National science award for CQT's Charles Lim

Congratulations to Charles on receiving the Young Scientist Award for his research on quantum cryptography
18 October 2019

Charles Lim against equations Charles is a quantum information theorist with expertise in security analysis for quantum cryptography. Image credit: A*STAR

Charles Lim, a CQT Fellow, has won the Singapore Young Scientist Award 2019 "for his research on quantum cryptography that paves the way to practical quantum-safe networks". The national award is presented to scientists aged 35 and below who have shown potential to be world-class researchers in their field of expertise.

Charles attended the President's Science and Technology Awards ceremony on 17 October to receive the prize. The award is administered by the Singapore National Academy of Sciences and supported by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Two Young Scientist Awards are presented each year, with Charles receiving the award in the physical, information and engineering sciences category. He is featured along with the second winner in this short video produced by A*STAR TV:


It was over a decade ago that Charles first learnt about quantum cryptography as an NUS science undergaduate working with CQT's Valerio Scarani, Christian Kurtsiefer and Antia-Lamas-Linares. He then went on to earn a PhD in quantum information science in Switzerland and complete a postdoc in the United States, at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He returned to Singapore to take up a faculty position in the NUS Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He holds a joint appointment as a Fellow in CQT.

Charles is a quantum information theorist with expertise in security analysis for quantum cryptography, which offers a promising alternative to current encryption techniques that are vulnerable to hacking by future, large-scale quantum computers. In 2017, he and his experimentalist collaborators reported a record for quantum key distribution speed.

Earlier this year, he received a competitive research grant from the national Quantum Engineering Programme to develop chip-based quantum technologies for multi-user quantum networks, for which he has formed an experimental team and established a collaboration with the nanoelectronics company imec. He is also a National Research Foundation Fellow (Class of 2019).

He traces his inspiration to become a scientist back to his primary school days, when he was working on simple experiments to collect a set of Young Scientist badges under a scheme run by Science Centre Singapore. "Even though it was really simple experiments, I felt that it was something that I want to do for life" he said. Watch Charles explain more about his research and motivation in this video that was made for an exhibition at Science Centre Singapore on quantum technologies running until January 2020.