Symposium Highlights

The symposia of the 2021 Virtual MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit are divided into 7 clusters. Following are a few selected highlights.

Characterization and Modeling

CT05.10.01—Computer Vision and Machine Learning for Microstructural Image Data

Advances in using computer vision and deep learning to automatically characterize materials is highlighted in this presentation. It will describe removing the need for tedious human evaluation of massive amounts of raw data to characterize materials microstructures.

Electronics and Optics

EL03.08—Panel Discussion: Why New Semiconductors?

Much of the exciting research at the MRS Spring Meeting in the area of electronic materials is founded on the assumption that new semiconductors are needed for better function and expanded applications. This assumption will be explored in the panel, which will include world-leading experts in semiconductor materials discovery and design.

Energy and Sustainability

EN02.03.01—Selectivity Tuning of CO2 Electroreduction Catalysts under Dynamic Reaction Conditions

State-of-the-art results on an in-situ study and development of a CO2 catalyst with high selectivity will be described.

Nanoscale and Quantum Materials

NM01—Superconductors as Quantum Materials

Recent reports on superconductivity in unstable hydrogen-rich molecular compounds with a transition temperature Tc approaching room temperature represent the most exciting advancement in and possibly a dawn of a new era in room temperature superconductivity (RTS) science and technology. However, a careful examination of these reports reveals the existence of a formidable hurdle to the full realization of the dream of RT superconductors, namely the pressures needed. The ultrahigh pressures required to achieve the superconducting state and the ultrahigh pressure generators, such as the diamond anvil cells, are a serious obstacle for RTS science and the practical deployment of RTS devices. This work will provide a path to stabilize at ambient temperature, the high pressure-induced high Tc phase in hydrides by adapting the pressure-quench (PQ) technique recently developed by Chu et al. This was successfully demonstrated for HTS FeSe by capturing, at ambient temperature, the 39 K superconducting phase generated under high pressure.

Soft Materials and Biomaterials

SM02.02.03—A FAST Platform to Counter Antimicrobial Resistance and Pandemics

This talk will describe the development of a synthetic biology and materials-engineering based platform called Facile Accelerated Specific Therapeutic (FAST) for developing accelerated therapeutics in less than a week. Such rational design and synthesis of therapeutics can accelerate development of effective therapies against multidrug-resistant (MDR) superbugs.

MRS launches the 2021 Virtual MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit! #s21mrs

Once again, as we turn the corner of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and its impact on our daily lives worldwide, MRS will convene the 2021 MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit as a fully virtual event. 

Without a doubt, the 2021 Virtual MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit will continue to be the valuable and scientifically stimulating event to which we have all become accustomed. You can access and enjoy:

  • Inspiring plenary and invited talks from world-renowned materials scientists
  • Thought-provoking technical symposia
  • Networking, Q&A sessions and professional development events
  • Interacting with vendors and collecting valuable information via the virtual exhibit
  • A wide variety of advertising and sponsorship opportunities

… All from the risk-free comfort and safety of your home or office!  No travel and/or visas required.

Follow #s21mrs!

Thank you!

The 2020 Virtual MRS Spring/Fall Meeting & Exhibit came to conclusion on Friday, December 4. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, special efforts were made by volunteers and participants to rearrange original plans to ensure a successful virtual Meeting!

Meeting content will be available to registered participants through December 31, 2020.

Our congratulations go to the 2020 Spring Meeting Chairs Qing Cao, Miyoung Kim, Rajesh Naik, James M. Rondinelliand Hong Wang and the 2020 Fall Meeting Chairs Michael E. Flatté, Michael P. Rowe, Sabrina Sartori, Prasad Shastri, and Chongmin Wang for putting together an excellent technical program along with various special events. MRS would also like to thank all the Symposium Organizers and Session Chairs for their part in the success of this meeting. A thank you goes to the Exhibitors, Symposium Support, and to the sponsors of the Meeting and of the special events and activities.

Contributors to news on the 2020 Virtual MRS Spring/Fall Meeting & Exhibit include Meeting Scene reporters Parul Bansal, Judy Meiksin (@Judy_Meiksin), Vignesh Murugadoss (@yoganarrives), Emma Perry (@emmaperry202), and Jessalyn Low Hui Ying (@JessalynLow); bloggers Pei Fang Dee (@labspatula), Chiung-Wei Huang (CWHuang_sci), Arun Kumar (@imt1and1ly_ark), and Ali Rashti (@AliRashti5); and graphic artist Stephanie Gabborin; with newsletter production by Karen Colson, and newsletter design by Erin Hasinger.

Thank you to MRS Meeting Scene sponsors American ElementsGoodfellow CorporationLake Shore Cryotronics, Inc.Cell Press, Matter; WileyRigaku; NT-MDT; Cell Press, Materials Research Collection; Millipore/Sigma; Delong America Inc.; and FemtoTools.  

Thank you for subscribing to the MRS Meeting Scene newsletters from the 2020 Virtual Spring/Fall MRS Meeting & Exhibit. We hope you enjoyed reading them and continue your subscription as we launch into the 2021 MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit - the conversation already started at #s21mrs! We welcome your comments and feedback.

