What I obtained in this MRS Meeting

The five-day meeting has brought me a lot.

1) Deepened my understanding about my research through presentations and discussions with researchers with different backgrounds but working in fields relevant to my research.

2) Practiced how to present and communicate effectively to both experts in my fields and "laymen" with other research specialty.

3) Practiced scientific writing and news writing by attending the MRS Science Writing workshop and serving as a blogger.

4) Extended my professional network. I've interviewed leading figures in my research fields and was also able to discuss with other talented graduate students.

5) Met MRS organizers who I would never see in my life if I didn't decide to come. Chats with session organizers and meeting organizers as well as MRS website administrator revealed numerous behind-the-scenes stories, adding unique elements to my meeting experience.

If you are one of the graduate students who are reading this post but didn't get a chance to involve this time, I would encourage you to attend the MRS Fall Meeting at Boston in this Nov.

Ready to get back at it

While I enjoyed a week out of the lab, off from stressing about deadlines and papers, I am ready to get back at it. This week invigorated me to work harder at my research in order to be able to present my work to the next convention (MRS Fall, anyone?). Hearing from all these names who I’ve never met, but read papers of and bouncing ideas around with them allowed me to realize that science is all in this together.

I am ready to bring what I had learned about my materials and processes back home with me to the lab. MRS may be over for now, but the effects that this conference had will play a vital role in my research.

Convention Center

The convention center, my home for the last week, is a unique building. Perhaps my favorite architectural quality of the convention center would be the giant “garage door” which opens during the mornings. It makes the PCC very accessible and open to the world around it. It made the atmosphere of the convention extend beyond the heavy (they were pretty heavy for me) doors, and out to the streets, to fully embrace the city.

Going downstairs to the exhibit hall and registration was a complete transformation as well, seeing high ceilings and large open areas, even allowing for indoor walking between PCC buildings. Being on the first floor, PCC West was a very busy place where I saw most of my nanomaterials talks. PCC North seemed to be a bit calmer. The rooms in North seemed much larger, and more personal.

While the PCC is not the biggest convention center I’ve been in, it definitely has a lot of character to it. I think this was a great choice for MRS17 to have been held.

Phoenix: A Busy City

When we first arrived on Monday, I was excited to see all the other scientists walking around with their MRS badge. On that same day, I saw an influx of high school groups in the hotels nearby and in the convention center. This was the SkillsUSA group, a convention aimed to help high school students who wish to pursue careers as police, firemen, etc.

As the week went on, I saw a variety of people come in and out of the hotels. Most of the people I saw were MRS members, as I was constantly in the crowd, but I also met some people who were there on business trips, some locals who came down for festivities, and even some vacationers who are enjoying downtown.

Finally, on our last days, I noticed many women move into my hotel, a group part of some choir conference. While I never learned more about the chorus activities, I noticed that the city had changed in the week, from being filled with high schoolers running around, riding the elevator to kill time, to now being filled with the sounds of choirs breaking into song.

Downtown Phoenix and the convention center is a bustling, busy city that is constantly changing and welcoming many unique groups and visitors.

A piece of suggestion for MRS

In an early post, our blogger John mentioned that as MRS members, you are qualified for a number of benefits: http://materials.typepad.com/mrs_meeting_scene/2017/04/mrs-membership-beyond-the-meetings.html

MRS is surely doing an awesome job in providing us these services, but I don't know how many of you are aware all of them. My personal feeling is that MRS is a little bit "shy" in reaching out to its members. Personally I would like to receive emails notifying me anything that MRS is providing. As far as I know, researchers frequently check their emails because conversations in academia primarily utilize emails as the communication platform. 

I, as an MRS member, would like to hear what great works MRS is doing for us!

My Last Day in Sprite '17 MRS

Time flies! Already five days have passed and officially today is the last day for the Spr '17 MRS meeting. In the morning I attended the ES2 sessions and learned a lot from fellows working both in batteries and supercapacitors. At the end of meeting, I met with a graduate student from UK. His team works on supercapacitor simulation works and published a high quality paper I just came across a few weeks ago. We talked about the current research in his group as well as challenges and opportunities for supercapacitor simulation works. It is always of great pleasure to talk to those people who are working on theoretical studies to guide our experimentalists to design novel materials.

