Thank you!

The 2019 MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit came to a successful conclusion on Friday, April 26, with materials researchers and exhibitors gathered from around the world.

Our congratulations go to Meeting Chairs Yuping Bao, Bruce Dunn, Subodh Mhaisalkar, Subhash L. Shindeand Ruth Schwaiger for putting together an excellent technical program along with various special events. MRS would also like to thank all the Symposium Organizers, Session Chairs, and Symposium Assistants for their part in the success of this meeting. A thank you goes to the Exhibitors, Symposium Support, and to the sponsors of the special events and activities.

Contributors to news on the 2019 MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit include Meeting Scene reporters Chiung-Wei Huang (@CWHuang14), Gargi Joshi, Judy Meiksin (@Judy_Meiksin), Aashutosh Mistry, Don Monroe, Bharati Neelamraju (@Bharati_30), Prachi Patel, Arthur L. Robinson, and Lori Wilson; Bloggers Kony Chatterjee, Dale E. Karas, and Dongwei Sun; and photographers Stephanie Gabborin and Heather Shick; with newsletter production by Karen Colson and Shayla Poling, and newsletter design by Erin Hasinger.

Thank you to MRS Meeting Scene sponsors SPI SuppliesGoodfellow CorporationLake Shore Cryotronics, Inc.Thermo Fisher Scientific; American ElementsRigaku; and MDPI.       

Thank you for subscribing to the MRS Meeting Scene newsletters from the 2019 MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit. We hope you enjoyed reading them and continue your subscription as we launch into the 2019 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit - the conversation already started at #f19mrs! We welcome your comments and feedback.

Mid-Career Researcher Award

Mid Career Researcher Talk_800x533Hongyou Fan, Sandia National Laboratories and The University of New Mexico

Self-Assembly of Functional Nanoscale Materials

Written by Prachi Patel

Hongyou Fan started by graciously thanking his mentors, and his students who “make our science, ideas, and dreams come true, and these are the heroes behind this honor.” He then split his talk into three parts focusing on the pathways he is pursuing in the area of self-assembly of functional nanomaterials.

The first is surfactant-assisted nanoparticle self-assembly and optical coatings. He started by discussing the motivation behind this research. Traditional coating-manufacturing techniques like sputtering and chemical vapor deposition come at a cost, he said. They need vacuum environments, expensive and bulky equipment, and toxic precursors. He wanted to come up with a simple, low-temperature coating process that could be used on delicate substrates, and ideally wanted to use green chemistry. So he decided to make nanoparticles of coating materials, which can be used to make suspensions that can be printed or roll-to-roll coated on large areas.

Fan then detailed the “simple and fast” self-assembly process for making nanoparticles with the help of surfactants. Surfactants are amphiphilic molecules, with hydrophilic heads and hydrophobic tails. In aqueous solutions, the hydrophilic heads connect and create a spherical shell with the hydrophobic tails in the center, forming tiny nanometers-wide micelles.

He and his colleagues start with an oil-based dispersion of metal nanocrystals. The particles are functionalized with organic ligands, which keep them separate and make them hydrophobic. By mixing the nanoparticles into an aqueous surfactant solution, and then evaporating the solvents, the researchers get nanoparticle-micelles dispersed in water. Fan showed that he has made nanoparticle-micelles using various materials—metals, semiconductors, and perovskites—and of different shapes and sizes. Then, using processes such as dip-coating and inkjet printing, he can use the nanoparticle-micelles to make optical coatings with tunable properties.

Fan then moved on to the second part of his talk. This involves the use of the surfactant-enabled self-assembly method to make nanocrystalline superparticles with photoactive molecules. Fan uses porphyrin, an organic molecule in chlorophyll that absorbs sunlight and converts it into energy. Nanocrystalline assemblies of porphyrin could find use in photocatalysis, phototherapy, sensors, and dye-sensitized solar cells, he said.

Adding different functional groups to the ends of porphyrin molecules and changing the pH of the surfactant solution gives self-assembled porphyrin nanostructures of various shapes. Fan showed a gallery of images showing various morphologies and dimensions of nanocrystals like one-dimensional (1D) rods and wires, nanodisks, hexagonal rods, and octahedra. He went on to show how redox reactions can be used to deposit platinum on 1D porphyrin nanowires and then the porphyrin can be removed to give hollow platinum shells. Such hollow metallic nanostructures of various shapes could find applications in water splitting, sensors, and phototherapy.

In the last part of his talk, Fan introduced his recent research on pressure-induced nanoparticle assembly, which was inspired by the fast, cost-effective embossing process. “What would happen if we applied pressure to the nanoparticles?” was the question he and his colleagues wanted to answer.

So they sandwiched nanoparticles between diamond tips and applied controlled pressure to them. When gold nanoparticles are compressed like this, they sinter together to form a bundle of nanowires of uniform length. But this only happens above a threshold 9 GPa of pressure, Fan has found by studying the nanoparticle assembly under pressure using in situ synchrotron x-ray scattering. At pressures below 9 GPa, particles are forced together but they spring back when the pressure is removed. Depending on the orientation of the original nanocrystals, they can form different dimensional nanostructures. “If you start with 3D particle assemblies you can form interconnected 3D porous structures,” he said.

