2024 MRS Spring Meeting Best Poster Awards

Selected by the Meeting Chairs on the basis of the poster’s technical content, appearance, graphic excellence and presentation quality (not necessarily equally weighted).


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Tuesday  poster winners: Di Zhang, Los Alamos National Laboratory (EL06.03.09), Tomiko M Suzuki, Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc. (EN09.04.08), Ana Paula Kitos Vasconcelos, University of Washington (MF03.04.02), Jianan Shen, Purdue University (MT03.03.05), and Hyunjin Lee, Seoul National University, Institute for Basic Science (SB08.05.06). 



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Wednesday poster winners: Caitlin V McCowan, Sandia National Laboratories (EL01.06.17), Hyeonjeong Sun, Hanyang University (EL04.08.08), Grace Rome, Colorado School of Mines, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (EN05.10.03), Zhiliang Pan, Vanderbilt University (EN07.10.11), Prajwal Laxmeesha, Drexel University (QT02.07.06), and Yongyi Zhao, Carnegie Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (SB11.07.07).



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Thursday  poster winners: Jaeyeong Ha, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) (EL02.08.11), Jingxuan Wang, National University of Singapore (EN07.15.02), Menghang (David) Wang, Harvard University (MT01.09.14), and Zhi Zhang, Peking University (SB04.11.32).




















View Science Art Winners — 2024 MRS Spring Meeting

Congratulations to this year's winners! 

Visualization methods provide an important tool in materials science for the analysis and presentation of scientific work. Images can often convey information in a way that tables of data or equations cannot match. Occasionally, scientific images transcend their role as a medium for transmitting information and contain the aesthetic qualities that transform them into objects of beauty and art.

See this year's winning images here.


2024 MRS Communications Lecture

Communications Lecture_800 wideYury Gogotsi, Drexel University

MXene in the Environment and for the Environment

Written by Molly McDonough

Two-dimensional (2D) materials have long been of interest to the scientific community due to their unique properties and their wide variety of applications in shrinking electronics and energy storage devices. One challenge of 2D materials is their environmental stability, since 2D materials are typically more reactive than their bulk counterparts and may adsorb molecules from the atmosphere like water or oxygen, which can negatively affect their properties. One family of 2D materials, called MXenes, have become of interest in recent years due to their unique properties such as high electrical conductivity. MXenes have the formula Mn+1XnTx, where M is a transition metal, X is carbon and/or nitrogen, and T represents the surface termination of the material. Yury Gogotsi seeks to study MXenes and examine their environmental stability to provide insight into functional applications of these 2D materials.

Gogtsi’s MRS Communications Lecture focused on the environmental stability of MXenes by intercalation of N-methylformamide (NMF). MXenes are 2D materials, typically about 1 nm thick, and have a transition metal/hydroxide like surface. By changing the surface termination of the MXene, properties like electrical conductivity can be tuned. In MXenes, the changes in surface termination do not eliminate the electrical conductivity, like in graphene. Additionally, MXenes can be comprised of up to 7 different transition metals to make high entropy MXenes. MXenes can be synthesized in a variety of ways, including in solution, by selective etching precursor materials, or in bulk by chemical vapor deposition (CVD).

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One of the challenges with MXenes is that they are hydrophilic, which allows them to be easily processed in aqueous solutions, but also means they can degrade in the presence of water near defects like metal vacancies. The presence of water can also cause a reduction in the properties of the MXene, such as the electrical conductivity. Controlling the degradation of these materials is an important challenge to overcome to enable their applications.

Gogotsi’s group synthesized Ti3C2Tx by selective etching Al from Ti3AlC2 using a mixture of HCl and HF. Then, the MXene was delaminated into MXene nanosheets through Li+ intercalation. The MXene was then suspended in a water solution and an NMF solution. The MXene was far more stable in the NMF than in water, per UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction measurements. The change in sheet resistance of MXenes in water and NMF was also tested by Gogotsi’s group. The research team demonstrated that in NMF, the loss in electrical conductivity over the span of 15 days is significantly lower than the loss observed in water. For long term storage, it is clear NMF is a better option than water.

