Thank you!

While the 2023 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit came to conclusion with the end of The Virtual Experience on December 7th, Meeting content will be available online to registered participants through the end of January 2024.

Our congratulations go to the 2023 MRS Fall Meeting Chairs Derya Baran, Alexandra Boltasseva, Julien Pernot, Kristofer Reyes, and Jonathan Rivnay 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 2023 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit include Meeting Scene reporters  Birgül Akolpoglu, Sophia Chen, Alison Hatt, Corrisa Heyes, Ankita Mathur, Matt Nakamura, Mruganka Parasnis, MD Afzalur Rab, Rahul Rao, Vineeth Venugopal, and Elizabeth Wilson; bloggers Cecilia Hong and Utkarsh Misra; 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 2024 MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit. The conversation already started at #S24MRS! We welcome your comments and feedback.

Symposium DS04: Accelerating Data-Driven Materials Research for Energy Applications

Roman Garnett, Washington University in St. Luis

Active Search for Efficient Discovery of Visible Light-Activated Azoarene Photoswitches with Long Half-Lives

Written by Matthew Nakamura and Md Afzalur Rab

A photoswitch is a kind of molecule that can transform its structure, geometry, and chemical properties when the molecule is excited with electromagnetic radiation. In this talk, Roman Garnett from Washington University of St. Luis discussed an uncommon statistical method called “active search”— a variant of Bayesian optimization—to discover potential azoarene photoswitches.

In statistics, sequential analysis is a kind of hypothetical testing where the sample size is not known in advance. So the data are tested as they are collected and sampling is stopped according to some predefined rules. Bayesian optimization is a type of sequential analysis, where the size of samples are taken as undefined. Bayesian optimization is useful to test black box type functions where only inputs and outputs are known but intermediate processes are unknown.

Garnett highlighted the challenge of identifying rare, valuable subsets of photoswitches within a vast pool of possibilities and introduced nonmyopic-yet-efficient policies to address this complexity. Garnett emphasized the significance of active search in optimizing the discovery process, particularly where optimizing specific properties is crucial to overall performance of new materials. The discussion also showcased a successful application of active search to the discovery of photoswitches with desirable properties. Overall, Garnett’s talk provided valuable insights into the potential of intelligent experimental design utilizing active search to enhance the efficiency of discovery processes in various scientific domains.

Symposium SB08: Bio-Based Polymers and Composites for Sustainable Manufacturing

Written by Mruganka Parasnis

Liesl Schindler, Trillium

Sustainable Manufacturing of Acrylonitrile

Trillium Renewable Chemicals is scaling up a sustainable alternative to acrylamide. Acrylonitrile has been used in aerospace, Legos, and automobile industries and this will benefit the consumers and government. Glycerol, the starting product can undergo dehydration and ammoxidation to acetonitrile which is a biobased alternative and can be commercialized. A lab-scale synthesis is performed, and it will scale to a pilot scale testing which will be optimized and conducted further. It will then be validated and processed and used for applications in various industries. The final stage is still in progress where the market deployment is to be continued for multiple applications until 2026 to provide customers volumes of samples. The alternative can produce low carbon footprint acrylonitrile product.

Adnan Memic, King AbdulAziz University

Lignin/PBS Filaments for 3D Fused Deposition Modeling of Medical Orthoses

Cutting-edge technology is the need of the hour to solve many challenges in the pharmaceutical and biomedical industry. It can be overcome through 3D printing. Combining 3D printing with nanotechnology can be used to develop new materials and engineer unique properties for reconstructing bone, controlled drug delivery, and injectable biomaterials. Adnan Memic reported that the 3D printing method can have applications in fabricating bracing materials. It was combined with lignin that is the second most abundant biomaterial. Lignin PBS was tested for its rheological and mechanical properties using a custom-built extrusion instrument. Parameters such as temperature and speed were optimized to produce a film of desired diameter. The concentration of lignin was optimized for producing a smooth film observed through SEM. Studies were conducted to coat nanomaterials on lignin PBS, acting as an antioxidant and an antibacterial agent that can eliminate body odors when placed on body. The next step of this study is the durability and biodegradability testing of the film.

