Academician Chu Junhao: ​Sensors are the core technology of the fourth industrial revolution and are very important!

Chu Junhao , academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Researcher of Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, professor of Department of Materials Science of Fudan University, editor-in-chief of “Journal of Infrared and Millimeter Waves”, and member of the presidium of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Academician Chu Junhao has long been engaged in the research of infrared optoelectronics and semiconductor physics. He has won the National Natural Science Award three times, the Ministry-level Natural Science Award or the Science and Technology Progress Award 12 times. In 2005, he was elected as an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Recently, the 19th “Sea Academician Forum” was held at the China Financial Information Center. Academician Chu Junhao, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, researcher of the Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and professor of Fudan University, delivered a keynote report entitled “The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Age of Intelligence”.

In the report, Academician Chu Junhao has repeatedly emphasized the importance of mastering independent sensor technology for my country to carry out the fourth industrial revolution and enter the era of intelligence. Academician Chu Junhao pointed out that sensors are a very important core technology of intelligent systems in the fourth industrial revolution . It is very important for my country to develop high-performance sensor chips to achieve faster and more intelligent applications with lower costs.

With a good sensor, you can grasp the core technology, and then use the Internet technology to transmit the sensory information for analysis, and then achieve multi-functional integration, wireless communication, flexibility, and miniaturization.

Fourth Industrial Revolution

In the 18th century, the first industrial revolution originated in Britain and was characterized by mechanization. At that time, there were steam engines. With the continuous improvement of technology and performance, large machine production replaced manual labor, and the whole world began to mechanize. Furthermore, the productive forces were liberated and developed, and a class with assets appeared, which changed the face of the world; the labor force moved from the countryside to the city, and the process of urbanization began.

The 19th century saw the second industrial revolution, characterized by electrification. Electric motors and generators were invented as a result of discovering the laws of electromagnetism in the laboratory. At that time, the United States and Germany were in the leading position. The extensive application of electricity and the massive exploitation of oil, the application of scientific and technological achievements to production in sequence, promoted the rapid growth of the world economy and further changed the way of life of the people; monopoly capital affected the country and the The political and economic life of the world; strengthening the world’s ties, while bringing environmental pollution.

The industrial revolution is the intersection of technology and science, science promotes technology, and technology is transformed into applications. For example, the first industrial revolution started from technology, then to science, and then to technology. The second industrial revolution was different, starting entirely with science, then technology, and then science.

In the 20th century, the third industrial revolution was characterized by informatization. From science to technology to science, it develops from this. Through the discovery of the laws of atomic physics, quantum mechanics, solid state physics, modern optics and semiconductor science, we have achieved technical development in semiconductor transistors, integrated circuits, lasers, optical fibers, electromagnetic waves, giant magnetoresistance effects, etc. The development of a series of emerging industries such as electronic technology, microelectronic technology, atomic energy technology, optical technology, new material technology, and information technology.

So, what is the driving force of the new industrial revolution?

1. Energy and environmental problems are prominent, and global sustainable development is facing enormous pressure

In the past, the Arctic Ocean was full of ice. When polar bears foraged, they made a hole in the ice and fish could swim over and eat them. However, as the glaciers melted, there was no place to burrow, which eventually caused the big bears to eat the little bears, which is why people can see the skeletons of the little bears when they travel. If all the Arctic Greenland ice sheets melted, the sea level would rise by 7.2 meters! For Shanghai, Pudong is less than 2 meters above sea level, and Puxi is only 3 to 4 meters. If the sea level rises by 7.2 meters, it means that Pudong will be completely submerged in water.

2. Humans continue to pursue a better life

We used to watch black and white TV, and then we watch color TV. The screen is getting bigger and bigger, and we may watch stereoscopic TV in the future. Laser holography is one such solution, and people are also working on it.

3. The high development of information science and technology creates conditions for the industrial revolution

Now based on new discoveries in material science, micro-nano devices and new manufacturing technologies; based on the development of brain science and cognitive science, to promote high intelligence; digitalization develops into big data, programming develops into intelligence, miniaturization develops into micro-nano, Networking develops from machine-machine network to human-machine-thing network.

For example, the development of integrated circuits is very difficult now, the size is getting smaller and smaller, Moore’s Law is close to critical, and spintronics may be studied in the future. Spintronic devices have high speed and low power consumption, can achieve higher integration, and can also integrate light, electricity, and magnetism to realize storage, computing, and sensing as one device, thereby realizing higher-speed integrated circuits.

Some major breakthroughs in the fields of information, biology, materials, energy, and the environment have emerged, and many ideas, concepts, and technologies will undergo major leaps. Humanity has entered the post-IT era and ushered in the era of intelligence .

Therefore, the first industrial revolution is mechanization, the second industrial revolution is electrification, the third industrial revolution is informatization, and the general trend of the fourth industrial revolution is intelligence. Its characteristic is that wisdom is integrated into the physical entity system, referred to as wisdom fusion. Now the fourth industrial revolution has the following three characteristics: information science and technology are further improved on the basis of physics, mathematics and biology; multi-field discovery and invention are multi-track parallel and cross-promotion; information science and technology are deeply integrated with multi-field science and technology to penetrate information To various fields, thereby using information technology to enhance the energy level.