Despite the challenges the hydrophilicity of MXenes causes, Gogotsi’s group and others have discovered ways to mitigate or reverse the effects of water on MXenes. One method that can be used is removing the water by heating up the MXenes, which has been shown to restore some of the electrical conductivity of these materials. Another option is to use an inert atmosphere, such as an argon-rich atmosphere, to reduce the effects of oxygen and water on the surface of these materials. Controlling the stability in these materials opens doors for applications of MXenes.

Overall, Gogotsi’s work demonstrates how the stability of MXenes can be optimized by changing the synthesis and storage methods. Additionally, this work demonstrates the possible applications, from energy storage to use as inks. The properties of MXenes and the simplicity of their synthesis indicate that MXenes could provide a solution to challenges in energy storage technology.

The MRS Communications Lecture recognizes excellence in the field of materials research through work published in MRS Communications during the previous year.

2023 MRS Fall Meeting Best Poster Awards

Selected by the Meeting Chairs on the basis of the poster’s technical content, appearance, graphic excellence and presentation quality (not necessarily equally weighted).


Monday poster winners: Andrea Corazza (University of Basel), Fan Feng (The University of Melbourne), Xiaolin Guo (University of Louisville), Sangmin Song (Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul National University), Taemin Kim (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology). 


Tuesday  poster winners: Hyuk Jae (Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology), Ana Palacios Saura (Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie, Freie Universität Berlin), Anna Goestenkors (Washington University in St. Louis), Áine Coogan (Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin), Kayla Hellikson (Texas A&M University). 


Wednesday poster winners: Andre Niyongabo Rubungo (Princeton University), Ahyoung Jeong (Sungkyunkwan University), Marios Constantinou (University of Cyprus), Shawn Michael Maguire (Princeton University), Ross Kerner (National Renewable Energy Laboratory), Chenyang Shi (PNNL). 

2023 MRS Award Recipients – Lightning Talks and Panel Discussion

Written by Vineeth Venugopal

Moderated by Suveen Mathaudhu, Chair of the MRS Awards Committee, the 2023 MRS Fall Meeting featured a session of Lightning Talks and a panel discussion by the award recipients. This year's awards continued the tradition of recognizing both seasoned and emerging researchers in materials science. Mathaudhu encouraged the audience to nominate deserving individuals, particularly from underrepresented groups in the field. Each winner presented a 15-minute presentation of their work which was followed by a general panel discussion.


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Delia J. Milliron, MRS Medal Recipient - The University of Texas at Austin

Delia J. Milliron, a distinguished researcher from The University of Texas at Austin, received the prestigious MRS Medal for her groundbreaking work in the development of optically tunable metal oxide nanomaterials. Her research focuses on the transformative application of these materials in creating energy-saving electrochromic windows. Milliron's work integrates the realms of nanotechnology and materials science to address crucial energy efficiency challenges. Her unique approach involves manipulating the optical properties of semiconductor nanocrystals, such as indium tin oxide (ITO), to control solar heat gain and visible glare in smart window applications. This technology not only promises significant energy savings in buildings but also paves the way for innovations in solar energy utilization and molecular detection.


Chris Van de Walle, Materials Theory Award Recipient - University of California, Santa Barbara

Chris Van de Walle, from the University of California, Santa Barbara, was honored with the Materials Theory Award for his exceptional contributions to understanding point defects and their impact on light emission in wide-bandgap semiconductors. His work involves meticulous ab initio methodologies, significantly advancing our comprehension of semiconductors' optoelectronic properties. His work accurately accounts for the emission behavior of green light-emitting diodes at high current densities by taking into account a special class of optical phenomena called the Auger-Meitner process. In addition, by accounting for multi photon processes, this work can be extended to other wavelengths. Van de Walle's research has far-reaching implications for improving the performance of solar cells, light-emitting diodes, and other optoelectronic devices. He has been instrumental in identifying new theoretical approaches, thereby providing novel insights into the behavior of materials and unlocking new potentials in semiconductor technology.


