Thank you!

The 2020 Virtual MRS Spring/Fall Meeting & Exhibit came to conclusion on Friday, December 4. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, special efforts were made by volunteers and participants to rearrange original plans to ensure a successful virtual Meeting!

Meeting content will be available to registered participants through December 31, 2020.

Our congratulations go to the 2020 Spring Meeting Chairs Qing Cao, Miyoung Kim, Rajesh Naik, James M. Rondinelliand Hong Wang and the 2020 Fall Meeting Chairs Michael E. Flatté, Michael P. Rowe, Sabrina Sartori, Prasad Shastri, and Chongmin Wang 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 2020 Virtual MRS Spring/Fall Meeting & Exhibit include Meeting Scene reporters Parul Bansal, Judy Meiksin (@Judy_Meiksin), Vignesh Murugadoss (@yoganarrives), Emma Perry (@emmaperry202), and Jessalyn Low Hui Ying (@JessalynLow); bloggers Pei Fang Dee (@labspatula), Chiung-Wei Huang (CWHuang_sci), Arun Kumar (@imt1and1ly_ark), and Ali Rashti (@AliRashti5); and graphic artist Stephanie Gabborin; with newsletter production by Karen Colson, and newsletter design by Erin Hasinger.

Thank you to MRS Meeting Scene sponsors American ElementsGoodfellow CorporationLake Shore Cryotronics, Inc.Cell Press, Matter; WileyRigaku; NT-MDT; Cell Press, Materials Research Collection; Millipore/Sigma; Delong America Inc.; and FemtoTools.  

Thank you for subscribing to the MRS Meeting Scene newsletters from the 2020 Virtual Spring/Fall MRS Meeting & Exhibit. We hope you enjoyed reading them and continue your subscription as we launch into the 2021 MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit - the conversation already started at #s21mrs! We welcome your comments and feedback.

2020 Fall Meeting 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.




Suraj Cheema, University of California, Berkeley



Tiarnan Doherty, University of Cambridge



Sebastian Kube, Yale University



Bin Yao, University of California, Santa Cruz



Chuanzhen Zhao, University of California, Los Angeles





Dimitrios Fraggedakis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology



Austin Graham (Nowick Prize), University of Texas at Austin



Youhong Guo, The University of Texas at Austin



Sechan Lee, Seoul National University



Qitong Li, Stanford University



Tommaso Magrini, ETH Zurich


Liu_Xinyue_GSA photo.jpg

Xinyue Liu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology



Zhengyan Lun, University of California, Berkeley



Zhe Shi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology



Qi Zhu, Zhejiang University

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

Best Poster Winners – 2020 MRS Fall Meeting

Watcharaphol Paritmongkol, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (F.EL02.13.11)

Huanyu Zhou, Seoul National University, (F.EL02.13.19)

Andrew Howe, Norfolk State University, (F.EL03.09.03)

Lenan Zhang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (F.EL04.19.05)

Harshani Rathnaweera, University of Georgia, (F.EL04.19.11)

Yuka Takamatsu, Keio University, (F.EL05.05.04)

Emily Smith, University of Massachusetts Amherst, (F.EL08.17.03)

Susan Rigter, AMOLF, University of Amsterdam, (F.EL08.17.15)

Meghna Srivastava, University of California, Davis, (F.EL08.21.02)

Krystal Lee, Binghamton University, (F.EN06.07.12)

Saeed Saeed, North Carolina State University, (F.EN09.11.09)

Yucan Peng, Stanford University, (F.FL03.09.03)

Zoe Rosenberg, North Carolina State University, (F.FL03.09.13)

Chanho Jeong, Sungkyunkwan University, (F.FL03.09.32)

Fangyuan Liu, University of Connecticut, (F.MT01.08.03)

Bibash Sapkota, University of Illinois at Chicago, (F.MT03.08.10)

Eric Miller, Clemson University, (F.MT04.07.09)

Stephen Xie, University of Florida, University of Florida, (F.MT07.10.30)

Frank Yang, Rice University, (F.NM02.08.07)

Kohei Okage, Kyoto University, (F.SF07.06.12)

Best Poster Winners – 2020 MRS Spring Meeting

Xin Huang, Cornell University (S.CT08.04.01)

Camila de Paula, Stanford University (S.EL01.06.32)

Simone Assali, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal (S.EL06.11.01)

Bryan Paulsen, Northwestern University (S.EL14.07.10)

Vaiyapuri Soundharrajan, Chonnam National University (S.EN05.05.09)

Zifei Sun, Georgia Institute of Technology (S.EN12.10.07)

Sapna Sinha, University of Oxford (S.NM09.10.16)

Sungwook Hong, California State University, Bakersfield (S.NM09.10.17)

Eunkyung Cha, Yonsei University (S.SM03.08.19)

Laura Rivera-Tarazona, The University of Texas at Dallas (S.SM07.02.15)

Symposium F.EL06: Contacting Materials and Interfaces for Optoelectronic Devices

Hideo Hosono, Tokyo Institute of Technology

Transparent Oxide Semiconductors for Contact in OLEDs and Halide Perovskite LEDs

Written by Vignesh Murugadoss, Korea University

“Wanted Dead or Alive: Better electron injection/transport layers”