Early this afternoon four bloggers met together for the first time (because we always scattered to capture the materials for our posts I guess), and took a photo together. Then I was approached by an engineer and shared me his valuable feedbacks about the past meeting. At 3 pm, I went to Sheraton and thanked Judy, who worked behind-the-scene and maintained this website, for  all her great effort! I returned from Sheraton and joined the last session of ES1, where people were talking about perovskite materials. The last session officially ended at 4:45 pm.

Looking forward, the first thing is to get back home. I will have an early fly (7 am) to San Jose, CA tomorrow. Will release myself for a work-free night to pack my things.

Bloggers for Spr '17 MRS Meeting


In the final day, we four bloggers finally managed to gather together and had the photo above. We hope our posts have added values to your participation in this meeting. Sessions, plenary talks, award ceremony, career fair, we were always there with you. We hope you've enjoyed our posts and this MRS spring meeting.

Being an blogger trains me on how to extract useful information from talks and how to communicate information effective to general audience. It also enabled me to talk to the "big names" in my field and to learn their inspiring behind-the-door stories about their researches. I also met a number of peers who we have chatted together and I learned a lot from them.

Everyone, have a safe trip back home! Hope to see you in next MRS meetings!

Graduate Student Awards

S17_Thursday_GSA_GOLD_800x404Gold Winners
Gerald Brady, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Pengcheng Chen, Northwestern University
Fudong Han, University of Maryland
Won-Kyu Lee, Northwestern University
Qiyang Lu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ye Shi, The University of Texas at Austin
Aditya Sood, Stanford University
Ye Zhang, Fudan University

S17_Thursday_GSA_SILVER_800x404Silver Winners
Swetha Barkam, University of Central Florida
Nigel Becknell, University of California, Berkeley
Michael Christiansen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sujay Desai, University of California, Berkeley
Arko Graf, Heidelberg University
Won Jun Jo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Yanxi Li, Virginia Tech
Jinxing Li, University of California, San Diego
YunHui Lin, Princeton University
Siying Peng, California Institute of Technology
Tyler Schon, University of Toronto
Yude Su, University of California, Berkeley
Lixin Sun, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Katalin Szendrei, Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich
Achim Woessner, ICFO - The Institute of Photonic Sciences
Shuozhi Xu, Georgia Institute of Technology
Zichao Ye, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Zhengshan Yu, Arizona State University
Jie Zhao, Stanford University

Symposium X: Frontiers of Materials Research

S17_Thursday_SympX_250x250Kazutomo Suenaga, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan

Electron Microscopy and Spectroscopy of Low-Dimensional Materials at the Single Atom Level

Written by Aditi Risbud

On Thursday afternoon, Kazutomo Suenaga of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan gave the last Symposium X presentation of the week. His talk focused on single-atom spectroscopy and single-molecule imaging of low-dimensional (1D, 2D) materials.

Suenaga uses electron microscopy and spectroscopy to characterize materials atom by atom. What began as his “science dream from a long time ago” has now become a set of analytical tools to understand the physical and chemical properties of single atoms.

In particular, Suenaga and his team use electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) to discriminate between individual atoms in low-dimensional materials, whether they are different atoms, or identical atoms in excited states or with different spin properties.

Unlike in 3D or bulk materials, defects have significant impact on the properties of low-dimensional materials. Without accurate characterization techniques, the behavior of devices based on low-dimensional materials such as graphene cannot be understood or controlled.

During his talk, Suenaga outlined several examples in various carbon nanostructures using EELS to examine structural imperfections such as defects, impurities, edges, or boundaries. EELS provides an “atomic size probe” to image a material and if the sample is thin enough, obtain some optical absorption information as well.

There are challenges to single-atom spectroscopy, including weak inelastic scattering from electrons, localized signals, and specimen damage. To overcome these difficulties, Suenaga has designed a high-resolution, low-voltage electron microscope that produces high-quality images without destroying a sample. This microscope can resolve a carbon–carbon bond at 30 keV and generate spectroscopic data from individual molecules or atoms.  

“Low-voltage microscopes are very good for low-dimensional materials characterization because we can identify each element, even lighter elements such as lithium,” Suenaga concluded.

Symposium X lectures are aimed at a broad audience to provide meeting attendees with an overview of leading-edge topics.