Qi Dong, MRS Nelson "Buck" Robinson Science and Technology Award for Renewable Energy Recipient - Purdue University

Qi Dong, incoming professor at Purdue University, was recognized with the MRS Nelson "Buck" Robinson Science and Technology Award for Renewable Energy for his innovative exploration of electrified methods in materials and chemical synthesis. His work is instrumental in leveraging renewable electricity to decarbonize industrial sectors. In postdoctoral work that made the cover of Nature, Dong demonstrated a reactor tube with internal carbon heating elements that vastly improved the efficiency and selectivity of chemical reactions. He showed that by applying pulsed currents high value chemical compounds could be selectively synthesized from methane. Dong's research includes the electrified synthesis of high-entropy micro- and nanoparticles, with potential applications in catalysis and energy storage. He also focuses on sustainable and energy-efficient approaches to convert macromolecules into valuable products, demonstrating significant advancements in processes such as methane pyrolysis and ammonia synthesis. Dong's contributions are crucial in addressing global energy and environmental challenges, marking a significant step toward sustainable chemical manufacturing.


Michael Saliba, The Kavli Foundation Early Career Lectureship in Materials Science Recipient - University of Stuttgart

The Kavli Foundation Early Career Lectureship in Materials Science was awarded to Michael Saliba from the University of Stuttgart. His research on the versatility of perovskite materials for optoelectronics has made a significant impact in the field. Saliba's talk highlighted the appeal of perovskite solar cells (PSCs), focusing on a high-quality multication model that promises robust materials with enhanced reproducibility and stability. He showed, for example, that by combining two, three, or four cations together, we end up with a library of 651 possible materials - that could potentially be explored in a high throughput manner. These compounds could be critical in overcoming the Shockley-Queisser limit which sets the theoretical maximum performance for solar cells. He underscored the importance of integrating polymeric protection layers at interfaces to boost the performance of PSCs. Saliba's work not only contributes to the advancement of solar cell technology but also sets a roadmap for extending multicomponent engineering to a diverse range of applications, marking a critical step in the evolution of photovoltaic materials.


Panel Discussion

During the engaging discussion session that followed their presentations, the panelists addressed a variety of questions from the audience. Saliba offered insightful observations on the current state of solar cell technology. He highlighted the remarkable affordability of silicon-based solar cells, now cheaper than bathroom tiles, underscoring the challenge other materials face in competing with silicon due to its economies of scale. With an annual production of 70 billion solar cells, silicon's dominance in the market is a significant hurdle for alternative materials. Dong responded to inquiries about the efficiency of his carbon filament-based reactors in manufacturing nanoparticles. He speculated that the rapidity of pulsed currents in the reactors likely prevented the atoms in the nanoparticles from becoming dislocated, thus contributing to their effectiveness.

A key question posed to all participants was the relevance of their work in addressing climate change. Saliba, Dong, and Van de Walle emphasized how their respective researches contribute to significant improvements in the efficiency of devices and chemical manufacturing processes. This enhancement, they noted, plays a crucial role in reducing the energy footprint across various industries. Milliron added a broader perspective to the discussion, suggesting that in addition to developing efficient technologies, it is vital to consider the overall energy consumption patterns. The panelists collectively agreed that addressing climate change requires a comprehensive socio-technological approach, underscoring the need for integrated solutions that encompass both technological advancements and societal changes.

MRS acknowledges the generosity of Dr. Gwo-Ching Wang and Dr. Toh-Ming Lu  in endowing the MRS Medal and the Materials Theory Award. MRS acknowledges the generosity of Sophie Robinson for endowing this award in memory of her father, Nelson "Buck" Robinson. The Kavli Foundation is dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of humanity, promoting public understanding of scientific research and supporting scientists and their work.