One of the key issues in light-emitting diodes (LEDs) is electron injection from the electrode to the active layer because electron affinity of luminous organic materials and halide perovskites are smaller than the work function of conventional electrode materials such as indium-doped tin oxide (ITO), aluminum (Al), and zinc oxide (ZnO). Hence it is critical to reducing the electron injection layer to enhance the performance of LEDs. The widely used combination of LiF and Al used to reduce the electron injection barrier limits the device structure to normal stacking. Other challenges are to achieve high electron mobility, strong color and chemical stability. Low electron mobility of materials results in a thin layer which leads to the low yield by the current leakage. Hideo Hosono and his team developed different strategies to overcome these challenges, which are highlighted in this talk. To solve the problem with work function and electron mobility, two new materials, amorphous C12A7 electride (12 CaO.7Al2O3:e-) and amorphous zinc silicate (ZSO) [ZnO:SiO2 (8:2)] are developed as electron injection layers. As the processing temperature of amorphous C12A7 is greater than 1000oC, it is deposited using a sputtering target. The sputtered amorphous C12A7 exhibited work function of 3.1eV (comparable to Li and Ca) along with striking properties that are optically transparent and chemically stable. Another advantage of this material is its amorphous nature so that its top layer is flat. This feature is very favorable for its application as an electron injection layer in organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). The sputtered thin film of amorphous ZSO exhibited a work function of 3.5 eV which is comparatively smaller than convention transparent electrodes and metals. The addition of SiO2 induces the amorphous nature in ZnO. Furthermore, the electron mobility of amorphous ZSO (~1 cm2/Vs) is comparatively higher than that of Alq3 (10-6 cm2/Vs). In amorphous ZSO, ZnO is confined by the thin zinc silicate outer layer and ZnO is connected by electron hopping. In other words, they are optically confined but electrically connected. The unique feature of amorphous ZSO is that it forms an ohmic contact with metal irrespective of work function. Amorphous ZSO established ohmic contact in inverted type OLED devices whose electron injection barrier is found to be lower than the devices fabricated with LiF and Al. Tandem OLED fabricated with amorphous ZSO exhibited comparatively lesser voltage loss of 0.4 V at 100 mA/cm2 than other devices. Furthermore, to obtain high efficient luminescence, a strategy to confine electrons and holes using the electron transport layer and hole transport layer is adopted. The (CsPbBr3) perovskite-based LED demonstrated that employing amorphous ZSO improved the luminance tremendously compared to the devices employing ZnO. Thus better electron injection/transport layers are needed for improved device performance.

F.MT03: Frontiers of Imaging and Spectroscopy in Electron Microscopy

Joseph Patterson, University of California, Irvine

Live Keynote II: Frontiers of Imaging and Spectroscopy in Electron Microscopy

Written by Emma Perry

Joseph Patterson outlines how his group, and many others, focus on performing very thorough analysis using one technique, publishing, and then considering if another technique could be interesting. After describing some very interesting studies that have been conducted this way, the concept of a distributed experimental methodology is introduced.

Liquid and cyro TEM each have their advantages such that they are well suited to studying different types of mechanisms. In cyro TEM you get a snap shot. In liquid TEM you see the dynamics evolve. In cyro TEM it can be very difficult to infer a complex mechanism but this can be overcome by taking a large number of snapshots. In liquid TEM the beam interactions can affect the dynamics of the system but this can be overcome by switching sample location part way through the evolution. All of the time you are limited by how many experiments you can physically do and by the dose that you can apply to your samples.

The alternative approach is to take a holistic overview. For example you can use liquid TEM to understand the timescales of the mechanism with a low frame rate to limit the dose. Then maybe one stage of the mechanism is more complicated so you could focus on this by collecting cyro TEM at the appropriate time. Then maybe you have some questions on a specific part so you can collect cyro STEM or 3D TEM. It is possible to build a reliable model by using the advantages of each technique to support the weakness of others.

Symposium F.SM08: Regenerative Engineering and Synthetic Biology

Jason Burdick, University of Pennsylvania

Biomaterial Approaches to Endogenous Tissue Repair in the Heart

Written by Jessalyn Low Hui Ying

Cardiac repair following myocardial infarction (MI) is essential to prevent further progression of left ventricular remodeling leading to heart failure. In this talk, Jason Burdick presents his research team’s work on designing biomaterials to improve cardiac tissue repair.

Burdick first explains that to introduce signals for repair, the researchers took the approach of using injectable hydrogels, as they can achieve local and sustained delivery of therapeutics. For this, they designed a hydrogel from hyaluronic acid (HA) using guest-host chemistry, and demonstrated that these hydrogels exhibited shear-thinning and self-healing properties - important properties for introducing hydrogels into the heart. In the treatment of MI, a target for repair is the proliferation of cardiomyocytes, to restore cardiomyocyte loss following heart injury. Thus, the researchers tested using this hydrogel to deliver miR-302 mimics, a microRNA (miRNA)-based therapy. Functional recovery studies showed that injection of gel/miR-302 following MI successfully induced cardiomyocyte proliferation and improved cardiac function.  

