Poster Session Day III

Poster sessions are in full swing with researchers from all over the world showing their work. Enjoy the sessions with complimentary beverages and refreshments.  Yesterday, I talked to Zhenghong Dai, a 2nd year graduate student researcher from Brown University who is researching on the strain-stress effects of perovskite thin films. In his research, he has tried to understand the self-healing behavior of thin films which will help to increase flexibility and increase their use as solar cells. 

Poster session 3

Power-point Karaoke

Adding to Araceli HG's post, the powerpoint karaoke was a session of fun, mixed with laughter and loads of refreshments. 

The session saw excited competitors taking a  minute to decipher a slide with information on it. This was followed by the presenter explaining the slide, often which took hilarious twists and turns leaving the audience in peals of laughter. Topics on the slides ranged from sci-fi to the normal ones you are coming across in symposia like thin-film technology for harvesting solar energy. Feel free to leave in comments about your experience at the session. 

PPt karaoke


Research funding opportunities

Individual personalities from eminent and important government agencies like the Department of State are here to create awareness and inform the materials science community about the different funding mechanisms that are available to them.

Among other speakers, Michael Bakas, the program manager from the US Army Research Office elucidated different programs under which various sections of the materials science community like faculty, undergraduate students, and people belonging to minorities can avail grants and scholarships. 

The attendees at F19 conference are encouraged to attend these talks to get a better overview of the opportunities available to them.

Research FUnding opportuini

Graphene Hybrid Hydrogels as Potential 3D Injectable Cell Delivery (SB04)

In this talk, Cosimo ligorio will go through his research journey, from design and investigation of peptide-graphene interactions to translation of this knowledge into a new composite material that could be interfaced with disc cells to influence and direct their fate. He will also present the latest data that suggest this system could be a potential platform for a novel cell-based, disc repair therapy.

He stated: My research is focused on the design and characterization of peptide-based nanocomposites for biomedical applications. In particular, I am working on beta-sheet forming, self-assembling peptide hydrogels having graphene oxide as nanofiller to constitute a new class of hybrid hydrogel nanocomposites. Our research group (Polymers and Peptide Group led by Prof Alberto Saiani) has started to study in the last years the interactions between octapeptides and graphene-based materials and we have found a strong adhesion of peptide nanofibers onto graphene oxide flakes, which could be exploited to build stiffer, but still injectable, peptide-based hydrogels. Peptides and graphene oxide are well accepted by our body (they are biocompatible) therefore we are using these peptide-graphene oxide nanocomposites as carrier to host and deliver mammalian cells for biomedical applications. 

In my case,  I am strongly interested in intervertebral disc degeneration, which initiates in the gelatinous core of the intervertebral disc, causing chronic inflammation and low back pain worldwide. At the moment, current therapies are based on painkillers and/or prostheses that replace the damaged tissues with metal or plastic implants that do not match enough the biomechanics of the disc. Furthermore, the source of disease (the cells) is not targeted and in the long-term people can be subjected to periodic revision, medical complications and, in the worst case, even implant failure. 

With our hydrogel system, we want to offer a 3D platform for disc cells to grow in and build a new healthy tissue, so that our hydrogel can be injected to offer a regenerative therapy at the injury site. These hydrogels are injectable and they can mimic the mechanics of the native tissue due to their inherent design, as well as offering biological cues to the encapsulated cells to make them proliferate and deposit new tissue matrix.

I will recommend his talk for all interested candidates on Friday 6th December at 2:30 PM for SB04.12.05 in Hynes, Level 3, Room 302.



Patterning free tunable Photocatalytic based on Surface Plasmon Polariton

Dear Readers,

I would love to introduce a Wonmi Ahn from US Naval Research Laboratory who have given the talk about Energy-tunable hot carrier photocatalysis with surface plasmon polaritons. As we all know the tunability of surface plasmons polaritons needs  several dimensions based nanostructured patterned device. Her research brings in new dimensions for photocatalytic activity. Angle tunability for different incident energy make possible to cover  the wide incident energy regime. She says, “A strong photon energy dependence in the photon conversion efficiency was obtained from the hetero film and this was further confirmed by the hole injection efficiency calculated using Schottky transport model.”

Such surface plasmon polaritons non radiatively decays into hot carriers which is injected to main medium to perform photocatalytic phenomena. Her research opens the new door for plasmon based large scale energy applications.

PowerPoint Karaoke!

As I love to get involved with many activities at the same time from the MRS, I had the pleasure to meet an incredible PhD student involved in the organization of the PowerPoint Karaoke: Daniel Stadler from the University of Cologne and I would like to thank the other organizers for their enthusiasm on this! 

What it is?

PowerPoint Karaoke challenges both the author of a slide and the presenter to improve their communication skills while under a strict time limit.


Prizes of $300 and certificates will be awarded to the best presenter and the best author, selected by both the audience and the judges. The winning presenter will not automatically define the winning slide author. An outstanding presentation performance can be better than a presentation with a perfect slide.

