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December 2022

Thank you!

While the 2022 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit came to conclusion with the end of The Virtual Experience on December 8th, Meeting content will be available online to registered participants through January 31, 2023.

Our congratulations go to the 2022 MRS Fall Meeting Chairs Will DichtelJulia R. GreerLaura HerzLane W. Martin, and Haimei Zheng 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 2022 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit include Meeting Scene reporters Henry Quansah Afful, Mohamed Atwa, Rosemary Calabro, Sophia Chen, Alison Hatt, Yasir Mahmood, Judy Meiksin, Aashutosh Mistry, Don Monroe, Rahul Rao, Senam Tamakloe, and Vineeth Venugopal; bloggers Rohit Pratyush Behera and Kathy Liu; and graphic artist Stephanie Gabborin; with newsletter production by Jason Zimmerman.

Thank you for subscribing to the MRS Meeting Scene newsletters. We hope you enjoyed reading them and continue your subscription as we launch into the MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit in 2023, the 50th anniversary of MRS. The conversation already started at #S23MRS! Also follow #MRS50YEARS! We welcome your comments and feedback.

Symposium X—MRS/The Kavli Foundation Frontiers of Materials

BikElisabeth Bik, Harbers Bik LLC

The Dark Side of Science: Misconduct in Biomedical Research

Written by Alison Hatt

In her Symposium X presentation, Elisabeth Bik talked about her efforts to identify and address misconduct in the scientific literature. “Science should be self-correcting,” she said, “and I try to be part of that process, because that’s going to make science better.” 

Science misconduct can take the form of plagiarism, falsification, or fabrication of data. Much of Bik’s work has focused on inappropriate image duplication, in which authors use the same image or data set multiple times to represent different experiments or results, often altering or repositioning elements using image-editing software. While most of her work is focused on the biomedical field, Bik showed several concerning examples from materials science publications where, for example, the same x-ray diffraction pattern appeared to be used to represent different materials compositions or a micrograph was clearly a composite image of the same few nanoparticles repeated over and over again.

Bik shared results of a study where she scanned more than 20,000 biomedical papers by eye and identified duplicated images in 4% of them, about half of which appeared to be cases of misconduct. Disappointingly, reporting these papers to the journals in which they appear does little to solve the problem. Of hundreds of papers Bik has reported, only about a third get retracted or corrected, and in most cases the journal takes no action. And even when journals do act, they tend to do so slowly, often allowing fraudulent papers to remain in the scientific literature for five or more years in the meantime.

Disillusioned by this response, Bik now posts her concerns to the website rather than reporting to the individual journals. She encouraged the audience to install the freely available PubPeer extension that identifies papers that have received comments from the community, so researchers can avoid building their own work on problematic data.

The individual researchers who commit misconduct are typically driven by desperate situations, Bik noted, saying that behind every misconduct case is a sad story. Researchers may be subject to unrealistic requirements or expectations of their employers, or they could be junior researchers working under a bullying professor who demands results. Bik is more critical of the journals that allow papers to pass through peer review without apparent scrutiny and institutions that impose strict mandates on the number of publications needed for career advancement.

Bik is also critical of papermills that sell fake articles written by ghostwriters using fabricated data. She showed an example of an identical data set appearing in several very different papers. Another approach used by papermills is synonymized plagiarism, in which an article is copied verbatim but every word or phrase is replaced by a synonym, resulting in bizarre but comprehensible prose.

The rise of advanced computing and artificial intelligence complicates matters. Computer programs can more rigorously scour publications to identify duplicated images and problematic data, but their results are prone to false positives and need to be validated by humans. Meanwhile, AI is getting increasingly good at creating fake pictures and will almost certainly be capable of generating images for research articles that won’t be easily detected by journals or reviewers.

Bik presented several measures to help prevent misconduct in scientific literature. We should continue the trend toward open science, where researchers share full data sets and not just the snippets that appear in articles. Culturally, we should reduce our emphasis on publications as measures of research productivity and focus on mentoring students and junior researchers in good research methods. Reports of misconduct should be resolved quickly by journals and not allowed to remain in the literature, and strong consequences should be imposed on those who commit misconduct. Journals should also take greater responsibility for checking the papers they publish. Finally, the people who report misconduct need to be protected from retaliation, as the work is a necessary part of the self-correcting scientific process. 

