Ching-Yao Fong

Headshot of Ching-yao Fong

Distinguished Professor

One Shields Avenue
Physics Department
Davis, CA 95616

Office: 403 Physics Building
Phone: +1 (530) 601-8733
Fax: +1 (530)752-4717

Personal Website:

Research Interests:

My research interests focus primarily on the design of new spintronic materials using first-principles algorithms based on density functional theory which is supported by National Science Foundation. In particular, materials exhibit half metallic properties. A half metal shows metallic properties in one of the electronic spin channels and semiconducting behaviors in the oppositely oriented spin channel. The feature is that the current of a half metal is 100% spin polarized. They can be utilized for information storage and transmission. To use the designed materials for device applications, it is necessary to do the following: (1) Checking the stability. This is done by calculating the properties of the phonon dispersions. (2) Determining the correct energy gap in the semiconducting channel by carrying out the so-called GW calculations and taking care of the different screening due to the presence of the metallic channel. Therefore, to design such materials, one should have (i) the basic understanding of quantum mechanics for electrons, phonons, magnons and many-body physics, and (ii) good physical intuitions about how electrons and their spin moments and ions interact including many-body effects. This is exemplified in my two co-authored books, “Half-metallic materials and their properties” published in 2013 and “Recent progress in silicon-based spintronic materials” published in 2015. They describe many experimental and theoretical methods using physical pictures for helping to build physical intuitions.

Other projects involve calculations (a) to understand how edge states are developed in topological insulators, (b) to investigate adsorptions (for solar energy applications) and collective motions of ad-atoms on semiconducting surfaces. These projects are the collaborations with Professors X. D. Zhu, D. Yu and S. Chiang.

Research Areas

Career History

  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1968
  • Assistant Professor, University of California, Davis, 1969-1974
  • Associate Professor, University of California, Davis, 1974-1978
  • Professor, University of California, Davis, 1978-2005
  • Distinguished Professor, University of California, Davis, 2005-Present


  • Distinguished Scientist, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2008 - 2012
  • Distinguished Lecturer, Nanotechnology Center, Bilkent University, Turkey, 2011
  • Member, Editoral Board for the "International Journal Computational Science", 2007 - present
  • Selected Outstanding Referee by American Physical Society, 2008
  • Elected Fellow of the British Institute of Physics, 1999
  • Member, Editorial Board for Journal of Applied Physics and Applied Physics Letters, 1995-97
  • Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, 1995
  • Member, Editorial Board for the Journal "Modelling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering", 1992- 2011
  • IBM Summer Faculty Fellow, 1989
  • NASA-ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship, 1978, 1977
  • NASA-ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship, 1978, 1977
  • NASA-ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship, 1978, 1977
  • Gordon-McKay Fellowship, 1962-63