2020 Fall Meeting Graduate Student Awards

MRS Graduate Student Awards are intended to honor and encourage graduate students whose academic achievements and current materials research display a high level of excellence and distinction. In addition, one student is further recognized with the Arthur Nowick Graduate Student Award which honors the late Dr. Arthur Nowick and his lifelong commitment to teaching and mentoring students in materials science. MRS recognizes the following students of exceptional ability who show promise for significant future achievement in materials research.




Suraj Cheema, University of California, Berkeley



Tiarnan Doherty, University of Cambridge



Sebastian Kube, Yale University



Bin Yao, University of California, Santa Cruz



Chuanzhen Zhao, University of California, Los Angeles





Dimitrios Fraggedakis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology



Austin Graham (Nowick Prize), University of Texas at Austin



Youhong Guo, The University of Texas at Austin



Sechan Lee, Seoul National University



Qitong Li, Stanford University



Tommaso Magrini, ETH Zurich


Liu_Xinyue_GSA photo.jpg

Xinyue Liu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology



Zhengyan Lun, University of California, Berkeley



Zhe Shi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology



Qi Zhu, Zhejiang University

MRS acknowledges the generous contribution for the Nowick Award to the MRS Foundation from Joan Nowick in memory of her husband Dr. Arthur Nowick.

Best Poster Winners – 2020 MRS Fall Meeting

Watcharaphol Paritmongkol, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (F.EL02.13.11)

Huanyu Zhou, Seoul National University, (F.EL02.13.19)

Andrew Howe, Norfolk State University, (F.EL03.09.03)

Lenan Zhang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (F.EL04.19.05)

Harshani Rathnaweera, University of Georgia, (F.EL04.19.11)

Yuka Takamatsu, Keio University, (F.EL05.05.04)

Emily Smith, University of Massachusetts Amherst, (F.EL08.17.03)

Susan Rigter, AMOLF, University of Amsterdam, (F.EL08.17.15)

Meghna Srivastava, University of California, Davis, (F.EL08.21.02)

Krystal Lee, Binghamton University, (F.EN06.07.12)

Saeed Saeed, North Carolina State University, (F.EN09.11.09)

Yucan Peng, Stanford University, (F.FL03.09.03)

Zoe Rosenberg, North Carolina State University, (F.FL03.09.13)

Chanho Jeong, Sungkyunkwan University, (F.FL03.09.32)

Fangyuan Liu, University of Connecticut, (F.MT01.08.03)

Bibash Sapkota, University of Illinois at Chicago, (F.MT03.08.10)

Eric Miller, Clemson University, (F.MT04.07.09)

Stephen Xie, University of Florida, University of Florida, (F.MT07.10.30)

Frank Yang, Rice University, (F.NM02.08.07)

Kohei Okage, Kyoto University, (F.SF07.06.12)

Best Poster Winners – 2020 MRS Spring Meeting

Xin Huang, Cornell University (S.CT08.04.01)

Camila de Paula, Stanford University (S.EL01.06.32)

Simone Assali, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal (S.EL06.11.01)

Bryan Paulsen, Northwestern University (S.EL14.07.10)

Vaiyapuri Soundharrajan, Chonnam National University (S.EN05.05.09)

Zifei Sun, Georgia Institute of Technology (S.EN12.10.07)

Sapna Sinha, University of Oxford (S.NM09.10.16)

Sungwook Hong, California State University, Bakersfield (S.NM09.10.17)

Eunkyung Cha, Yonsei University (S.SM03.08.19)

Laura Rivera-Tarazona, The University of Texas at Dallas (S.SM07.02.15)

Symposium F.EL06: Contacting Materials and Interfaces for Optoelectronic Devices

Hideo Hosono, Tokyo Institute of Technology

Transparent Oxide Semiconductors for Contact in OLEDs and Halide Perovskite LEDs

Written by Vignesh Murugadoss, Korea University

“Wanted Dead or Alive: Better electron injection/transport layers”