Symposium X—MRS/The Kavli Foundation Frontiers of Materials features lectures aimed at a broad audience to provide meeting attendees with an overview of leading-edge topics.

2022 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit - Graduate Student Awards

The 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 to the MRS Graduate Student Gold and Silver Awards, 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, is presented to a GSA finalist who shows particular promise as a future teacher and mentor.

Gold Winners

  • Kai Oliver Brinkmann, University of Wuppertal
  • Fernando Gómez-Ortiz, Universidad de Cantabria
  • Asir Intisar Khan, Stanford University
  • Stephanie M. Ribet, Northwestern University
  • Sarah J. Wu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Xiang Wu, Stanford University

Silver Winners

  • Giovanni Bovone, ETH Zürich
  • Priscila Cavassin, University of Bern
  • Tina J. Chen, University of California, Berkeley
  • Yahao Dai, University of Chicago
  • Donggun Eum, Seoul National University
  • Abigail K. Grosskopf, Stanford University
  • KyuJung Jun, University of California, Berkeley
  • Jimin Kim, University of California, Berkeley
  • Yuanwei Li, Northwestern University
  • Zhenwei Ma, McGill University
  • Solomon T. Oyakhire, Stanford University
  • Sarah H. Park, Rutgers University
  • Thomas G. Parton, University of Cambridge
  • William M. Strickland, New York University
  • Lu Yin, University of California, San Diego
  • Boyu Zhang, Rice University
  • Fangyu Zhang, University of California, San Diego
  • Huanyu Zhou, Seoul National University
  • Yirui Zhang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Arthur Nowick Graduate Student Award Recipient

  • Solomon T. Oyakhire, Stanford University

What’s next after my PhD?

This year’s symposium on broader impact (BI01) addressed early career development. Some presenters talked about their experience moving from industry to academia while others moved from academia to industry. Jina Ko, an assistant professor at Pennsylvania University, said the top advice she had received from her supervisor was to do what she wanted to do and not only the things she was capable of doing at any given time, with the logic that this is how one grows and evolves. Martin Wilkovitsch, a postdoctoral researcher at Technische Universität Wien, echoed Ko on the importance of guidance from a strong mentor.

After obtaining her PhD degree, Ko held a position as a PhD bioengineering intern at the life science company Verily and she did postdoctoral work as a Schmidt Science Fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Wyss Institute at Harvard University. After significant soul-searching, including guidance from a mentor on her career journey, Ko ultimately decided that she cherished the freedom that academia gave her to generate and pursue novel ideas. This prompted her to pursue a career as an assistant professor, ultimately leading to her appointment at Penn State. Ko stressed the immense importance of knowing what you want to do when choosing a vocation, emphasizing that deliberate exploration leads to better outcomes than aimless wandering.

Wilkovitsch provided an alternative career path post-PhD, describing how he spun his PhD work into a biotech startup company. Also emphasizing the value of a good mentor, Wilkovitsch said it was his supervisor who agreed to support him in starting his company. Prior to starting his company, however, Wilkovitsch pursued a postdoctoral position to further grow and expand his network. This is an important part of the academia-to-tech transformation, he said. Wilkovitsch then provided advice on the importance of choosing the “right people” when starting a company, recounting the cautions he received when he decided to co-found his company with his friend of eight years. It was important in such a case, he said, to communicate clearly and to delineate roles. He suggested that those looking to co-found a company should split their workload between the technical and business side of things, with either co-founder focusing more on either side of the enterprise. Among a number of key learnings from starting his company, he said, is to generate and patent useful IP to increase the attractiveness of fledgling tech startups to investors.

 Jonathan Fauerbach of Miltenyi Biotec in Germany and Aaron Franklin of Duke University provided “how-to” advice on transitioning from one type of institution to another. Fauerbach, who moved from academia to industry, alluded to the importance of reading job postings carefully in order to tailor each application to the job in question. He provided tips regarding the job application “vocabulary” for PhDs and postdocs, mentioning that PhD jobs typically have obvious titles such as “Scientist,” but also less obvious titles such as “Project Manager” or “Team Coordinator.” To be most successful, he said, it is important to highlight hard (technical) skills as well as soft (people) skills. The best way to convey soft skills, he said, is through stories and that this required a significant degree of self-awareness and self-reflection.