At this time, the participants are already involved.

Make some noise!

That's right! Make some noise and help them to select the "Audience Choice" award winners.


Join a reception for the MRS Frontiers - Building Communities in Sheraton, 2nd Floor, Constitution A. Grab a beverage and enjoy !! (To be honest, we deserve it, don't we?)

I leave you the QR code in case you want more information!



Where and when?

5:30 PM–6:45 PM Dec 5, 2019 at Sheraton, 2nd Floor, Constitution B

Perovskite Solar Cell—Upscaling and Tandem Device

If you have followed my previous posts, you might have seen I am very into the topics related with solar cells, mainly the topics for perovskites. That's the reason of this post, due today on this 4th day, and today we have a great symposium going on, the EN08.12: Perovskite Solar Cell — Upscaling and Tandem Device, Sheraton, 2nd Floor, Back Bay AB from 1:30 PM–5:00 PM Dec 5, 2019. 


The session chairs are:

  • Hyun Suk Jung, Sungkyunkwan University
  • Shengzhong (Frank) Liu, Shaanxi Normal University
  • Yabing Qi, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology
  • Kai Zhu, National Renewable Energy Laboratory


Take some notes on this interesting topic!



Building an Inclusive, Productive and Transformative Materials Research Program for Early-Career Professionals

MRS always works for bringing really important topics. This time I want to take few minutes to talk about the workshop: "Building an Inclusive, Productive and Transformative Materials Research Program for Early-Career Professionals." 

This workshop is at Hynes, Level 3, Room 300, from 1:00 PM–3:00 PM Dec 5, 2019.

This interactive workshop will focus on key strategies for building an inclusive, productive and transformational research program for postdoctoral researchers and early-career professionals. Areas of scholarship to be discussed include environments and mechanisms of creativity, inclusive mentoring, scientific and technological collaboration across nations and cultures, the science of learning through research, digital communications, publication and grant writing.

I think this will help many of us! 

Do not miss it! 





Excitement of my very own MRS Experience

Hi everyone.

For myself yesterday was a very special day because I had my very first oral presentation of my work at an international conference. To the ones who haven´t been following this blog from the beginning, my research is based on the Plasma-Enhanced CVD of h-BN onto ZnO-Tetrapods in order to receive hollow 3D structures.

With this post I would like to share my experience with you and hopefully motivate younger students to apply for conferences like the MRS Fall Meeting and present their work. It was such an opportunity for me to be an active part as a blogger and presenter at this meeting.

To give an insight to this I have to be honest and say that in the morning I was very nervous. This Meeting is just so big and I am definitely not used to speaking in front of so many people. My talk was luckily in the morning so there was not too much time to worry about it. Once I went to the room I got really impressed by the speakers and talks before mine but Elisabeth Blanquet did such a good job as a session chair. She pushed me a lot and gave me the confidence to do my talk. Special thanks to her!

In my feeling the talk started and ended in a second and I was surprised how great I felt during that. The subsequent round of questions was the part which scared me the most because in the audience are sitting so many experts in different topics and as a Masters student I felt a little bit small. But all of the questioners were so kind to me and asked also questions which gave me incentive for further experiments in my work.

All in all it was a great experience which I am so glad that I got the chance to do this and join this Meeting in general. I can give all younger students the advice to go out of their comfort zone, apply for Conferences and Meetings and do as much as you can. There is no way to get better preparation for your upcoming career than meeting other researchers and talk about your work.

Thanks to the MRS Team and also to my colleagues who supported me a lot before and during my talk. It was one of the best times that I had and I hope to maybe join further Meetings.

Enjoy the rest of the conference,


Alternative Plasmonics materials: Aluminum and TiN

Hello Researchers,

You all are very well familiar with gold and silver nanoparticles and thin films. Have you ever thought, Can we replace these materials? I have the answer: yes. There are a variety of alternative Plasmonics materials like Aluminum , TiN, Cu and ZrN etc. 

Aluminum metal is most likely used for the ultraviolet plasmonics range but there is leeway to cover the visible regime.  Prof. Shangjr Gwo's research group from National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan has grown highly atomically smooth aluminum film for UV to visible range application as an alternate of silver film. Having three electrons in the outer shell of aluminum in comparison to silver with one electron, Aluminum follows more the Drude model of metallic behavior. Such high no. of electrons per atom redound to increase hot electrons density to perform an astonishing and excellent enhancement for surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy, photodetection and UV-Visible lasing.

Additionally, single crystalline TiN also arises to replace gold. Their single crystalline films perform better than gold for optical purposes. Ellipsometry measurements helped them to confirm the wavelength dependent dielectric constant behavior better than commercial gold - which confirms better and stable alternative plasmonic material for gold. CMOS compatibility of these two materials made them more versatile and scalable for future energy and sensing applications.

Thank you.