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MRS Postdoctoral Awards

Congratulations to the Recipients of the MRS Postdoctoral Awards!

The MRS Postdoctoral Awards recognize postdoctoral scholars who show exceptional promise that may include, for example, excellence in scientific research, leadership, advocacy, outreach, or teaching, during their postdoc assignment.

MRS acknowledges the Jiang Family Foundation and MTI Corporation for their generous contribution to support this award.

Bert ConingsBert Conings, Hasselt University

“for innovation in hybrid perovskite photovoltaics, addressing fabrication, lifetime, and toxicity issues” 

Yunlong ZiYunlong Zi, Georgia Institute of Technology

"for pioneering research to improve the efficiency and wider applicability of mechanical energy harvesting systems” 

About Bert Conings

Bert Conings obtained his MS degree in Applied Physics (Nanoscience & Technology) at the Eindhoven University of Technology in 2008. He completed his PhD degree in hybrid solar cells at Hasselt University in 2012. He has then been appointed as postdoctoral researcher at Hasselt University, joining the Nanostructure Physics group led by Hans-Gerd Boyen where he specialized in photoelectron spectroscopy. In 2013, he became a postdoctoral fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), and he was a scientific visitor in the group of Henry Snaith (University of Oxford) in 2016 for six months.

Conings' core focus is perovskite photovoltaics, both on the device level and the material level. More generally, his interests include the electro-optical characterization of nanostructured materials for applications in energy and life sciences.


About Yunlong Zi

Yunlong Zi is a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, under supervision of Zhong Lin Wang. Zi received his PhD degree in Physics from Purdue University in 2014 and his B.Engineering degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Tsinghua University in 2009.

His current research interests focus on high-efficiency mechanical energy harvesting through triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG), TENG triggered high-voltage applications, and self-powered systems. He pioneered utilizing the voltage-charge plots to analyze and optimize energy output cycles of TENG. An ultimate goal of Zi’s research is the development of energy-efficient self-powered systems for sustainable operation of devices.

Zi also developed methodology and mechanisms of in-plane growth, self-catalyzed growth and in-situ doping method for group III-V semiconductor nanowire arrays. As the 1st author, his research has been published in top-notch journals, including Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Communications, Advanced Materials, Nano Letters, ACS Nano and Nano Energy.

Zi was honored as the winner of an MRS Postdoctoral Award by Materials Research Society in 2017 as the first recipient from Georgia Tech and one of “5 students who are transformation makers” by Purdue University in 2013.


In this MRS TV interview from the 2017 MRS Spring Meeting, Bert Conings and Yunlong Zi discuss their award-winning work and their practical applications.