Based on his move from industry to academia, Franklin gave powerful insights into the faculty recruiting process, and what faculty look for in unconventional candidates, such as those coming from industry. “Knowledge transfer” is important, he said, both in finding a mentor and in serving as one. Aspiring industry professionals looking to make the jump over to academia should keep one foot in each door in terms of networking, he said.  They should also maintain a visible track record of innovation by filing patent applications and publishing articles.

According to Gopal Rao, Chief Editor for Technical Content at MRS and editor of MRS Bulletin, the importance of publishing one’s research cannot be understated, for scientists in general, but for early career researchers in particular. When it comes to the actual writing, rather than start from beginning to end, Rao suggests a different approach. Begin with the title, then write the conclusions section. Think of the conclusion as your destination, Rao said. It then serves as a map for the article. Next, write the abstract, which then serves as a mini-version of the outline for the paper. Next, prepare the figures and captions. Readers often look at figures after the abstract and conclusion and before reading the actual article. Rao acknowledged that not all researchers like to write. What is important, he said, is not to be a “great” writer, but to be a careful one.

Remember: You can access presentations on essential content through January 31, 2023.  

Bloggers: Mohamed Atwa and Judy Meiksin

Symposium SB12: Novel Soft Materials and Systems for Artificial Skin, Soft Robotics and Haptics

Marcia O’Malley, Rice University

Delivering Multi-Sensory and Multi-Scale Haptic Cues through Wearables

Written by Senam Tamakloe

The sense of touch involves skin receptors that detect various forms of stimuli. While scientists continue to recreate the sense of touch in virtual reality, a common design approach is stimulating touch sensations in the hands. However, unveiled robotic designs like the HaptX VR gloves are often bulky and cumbersome. Marcia O’Malley and her research group introduce an alternative approach for designing novel wearable devices that uses several haptic feedbacks (skin stretch, squeeze, and vibration cues) to the wrist and arm. These devices that simultaneously provide multiple cutaneous cues are a vast design improvement compared to everyday wearables that focus on a single vibration modality of feedback. O’Malley discussed the efforts to design novel wearable haptic devices (e.g., Tasbi and MISSIVE) that deliver the reliable perception of multi-sensory haptic cues. She presented ongoing challenges along with the current venture of exploring soft textile-based materials for constructing wearable haptic devices.

iMatSci at the 2022 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit

Congratulations to our 2022 Winners!

First Place 

Aaron Baskerville-Bridges, AeroShield Materials, Inc. Transparent, Super-Insulating Silica Aerogels

Second Place

George Boyajain, Mussel Polymers, Inc. Catechol Coatings for Wet Adhesions, Carbon Fiber, Dental and Biomed Applications

Third Place

Dan Esposito, Guardion, Inc. Advancing Trace Detection of Matter with 2D Materials

Chemical Angel Network - $10,000 Investment Prize

Patrick Rivelli, Hyunwoo Yuk  SanaHeal, Inc. Barnacle Glue-Inspired Hemostasis in Seconds

Symposium NM05: Challenges and Opportunities in Solution Synthesis of Functional Nanomaterials

Stefano Toso, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia

Lead Chalcohalides Nanocrystals and Chalcohalide-Perovskite Heterostructures

Written by Senam Tamakloe

Chalcohalides are considered promising candidates for the next generation of photocatalysis and photovoltaic applications. The chalcohalide compounds, formed by one or more metals, a halide, and a chalcogenide, can offer different structures and properties. Despite widespread studies, lead chalcohalides are an example of less understood nanocrystals (NC) in terms of stochiometry and optoelectronic properties. Stefano Toso and his colleagues addressed this in their studies. Toso outlined a phase-selective synthesis approach that yielded two novel lead sulfochloride materials (Pb3S2Cl2 and Pb4S3Cl2). The synthesis of these two different yet competitive products relied on the formation of an intermediate heterostructure. The findings in this talk signify significant progress in understanding the directional design of novel nanomaterial synthesis.

2022 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit: Science as Art Competition

Congratulations to our winners! 