Burdick next shared that with the knowledge that miRNA therapies work in vivo, the researchers wanted to design in vitro models that can mimic features of MI for better development of therapies. Thus, the approach they took was to use cell-dense tissue models, given the high cellularity of myocardial tissues. This was achieved using a new bioprinting technique which they developed for cell spheroid assembly. Here, single-cell spheroids are deposited to the shear-thinning, self-healing hydrogel, and patterned into the desired organization, after which the hydrogel reforms around the spheroids. This technique was then applied to assembling cardiac spheroids for modeling cardiac tissue. As in the case of MI, healthy and scarred microtissues were designed and it was demonstrated that they could be used to characterize behaviors like contraction and electrophysiology. Heterogenous cardiac tissue models were also designed which comprised both healthy and scarred spheroids. Using this model, it was observed the disruption of calcium signaling, quantified as activation delay, across scarred regions.

Burdick ends this talk explaining how these cardiac tissue models could be used for the screening of therapies, in particular, understanding how to control dose and timing for the presentation of miRNA for cardiac tissue repair. These tissue models could also be used to show cardiomyocyte and fibroblast proliferation in miRNA-treated microtissues. 

F.EN08: Scientific Basis for Nuclear Waste Management

Olivia Roth, Studsvik Nuclear AB

Investigation of Secondary Phases Formed During Long Term Aqueous Leaching of Spent Nuclear Fuel

Written by Emma Perry

In 1982 researchers at Studsvik placed one BWR spent fuel segment (42  MWd/kgU) into 200 ml of deionized water and another into 200 ml of synthetic ground water under oxic conditions.  Unbeknownst to them, this experiment would run for 37 years!

Most spent fuel rods have been kept in interim storage facilities without any problem. However some are damaged and their fuel has been exposed to water in oxic conditions for several years or decades. In order to understand how these damaged fuel rods may dissolve in a geological disposal facility, the 37-year experiment was brought to an end. The surface of samples stored in simulant ground water mostly comprised of uranite, with some metastudite. The surface of samples in deionized water mostly comprised of studite with some lanthanide and metashoepite and a very small amount of uranite.

The fuel segments were then subjected to a further leaching study in bicarbonate water for 119 days. The white/yellowish secondary phase on the fuel segments stored in deionized water  disappeared from the surface but remained in the cracks. In this leaching experiment, fuel segments stored in deionized water had a faster release of radionuclides than the fuel segments stored in synthetic ground water.

Symposium F.SM07: Biomaterials for Studying and Controlling the Immune System

Lonnie Shea, University of Michigan–Ann Arbor

Intravenous Nanoparticle Delivery for Reprogramming Immune Cells and Modulating Inflammatory Disease

Written by Jessalyn Low Hui Ying

While the immune system plays a critical role for protection against diseases and infections, an undesired immune response can result in many pathological conditions and inflammatory diseases. In this talk, Lonnie Shea presents his research team’s work on using nanoparticle delivery to reprogram immune cells for modulating immune response.

Shea first explained that the main motivation behind this research is autoimmune diseases. In the treatment of autoimmune diseases, establishment of peripheral tolerance, which involves antigens presented by antigen-presenting cells (APCs), is important. Therefore, the researchers developed nanoparticles to deliver antigens, targeting the peripheral tolerance pathway. Here, poly(lactide-coglycolide) (PLG) nanoparticles were encapsulated with antigens, which were then studied using an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis model. The researchers discovered that when nanoparticles were delivered with the correct antigen (PLP139–151), immune response was suppressed for over 400 days which prevented the progression of autoimmune disease. Decreased spinal cord inflammation was also observed, consistent with antigen being delivered. Shea highlighted that here, getting an antigen-specific response is key for immune tolerance, rather than broadly suppressing immune response.

Shea next presents the use of these nanoparticles for spinal cord injury (SCI). In SCI, inflammatory monocytes and neutrophils are mobilized from the blood and spleen to the injured spinal cord, which contributes to inflammation and injury. To reprogram these immune cells through physicochemical means, the researchers similarly used PLG nanoparticles, drug-free. Here, the immune cells work to engulf the nanoparticles and are redirected away from the spinal cord to the spleen. Using hemisection SCI models, results following intravenous nanoparticle delivery showed that the immune cells were successfully colocalized with the nanoparticles. Majority of these immune cells were accumulated in the spleen, with only small amounts in the spinal cord, consistent with decreased spinal cord inflammation. Furthermore, the nanoparticles were shown to induce a pro-regenerative, anti-inflammatory phenotype in the immune cells, resulting in axonal regeneration and myelination following SCI. This suggests the capacity for immunomodulation of inflammatory immune cells through nanoparticle delivery to provide a more robust functional recovery.

Shea ends the talk reporting recent work where the researchers use nanoparticles to reduce the metastatic spread of cancer. By targeting the circulating immune cells, the formation of pre-metastatic niches (pMN), which contributes to metastasis, may be prevented. Results showed that nanoparticle treatment combined with anti-PD1 drugs decreased tumor size and metastasis, as well as prolonged survival.