There weren't too many talks related to my field so I spent the day meandering around, attending talks that interested me. The most interesting talks for me were on different uses of Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD). The majority of my undergraduate research was on ALD and using it as a way to create the photonic crystals seen in the image on the right. I think ALD is a process that is going to become more and more important as the nano-structuring trend in materials research continues. There really is no other technique that offers the same capabilities as ALD.
Once again I attended symposium X today and it was great to get a break from technical materials talks and sit in on something that discusses the bigger picture. Today's talk was titled "Confronting Resource Depletion and Energy Consumption from Materials Production: Challenges and Opportunities for Materials Recycling." The speaker was making the argument that recycling materials is one of the primary ways that we can battle the current environmental/energy crisis. And, as researchers even we should be keeping recyclability in mind when developing new materials. I think he has a very legitimate concern since often materials that cannot be recycled are cheaper and easier to develop.