Nanostructured Carbon Leviathan

Gerardo Pagano, Politecnico di Milano/Istituto Italiano di Tecnologiaes

The image was taken during an SEM analysis of a nanostructured carbon thin film. During the annealing the film peeled away taking with it some pieces of the silicon substrate.

Walking in a Wolfram Wonderland

Alexander Sredenschek, The Pennsylvania State University

This scanning electron microscope (SEM) image was taken with the electron beam tilted at an angle of 45° with respect to the sample stage normal. The image shows a perspective view of the step edges and dendritic growth in the tungsten carbide crystals, transferred onto SiO2/Si, that resemble snowflakes with fractal-like patterns and quasi six-fold symmetry.


O Christmas Ti, O Christmas Ti, How Lovely Are Thy Defects

Kate Reidy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This tree-mendous TEM image shows titanium (Ti) dislocation networks on graphene. Imaged by Themis Z microscope at MIT.nano in high angle annular dark field (HAADF) mode. Scale bar 100 nm. Image credits: Kate Reidy, George Varnavides, and Aubrey Penn. 


MXene Dragon

Anupma Thakur, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

MXene dragon is born from the MAX dragon, and is watching from its realm! This image shows a multi-layered titanium carbide MXene flake visualized as a dragon. If you want to conquer the MXene world, you best have dragons! The imaging technique is field emission scanning electron microscopy, and the image width is about 10 micrometers.

Tiny GaN Village with Graphene River Passing Through

Hyunseok Kim, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The gallium nitride (GaN) buildings, or nano-rods, are grown on top of wet-transferred graphene on GaN by remote epitaxy. The river corresponds to folded graphene, a common defect created during wet transfer. Image was taken by scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

On the Beach of the Lithium Sea

Yue Deng, Cornell University (not pictured)

A scanning electron microscopy image showing the edge of a lithium deposit. The tides and sea as seen in this image are electrochemically deposited lithium, and the beach is a polished copper current collector. This image reveals the low-density structure at the edge of an electrochemically deposited lithium. Scale bar is 100 um. 

2022 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit - Best Poster Awards

Monday, November 28

Daria Bukharina, Georgia Institute of Technology

Joo Sung Kim, Seoul National University

Seongjae Kim, Gachon University

Hyeseon Lee, Pusan National University

Simo Pajovic, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Tuesday, November 29

Sydney Morris, Brown University

Hyungcheoul Shim, Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM), Korea University of Science and Technology (UST)

Jun Meng, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Watcharaphol Paritmongkol, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Youngji Kim, Ewha Womans University

Yuxin Song, Tohoku University


Wednesday, November 30

Jessica Andrews, University of Southern California

Tonghui Wang, North Carolina State University

Young Moon Choi, Yonsei University

Somi Kim, Gachon University

Eliza Price, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Qiyi Fang, Rice University


Virtual Poster

Shigeyuki Imura, NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories

Symposium SB06: Structure-Function Relationships and Optoelectronic Processes in Organic and Organic/Inorganic Hybrid Materials for Flexible Electronics and Photovoltaics

Satoru Ohisa, Japan Broadcasting Corporation

Organic Light-Emitting Devices Using Common Uneven Aluminum Foil as the Electrode

Written by Senam Tamakloe

In recent decades, organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) have become competitive participants in advancing solid-state light devices. However, their limiting constraints involve shorter lifespans, high manufacturing costs and insufficient conductivity of their components, such as the indium tin oxide (ITO) electrode. An essential requirement is having smooth electrodes that achieve a low surface roughness (Ra < several nm) which mitigates severe electric leakage. Satoru Ohisa proposed aluminum foil as a viable candidate for OLED electrode substrates due to their low cost, high conductivity, high thermal tolerance, and gas barrier performance. However, their increased surface roughness (Ra > 200 nm) causes these substrates to be absent in OLEDs. Ohisa and his colleagues fabricated a thick buffer layer electrode by covering and planarizing the aluminum foil surface with a phosphotungstic acid (H3PW12O40) (PWA) with a noticeably reduced surface roughness (Ra = 0.5 nm). As a result, Ohisa has successfully achieved an aluminum foil-based OLED with stable light emission.