Fan ended by talking about the importance of MRS in his career. He reminisced about the first meeting he attended as a graduate student, going on to organize symposia and then become meeting chair. Now an MRS Fellow and member of several MRS committees, Fan stated how these engagements have exposed him to new ideas and strategies and meaningful connections. “Overall it supplies tremendous inspiration for my career, research and work,” he said. After this mid-career award, he hopes to continue his research momentum and to serve the MRS community, he said.

The Mid-Career Researcher Award recognizes exceptional achievements in materials research made by mid-career professionals. Endowed by MilliporeSigma.

Fan’s award citation is “for outstanding contributions in nanoparticle self-assembly of functional nanomaterials and for leadership within the materials community.”

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.

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Zhaoqianqi Feng, Brandeis University

Aristide Gumyusenge, Purdue University (also received the Arthur Nowick Graduate Student Award)

Joon Sang Kang, University of California Los Angeles

Lichen Liu, Universitat Politècnica de València

Hyunwoo Yuk, Massachusetts Institute of Technology



Peter Attia, Stanford University

Amitava Banerjee, Uppsala University

Jennifer Boothby, The University of Texas at Dallas

Wen-Hui Cheng, California Institute of Technology

Hyunjoong Chung, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Rohit John, Nanyang Technological University

Andrew Meng, Stanford University

Aashutosh Mistry, Purdue University

Rainie Nelson, Iowa State University

Subhajit Roychowdhury, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research

Arashdeep Thind, Washington University in St. Louis

Yixiu Wang, Purdue University

Xiaoxing Xia, California Institute of Technology

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

Awards Ceremony

The Awards Ceremony recognized the 2019 MRS Fellows:

Fellows Group Photo_800x533
Michael Chabinyc
, University of California, Santa Barbara

Sheng Dai, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Jesús A. del Alamo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mary E. Galvin, University of Notre Dame

Peter F. Green, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Yue Kuo, Texas A&M University

Javier Llorca, IMDEA Materials Institute and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Steven G. Louie, University of California, Berkeley

Sudipta Seal, University of Central Florida

Natalie Stingelin-Stutzmann, Georgia Institute of Technology

Haiyan Wang, Purdue University

Paul S. Weiss, University of California, Los Angeles

Matthias Wuttig, RWTH Aachen University

Miguel José Yacaman, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Xiao Cheng Zeng, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Yimei Zhu, Brookhaven National Laboratory

Yuntian Zhu, North Carolina State University

Ji-Cheng (JC) Zhao, The Ohio State University

Also recognized was Meyya Meyyappan of NASA Ames Research Center for the MRS Impact Award.

04_Impact Award_Mayyam M_800x533

Kaifu Bian at Sandia National Laboratories and Nicholas E. Jackson at Argonne National Laboratory were recognized for the MRS Postdoctoral Award.

03_Post Docs Together_800x533

PowerPoint Karaoke!

PPT Karaoke_Certificates_800x533
PowerPoint Karaoke made its debut at the MRS Meeting! With an audience close to 100, each presenter had 3 minutes to discuss a PowerPoint slide that someone else submitted. Award winners were selected by People’s Choice and by a jury:

Juried winners

Presenter: Thomas Beechem, Sandia National Laboratory

Author: David Graf, University of Cologne


People’s Choice

Presenter: Kanit Hantanasirisakul, Drexel University

Author: David Graf, University of Cologne

MRS Postdoctoral Award Winners Kaifu Bian and Nicholas E. Jackson

MRS TV talks to the winners of the 2019 MRS Postdoctoral Awards, which recognize postdoctoral scholars who show exceptional promise.


MRS TV presents new broadcasts each day during the Meeting.  View it on monitors throughout the convention center, online at, and in the following hotels:

  • Sheraton Phoenix – channel 89
  • Hyatt Regency – channel 58
  • Renaissance Phoenix – TV in lobby

Innovation in Materials Characterization Award

Stig Helveg discusses his MRS Innovation in Materials Characterization Award talk, “Electron Microscopy Advances in Catalysis.”


MRS TV presents new broadcasts each day during the Meeting.  View it on monitors throughout the convention center, online at, and in the following hotels:

  • Sheraton Phoenix – channel 89
  • Hyatt Regency – channel 58
  • Renaissance Phoenix – TV in lobby

MRS Impact Award winner Meyya Meyyappan

The MRS Impact Award honors outstanding individuals who have displayed excellence in areas of science communication, education, advancing diversity, mentoring, or community engagement. The Award was presented to Meyya Meyyappan “for his lifelong dedication toward creating significant and outstanding impact to understanding nanotechnology through global outreach initiatives and for unwavering mentorship”.


MRS TV presents new broadcasts each day during the Meeting.  View it on monitors throughout the convention center, online at, and in the following hotels:

  • Sheraton Phoenix – channel 89
  • Hyatt Regency – channel 58
  • Renaissance Phoenix – TV in lobby