David Zamora Cisneros, McGill University

Mussel Byssus as a Green Fiber Manufacturing Platform

Taking inspiration from nature’s manufacturing processes, an attempt was made to mimic mussel byssus (a thread fabricated by marine mussels) as a sustainable functional method. David Zamora Cisneros reported that collagen obtained from mussel byssus has a self-assembly, self-healing, and enhanced mechanical properties. The objectives were to study the stability of this material under thermodynamic driving force, attain vesicle-vesicle interactions and fiber formation under flow conditions. Studies were conducted to characterize the free energy landscape using parametrization in terms of order parameters and was used to describe smectic LCs. Classical curvatures such as gaussian and mean and new soft matter geometric methods were applied to the energy landscape using quenching regimes. Modelling was performed using the Landau-de Gennes model for Isotropic Smectic A phase transition. Mathematical tools such as level set curves, steepest descent, lines of curvature, and geodesics were used, and equations were used to predict the temperature changes using a phase diagram. Stability changes were observed as the temperature increased. Smectic was stable at most temperatures. Level- set curves helped to locate the possible states present. Steepest descent and stability criteria determined the tendency of the states to follow as the temperature was varied. Geodesics connecting the stable points were found to have a linear trend within the energy landscape framework.

Symposium EN01: Energy Solutions for Unconventional Applications

Huolin Xin, University of California Irvine 

Advancing Solid Polymer Electrolytes: Enhancing Ionic Conductivity, Transference Number and Li0-SSB Cycle Life Through Conduction Mechanism Design and Integration of Zero-Strain Cathodes

Written by Matthew Nakamura

In his invited talk, Dr. Huolin Xin from the University of California, Irvine discussed advancements in solid polymer electrolytes (SPEs) for energy storage applications. He highlighted the challenges faced by SPEs, such as limited room-temperature ionic conductivity and non-selective ion transport, and proposed methodologies to overcome these issues. Xin emphasized the importance of finely tuning the composition of SPEs to achieve high conductivity at room temperature. Additionally, he introduced innovative strategies for single-ion conduction, significantly improving the transference number to unity. Furthermore, Xin explored the integration of zero-strain cathodes in Li0-SSB full cells, addressing strain-related issues and substantially enhancing cycle life. The presentation included experimental results demonstrating improved performance, such as a high capacity retention of 91% after 400 cycles. Xin’s research extended to sodium-ion systems, showcasing promising results with the addition of plasticizers like fluoroethylene carbonate, leading to conformal solid electrolyte interphase formation and improved sodium deposition morphology. The talk concluded with a glimpse into next-generation solid electrolytes, coupled with zero-strain cathodes, demonstrating over 2,000 cycles of cycle life and practical applicability in lithium metal solid batteries. Overall, Xin’s findings contribute to advancing the field of solid polymer electrolytes and their application in energy storage.

Symposium EL19: Atomically-Thin 2D Materials and Heterostructures—Synthesis, Properties and Applications

Medini Padmanabhan, Rhode Island College

Potential, Scope and Limitations of Liquid Interface Assembly as a Technique for Synthesizing 2D Thin Films

Written by Mruganka Parasnis

Solution fabrication of large-area thin films with 2D materials is an active field of study. In the work of Medini Padmanabhan  and colleagues, natural graphite and MoS2 flakes at a heptane-water interface spread out and arranged themselves as a thin film at the interface. The second step was transferred to a glass substrate. Two properties were combined: the light absorbing properties of MoS2 and the high conductivity of graphite to make composite films that exhibit photoconductivity. The flakes arranged themselves in a single layer and resisted stacking. The conductivity of the film was correlated with its porosity. It was an effective technique for combining it into a single layer.

Symposium EL10: Understanding the Inorganic-Organic Interface—The Case of Colloidal Nanoscale Materials

Merve Karabiyik, Izmir Institute of Technology

Selective On-Off-On Polymer Bonded Quantum Dot-Nitroxide Radical Fluorescent Sensor to Detect Cd2+ Ion in Aqueous Media

Written by- Mruganka Parasnis

Heavy metal pollution is a serious issue and can cause long-lasting health problems. WHO has determined Cd as pollution due to high exposure in the environment. A sensitive and selective analytical method for its detection is a need of the hour. Many techniques have been used such as AAS, AES, ICP. However, new and powerful techniques such as fluorescent sensors can be used for the detection of heavy metals in which the selection of fluorophore is based on molar absorption coefficient. In this study Merve Karabiyik and colleagues developed a polymer-based fluorescent sensor with high mechanical strength. Development of a polymer-based nanoprobe complex was through the integration of QD4AT complex on polymer surface due to the electron transfer. iCVD process was used in thin film polymer coatings, for the integration of QD nitroxide radical formations which had many advantages as it can be used at lower temperatures, high deposition rates, with a variety of substrates. Poly glycidyl methacrylate (PGMA) had a high strength and functionality due to SH, NH2, OH groups observed through FTIR. The covalent bond to PGMA was through epoxy ring opening interactions. Polymer functionalization with amine group enhanced the detection limit and sensitivity of Cd. A good linear response was obtained for fluorescence intensities and Cd detection. Along with Cd, other heavy metals were also successfully detected.

