Chen Chuangtian

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Chen Chuangtian
Native name陈创天
Born(1937-02-18)18 February 1937
Fenghua, Zhejiang, China
Died31 October 2018(2018-10-31) (aged 81)
Beijing, China
Alma materPeking University
Known forDiscovery of BBO, LBO and KBBF
AwardsScience and Technology Progress Award (1986)
TWAS Prize in Chemistry (1987)
National Invention Prize, First Class (1991)
Laudise Prize (2013)
Scientific career
FieldsMaterials science, physical chemistry
InstitutionsFujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter
Academic advisorsLu Jiaxi
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese陈创天

Chen Chuangtian (Chinese: 陈创天; 18 February 1937 – 31 October 2018), also known as Chuang-Tian Chen, was a Chinese materials scientist and physical chemist who specialized in crystals used in lasers. He discovered the nonlinear optical crystals BBO, LBO and KBBF, which have important uses in areas including superconductor research, semiconductor photolithography, and the medical industry. He was an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a fellow of The World Academy of Sciences. He was awarded the TWAS Prize in Chemistry and the National Invention Prize (First Class).


Chen was born on 18 February 1937 in Fenghua, Zhejiang, China. He studied at Shenyang No. 2 High School, and was accepted by the Department of Physics of Peking University in August 1956.[1] After graduating in 1962, he entered the Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter in Fuzhou on the recommendation of Hu Ning, and studied under physical chemist Lu Jiaxi for three years.[2]

In 1965, Chen chose nonlinear optical materials as his research direction and spent the next two years calculating the nonlinear optical coefficients of many crystals.[2] In the late 1970s and the 1980s, Chen and his team discovered the new nonlinear optical crystals BaB2O4 (BBO) and LiB3O5 (LBO).[2]

In 1988, Chen and his team began searching for optical compounds that could produce shorter ultraviolet wavelengths. After researching hundreds of compounds, they discovered potassium beryllium fluoroborate (KBBF), a nonlinear optical crystal which is capable of generating light within a very narrow bandwidth, with wavelengths of less than 200 nanometers.[3] The crystal is important in superconductor research and can allow the replacement of excimer laser with solid-state ones in photolithography used in the semiconductor and the medical industries.[3] Until at least 2009, Chen's lab at the Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter was the only place in the world that could produce KBBF.[3] In 2013, Chen and his colleague Xu Zuyan [zh] invented the DUV-DPL device (deep ultraviolet diode-pumped solid-state laser), with a wavelength of only 177.3 nm.[4]

Chen died on 31 October 2018 in Beijing, at the age of 81.[2][5]

Honors and recognition[edit]

Chen was elected a fellow of The World Academy of Sciences in 1990 and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2003.[1]

Chen was awarded the 1987 TWAS Prize in Chemistry, "for his outstanding contribution to the development of new nonlinear optical materials, the formulation of a quantum chemical theory that guides the search for such materials and the discovery of beta barium borate and lithium triborate".[6] He won a Special Prize of the Science and Technology Progress Award of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1986 for his discovery of BBO and the National Invention Prize (First Class) in 1991 for LBO.[2][7] In 2013, he was awarded the Laudise Prize by the International Organization for Crystal Growth.[8][9]


  1. ^ a b 1937年2月18日 材料科学专家陈创天诞生. Xinhua. 2018-02-18. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  2. ^ a b c d e 纪念陈创天院士:让中国牌晶体誉享全球 KBBF晶体领先美国15年. OFweek. 2018-11-01. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  3. ^ a b c Wallace, John (2009-03-01). "Nonlinear crystal only 'made in China'". Laser Focus World. Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  4. ^ Chen, Boyuan (2013-09-10). "China launches applicable deep UV laser device". Retrieved 2018-11-02.
  5. ^ 著名材料学家陈创天院士逝世. Sciencenet. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  6. ^ "Recipients of TWAS Awards and Prizes". TWAS. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  7. ^ "Professor CHEN Chuangtian". Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  8. ^ "Prizes". International Organization for Crystal Growth. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  9. ^ "CAS Academician CHEN Chuangtian Receives Laudise Prize". Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry. 2013-08-20. Retrieved 2018-11-01.