The technological situation of the new industrial revolution has six aspects: first, intelligent distributed new energy system, energy Internet; second, intelligent complex system, artificial intelligence, smart city; third, intelligent manufacturing technology, Advanced materials, extreme manufacturing; fourth, intelligent diagnosis, repair technology, smart medical treatment; fifth, intelligent upgrade of traditional industries; sixth, Internet, sensors, Internet of Things, big data.

Welcome to the age of intelligence

The intelligent era is characterized by intelligent systems, which are its core. An intelligent system has three pillars, dynamic perception, intelligent recognition, and automatic response:

First of all, it needs dynamic perception , which is like our eyes, ears and other facial features. However, QR codes and barcodes are not dynamic, they are prepared and placed there in advance. Therefore, in an intelligent system, we rely on sensors to achieve dynamic perception, and sensors replace our five senses.

The second is to recognize intelligently , and recognition is to analyze, which is equivalent to our brain. It depends on the analysis of big data. The analysis of big data has two aspects, one is text big data, which is ready-made, and the other is physical big data, which is obtained through measurement, such as weather forecast. , doing CT, we should pay more attention to the laws, models and methods of physical processes. Find the law through the law, get twice the result with half the effort.

The third is to automatically respond . Now we have a basic information platform, the Internet, the Internet of Things, integrated circuits, chip technology, and 5G communication technology, which can greatly improve automatic response.

For example, a ping pong robot is a typical intelligent system, because first it can see the ping pong ball, which is dynamic perception, second it needs to calculate how the ping pong ball bounces, and the third is its reaction , hit it back, in the intelligent system, one is artificial intelligence, the other is smart earth. Artificial intelligence is already very common in industry.

In the BMW factory in Munich, Germany, there are 5,000 people, and 1,000 of them are robots. In the smart earth, it includes smart sky and sea, smart energy environment, smart manufacturing, etc. “Smarter Earth = Internet + Internet of Things”, this is the definition of the president of IBM. Premier Wen gave a speech in Wuxi, “Connecting all the devices that pass through items and information sensing to the Internet for intelligent processing, this is the Internet of Things.”

An intelligent system is to intelligently run a certain behavior in a certain area. For example, a smart old and young monitoring system or equipment control system in a home; a smart energy control system in a community; a smart logistics system in a factory. Therefore, the intelligent system must be in one area and implement one, two or three behaviors. If the area is getting bigger and bigger and there are more and more behaviors, then your intelligence will be higher and higher.

Based on the basic information technology of the Internet, Internet of Things, big data and cloud computing, a smart city should have at least four layers of architecture: perception layer, interconnection layer, analysis layer, and reaction layer , and then in comprehensive urban management, transportation, logistics, trade, energy The five aspects of environmental safety, medical culture education and urban community housing have been widely used.

It contains two core technologies, one is real-time perception technology, which is realized through sensor chips. The second is the intelligent analysis system, which is realized through the analysis of models and big data , such as the human heart monitor. The data analysis center obtains the heart information in real time and sends it out. If there is any problem with your electrocardiogram, you can take measures immediately. It is intelligent medicine.

The first is the sensor, which is a device that replaces our eyes, nose, and ears, and converts photoacoustic thermionic biological processes into electricity. For example, for photoelectric sensors, it attaches great importance to basic research, which provides methods, means, models and theories. Since it is a device with different forms of motion, we need to discover its laws, improve and realize it technically, so as to make a sensor, which has developed photoelectric chip technology.

In addition, with different waveband detectors, different information can be seen. Because different bands have different characteristics, detectors with different bands are needed. Such as short-wave infrared, visible light and near-infrared, all have different uses. Now the camera is visible light, if the regularity can be found and the detectors of different wavebands can be made, its application range will be very broad.

The longer wavelength is terahertz (THz), which has a wide range of applications, including the monitoring of soil dirt and oil, medical two-dimensional imaging, security (explosive detection), radar modeling, etc. There are core technologies, such as special sensitive detectors, non-existing Ge photodetectors, field effect transistor detectors, Schottky barrier detectors, and so on.

We recently discovered a new phenomenon: the narrow band gap semiconductor MSM structure interacts with the THz optical field, and external electromagnetic waves (photons) incident on the device will induce a potential well in the semiconductor material, thereby confining the carriers from the metal, As a result, the carrier concentration in the material changes, and carrier aggregation occurs.

Infrared, not only can see the image clearly in the dark, but also can see the temperature distribution. We can use ferroelectric thin films, vanadium oxide, etc. to manufacture infrared detectors that work at room temperature. According to scientific principles, we can analyze objects at different temperatures and the energy distribution of external radiation. This is also what is often used to detect body temperature during the current epidemic.

Another example is fire monitoring. Through infrared detection technologies such as fixed infrared monitoring systems, airborne infrared fire warnings, and infrared satellites, smoke can be penetrated in a timely and accurate manner to find fire spots and people trapped in the fire.

