. Fu, J. Shan, & K.F. Mak, Nature 597, 350-354 (2021).
  • Stripe phases in WSe2/WS2 moiré superlattices, C. Jin, Z. Tao, T. Li, Y. Xu, Y. Tang, J. Zhu, S. Liu, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, J. C. Hone, L. Fu, J. Shan, & K. F. Mak, Nature Materials (2021).
  • Correlated insulating states at fractional fillings of WSe2/WS2 moiré superlattices, Y. Xu, S. Liu, D. A. Rhodes, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, J. C. Hone, V. Elser, K. F. Mak, & J. Shan, Nature 587, 214-218 (2020).
  • Exchange magnetostriction in two-dimensional antiferromagnets, S. Jiang, H. Xie, J. Shan, & K. F. Mak, Nature Materials 19, 1295-1299 (2020).
  • Imaging and control of critical fluctuations in two-dimensional magnets, C. Jin, Z. Tao, K. Kang, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, K. F. Mak, & J. Shan, Nature Materials 19, 1290-1294 (2020).
  • Simulation of Hubbard model physics in WSe2/WS2 moiré superlattices, Y. Tang, L. Li, T. Li, Y. Xu, S. Liu, K. Barmak, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, A. H. MacDonald, J. Shan, & K. F. Mak, Nature 579, 353-358 (2020).
  • Evidence of high-temperature exciton condensation in 2D atomic double layers, Z. Wang, D. A. Rhodes, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, J. C. Hone, J. Shan, & K. F. Mak, Nature 574, 76-80 (2019).
  • Nonlinear anomalous Hall effect in few-layer WTe2. K. Kang, T. Li, E. Sohn, J. Shan, & K. F. Mak, Nature Materials 18, 324-328 (2019).

Selected Awards and Honors

  • IUPAP Young Scientist Prize, 2013
  • Packard Foundation Fellow, 2016
  • OCPA Outstanding Young Researcher Award, 2016
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, 2017
  • Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, 2019
  • APS Fellow, 2021
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award, 2021


  • B.S., 2005, Physics and Mathematics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  • Ph.D., 2010, Physics, Columbia University
  • Post-doctoral Fellow, Columbia University, 2010-2012
  • Post-doctoral Fellow, Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science, Cornell University, 2012-2014


In the News