One of the key issues in light-emitting diodes (LEDs) is electron injection from the electrode to the active layer because electron affinity of luminous organic materials and halide perovskites are smaller than the work function of conventional electrode materials such as indium-doped tin oxide (ITO), aluminum (Al), and zinc oxide (ZnO). Hence it is critical to reducing the electron injection layer to enhance the performance of LEDs. The widely used combination of LiF and Al used to reduce the electron injection barrier limits the device structure to normal stacking. Other challenges are to achieve high electron mobility, strong color and chemical stability. Low electron mobility of materials results in a thin layer which leads to the low yield by the current leakage. Hideo Hosono and his team developed different strategies to overcome these challenges, which are highlighted in this talk. To solve the problem with work function and electron mobility, two new materials, amorphous C12A7 electride (12 CaO.7Al2O3:e-) and amorphous zinc silicate (ZSO) [ZnO:SiO2 (8:2)] are developed as electron injection layers. As the processing temperature of amorphous C12A7 is greater than 1000oC, it is deposited using a sputtering target. The sputtered amorphous C12A7 exhibited work function of 3.1eV (comparable to Li and Ca) along with striking properties that are optically transparent and chemically stable. Another advantage of this material is its amorphous nature so that its top layer is flat. This feature is very favorable for its application as an electron injection layer in organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). The sputtered thin film of amorphous ZSO exhibited a work function of 3.5 eV which is comparatively smaller than convention transparent electrodes and metals. The addition of SiO2 induces the amorphous nature in ZnO. Furthermore, the electron mobility of amorphous ZSO (~1 cm2/Vs) is comparatively higher than that of Alq3 (10-6 cm2/Vs). In amorphous ZSO, ZnO is confined by the thin zinc silicate outer layer and ZnO is connected by electron hopping. In other words, they are optically confined but electrically connected. The unique feature of amorphous ZSO is that it forms an ohmic contact with metal irrespective of work function. Amorphous ZSO established ohmic contact in inverted type OLED devices whose electron injection barrier is found to be lower than the devices fabricated with LiF and Al. Tandem OLED fabricated with amorphous ZSO exhibited comparatively lesser voltage loss of 0.4 V at 100 mA/cm2 than other devices. Furthermore, to obtain high efficient luminescence, a strategy to confine electrons and holes using the electron transport layer and hole transport layer is adopted. The (CsPbBr3) perovskite-based LED demonstrated that employing amorphous ZSO improved the luminance tremendously compared to the devices employing ZnO. Thus better electron injection/transport layers are needed for improved device performance.

F.MT03: Frontiers of Imaging and Spectroscopy in Electron Microscopy

Joseph Patterson, University of California, Irvine

Live Keynote II: Frontiers of Imaging and Spectroscopy in Electron Microscopy

Written by Emma Perry

Joseph Patterson outlines how his group, and many others, focus on performing very thorough analysis using one technique, publishing, and then considering if another technique could be interesting. After describing some very interesting studies that have been conducted this way, the concept of a distributed experimental methodology is introduced.

Liquid and cyro TEM each have their advantages such that they are well suited to studying different types of mechanisms. In cyro TEM you get a snap shot. In liquid TEM you see the dynamics evolve. In cyro TEM it can be very difficult to infer a complex mechanism but this can be overcome by taking a large number of snapshots. In liquid TEM the beam interactions can affect the dynamics of the system but this can be overcome by switching sample location part way through the evolution. All of the time you are limited by how many experiments you can physically do and by the dose that you can apply to your samples.

The alternative approach is to take a holistic overview. For example you can use liquid TEM to understand the timescales of the mechanism with a low frame rate to limit the dose. Then maybe one stage of the mechanism is more complicated so you could focus on this by collecting cyro TEM at the appropriate time. Then maybe you have some questions on a specific part so you can collect cyro STEM or 3D TEM. It is possible to build a reliable model by using the advantages of each technique to support the weakness of others.

Symposium F.SM08: Regenerative Engineering and Synthetic Biology

Jason Burdick, University of Pennsylvania

Biomaterial Approaches to Endogenous Tissue Repair in the Heart

Written by Jessalyn Low Hui Ying

Cardiac repair following myocardial infarction (MI) is essential to prevent further progression of left ventricular remodeling leading to heart failure. In this talk, Jason Burdick presents his research team’s work on designing biomaterials to improve cardiac tissue repair.

Burdick first explains that to introduce signals for repair, the researchers took the approach of using injectable hydrogels, as they can achieve local and sustained delivery of therapeutics. For this, they designed a hydrogel from hyaluronic acid (HA) using guest-host chemistry, and demonstrated that these hydrogels exhibited shear-thinning and self-healing properties - important properties for introducing hydrogels into the heart. In the treatment of MI, a target for repair is the proliferation of cardiomyocytes, to restore cardiomyocyte loss following heart injury. Thus, the researchers tested using this hydrogel to deliver miR-302 mimics, a microRNA (miRNA)-based therapy. Functional recovery studies showed that injection of gel/miR-302 following MI successfully induced cardiomyocyte proliferation and improved cardiac function.  

Burdick next shared that with the knowledge that miRNA therapies work in vivo, the researchers wanted to design in vitro models that can mimic features of MI for better development of therapies. Thus, the approach they took was to use cell-dense tissue models, given the high cellularity of myocardial tissues. This was achieved using a new bioprinting technique which they developed for cell spheroid assembly. Here, single-cell spheroids are deposited to the shear-thinning, self-healing hydrogel, and patterned into the desired organization, after which the hydrogel reforms around the spheroids. This technique was then applied to assembling cardiac spheroids for modeling cardiac tissue. As in the case of MI, healthy and scarred microtissues were designed and it was demonstrated that they could be used to characterize behaviors like contraction and electrophysiology. Heterogenous cardiac tissue models were also designed which comprised both healthy and scarred spheroids. Using this model, it was observed the disruption of calcium signaling, quantified as activation delay, across scarred regions.

Burdick ends this talk explaining how these cardiac tissue models could be used for the screening of therapies, in particular, understanding how to control dose and timing for the presentation of miRNA for cardiac tissue repair. These tissue models could also be used to show cardiomyocyte and fibroblast proliferation in miRNA-treated microtissues.