The requirements for photoelectric sensors in the context of the intelligent era include the following: infrared detectors with few photons, single photons, and photon counts; ultra-large-scale focal plane array devices; photoelectric devices in different bands; multi-band fusion photoelectric devices; room temperature infrared focus Planar device; new readout focal plane device. It is necessary to understand the physical processes in the structure of materials and devices, and to be able to describe and control them finely, so as to improve the technical level and achieve innovation.

Therefore, sensor is a very important core technology of intelligent system. It is very important to develop high-performance sensor chips to achieve faster and more intelligent applications with lower costs. With a good sensor, you can grasp the core technology, and then use the Internet technology to transmit the sensory information for analysis, and then achieve multi-functional integration, wireless communication, flexibility, and miniaturization.

The second core technology is smart analysis, model analysis, and big data analysis. We are now in a world of fluctuations, space gravitational waves, electromagnetic waves, and mechanical waves. This wave has frequency, emphasis, phase, and polarization. Through the analysis of waves, a lot of information can be obtained.

For example, apples, cherries, pears, and grapes have different spectrums. The spectra of the clothes we wear are also different. When we obtain the spectral characteristics and store them in the database, we can use them. Compare the measured spectra with the database data to analyze and judge. The big data of medical imaging information uses imaging combined with spectrum to identify.

Therefore, the smart chip combines the analysis and sensor chips, collects the characteristics of the wave, makes a database, and forms its own system.

It is very important to attach importance to basic research. Basic research is the scientific source of all industrial revolutions and has been developed in all industrial revolutions. Basic research will drive the development of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will lead to the discovery of new technologies in the context of the intelligent age. So this is also the continuous application of science-technology-science-technology, researching according to the laws of science and technology itself, to promote its development.

Now the new industrial revolution will also have some impact on the manufacturing industry. First, the industrial revolution is always accompanied by the technological revolution, and the manufacturing industry is gradually moving from the traditional to the intelligent era, because with the development of industrial robots, 3D printing, and digital factories The emergence of artificial intelligence has replaced labor, and the proportion of labor costs in the total cost has been continuously reduced, which has caused many manufacturing industries in my country to face a crisis of survival, but also promoted the development of artificial intelligence robots. And in the future, the economic model of network sharing will appear distributed production model, smart factory and Internet factory.

At the same time, it will also advocate low-carbon and green production and lifestyles, and make breakthroughs in some key technologies, including renewable energy technology, energy storage technology, smart grid technology, new energy technology, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things. , but also includes many special technologies, sensing technologies, analysis technologies and so on.

The trend of manufacturing transformation has the following five points: Originally, it was mainly driven by resources and investment, but now it depends on technological progress. It used to be the expansion of production capacity, but now it is the accumulation of technical capacity. Originally it was a production-oriented manufacturing, and it developed into a service-oriented manufacturing. It turned out to be from the low end of the manufacturing value chain to the high end of the value chain. What used to be a squeeze environment is now environmentally friendly.

Regarding the countermeasures for the new industrial revolution, the government should do a good job in the top-level design of promoting the new industrial revolution. Secondly, we must actively invest in the important infrastructure required by the new industrial revolution, including macro-level new infrastructure, as well as facilities in each town, township, city, and province. In addition, it is necessary to cultivate an innovation environment and promote the wave of technological innovation. Build a cultivation system for future industries and guide industrial innovation.

Finally, promote the construction of mechanisms and systems that meet the needs of the new industrial revolution. Several aspects of work should be strengthened. First, strengthen the trilogy of scientific laws and core technologies and industrial development. Second, to strengthen the pilot-scale research and development of laboratory results, enterprises should intervene in advance, and the government should share risks. Third, strengthen industry-university-research cooperation, establish industry-university-research joint laboratories and joint research and development centers, and the government should guide and support. Fourth, it is necessary to improve the awareness of independent innovation of enterprises and enhance the ability of independent innovation.

Finally, Lao Tzu once said: “If there is a way without art, art can still be sought. If there is art but no way, it ends at art.” Zhuangzi once said: “With Dao controlling art, art will succeed. “. These two sentences express the relationship between scientific laws and technology incisively and vividly.

Cultivate innovation ability

Cultivating innovation ability is important for a unit, scientists, engineers, and students, and the key is people. First, we must follow objective laws, especially discovering laws, developing technologies, and practical application. We must handle relationships well. Second, we must cultivate inner qualities, be diligent, curious, and innovative. Have lofty aspirations; the third is to gather the driving force, the driving force is very important to be interested, to have interest to do this, only by generating interest can we do the best; fourth, we must be driven by responsibility, we are human beings , driven by spirit, driven by responsibility; finally, we must cultivate an ultimate spirit, which is to keep improving and be meticulous.


Every academician is a pillar of China’s scientific community, a mainstay in China’s science and technology field, has a high-level view on the development of science and technology, and also leads the development direction of our country’s most cutting-edge science.

From the report of Academician Chu Junhao, the important role of sensors in the fourth industrial revolution has been emphasized many times, and it is also the core technology for China to enter the era of intelligence. However, my country’s sensor industry is weak, and the core technology is not mastered much, which is the current situation that the entire Chinese sensor industry needs to change.

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