Sympsoium EL19: Atomically-Thin 2D Materials and Heterostructures—Synthesis, Properties and Applications

Raphaela de Oliveira, UFMG

Mechanical Nanomanipulation of Water Confined in a Naturally Occurring Water-Hybrid 2D System

Written by Mruganka Parasnis

Water transport in nanocavities in the Earth’s interior is an important topic which can be quantified to its elastic and viscosity behavior using nanotribology. Artificial nanocapillaries can be quantified to observe water transport and understand Van-Der Waal interactions. Minerals which occur naturally have hydrous cavities in the Earth. Phyllosilicate materials have wide-band insulators, which can be exfoliated to monolayers that can absorb water. Water confines in the layers due to the electrostatic charge. Nanomanipulation was performed on the interlamellar water in clinochlore by AFM in contact mode. FTIR and AFM combined were used to observe chlinochore that formed ice-like structures. Clinochore was functionalized to observe interactions due to changed surface charge. Pressure was increased from 1 µN pressure, 1.5 µN. These structures can be used for real life applications such as microfluidics and in the biomedical industry.

Symposium EL20: Future Materials and Technologies Toward Sustainable Heterogeneous Computing and Energy-efficient Machine Learning

Mario Lanza, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

Vector Matrix Multiplication with 2D Materials

Written by Matthew Nakamura

In the virtual session titled “Vector Matrix Multiplication with 2D Materials,” Mario Lanza from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology discusses advancements in artificial intelligence systems. Traditional silicon microchips for artificial neural networks (ANNs) face inefficiencies in vector matrix multiplication (VMM), consuming excessive time and energy. Lanza proposes using two-dimensional layered crossbar arrays of memristors for VMM. Here the advantages and challenges compared to traditional complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) devices were presented. He delves into the principles of electronic synapses, memristors, and in-memory computing with memristors. Additionally, exploring the efficiency of their designed crossbar memristor devices and their energy consumption. This design presents promising results, achieving a VMM device leveraging the proposed crossbars of memristors design that works with minimal errors. Lanza concludes that these devices can be used to fabricate small-sized memristors that would create large improvements over existing technologies and emphasizes the need for on-chip device engineering for integration of this technology into microchip devices.

Symposium EL13: Multiferroics and Magnetoelectrics

Michael Page, Air Force Research Laboratory

Nonreciprocity and Nonlinearity in Hybrid Magnetoacoustic Devices

Written by Md Afzalur Rab

Nonlinear acoustics deals with acoustic waves of significantly large amplitudes. The law of acoustic reciprocity states that, in the presence of a vibration source, the signal received by a receiver remains the same when locations of source and receiver are interchanged. But breaking the acoustic reciprocity is important to create a robust one-directional propagation where sound waves are permitted to travel in only one way. Two useful metrics in quantifying the nonreciprocity of the acoustic systems are isolation loss (defined as the ratio between forward and backward transmission) and insertion loss (defined as how much signal power is lost in the forward transmission due to the presence of the nonreciprocal element).

In this talk, Michael Page has discussed his research group’s discoveries of nonreciprocity and nonlinearity in surface acoustic waves interacting with magnetic materials. They have fabricated a multilayered lithium niobate structures coated with ferromagnet/insulator/ferromagnet or FeGaB/Al2O3/FeGaB. After that they have measured a remarkable nonreciprocity of 48.4 dB (ratio of 1:100,000) in the transmission of surface acoustic waves. They also engineered transducers to concentrate acoustic energy toward a center of the device to allow significantly higher driven magnetic precession. Their devices outperformed even the current state of the art high frequency magnetoacoustic devices in terms of size and power loss.

Symposium SF01: Additive Manufacturing—From Material Design to Emerging Applications

Shomik Verma, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

End-To-End Performance Analysis of 3D Printed Luminescent Devices for Energy Conversion Applications

Written by Corrisa Heyes

One largely untapped area of potential efficiency increase in solar devices is to collect every from a broader range of light spectra. Conventional solar devices have an intrinsic efficiency limit due to the light bands for which they are able to gather energy. Luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) are able to absorb light in the IR or UV spectrum and re-emits it in a specified wavelength. Additionally, as LSC may be constructed in a variety of modular, brightly colored configurations, there are many applications for their use in aesthetically appealing, energy-harvesting installations. Unfortunately, LSCs also suffer from a lack of efficiency that traditional testing methods are struggling to address. PhD student Shomik Verma from MIT presents his low-cost process for 3D printing LSC designs in order to explore device shape and pattern as a means of minimizing the optical loss mechanisms and improving overall efficiency of solar energy collection systems. His method allows for rapid prototyping and testing of new LSC designs.