2022 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit

MRS Award Recipients Lightning Talks and Panel Discussion

Tuesday, November 29
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Sheraton, 2nd Floor, Back Bay A

During this single celebratory session for awards, MRS Award recipients presented well-formed ideas on their respective research. Award recipients served as panelists following the aired presentations to answer various questions from the audience. 

Moderator: Suveen Mathaudhu, MRS Awards Committee Chair



MRS Medal

Chad A. Mirkin, Northwestern University

For the invention and implementation of nanoparticle mega-libraries for materials discovery

Exploring the “Matterverse” with Nanomaterial Megalibraries
Nanotechnology has emerged as an interdisciplinary, transformative field that has hastened the pace of discovery by driving technological breakthroughs with profound impact on society. We have gained access to materials with size, shape, and composition-dependent chemical and physical properties that are permitting us to revolutionize aspects of energy and the environment, advanced manufacturing, and many other areas. For example, when one considers all possible combinations of the stable isotopes of the metals in the periodic table, an infinite number of possible materials exist. Such materials design becomes even more daunting at the nanoscale where small changes in size or shape, at a fixed chemical composition, can dramatically change the material’s properties. Therefore, the ability to rapidly synthesize and screen massive amounts of materials with desired properties is needed. My group has developed a nanoscale scanning probe lithography approach that, through the deposition of polymeric nanoreactors and thermal annealing, enables the preparation of “megalibraries” containing millions to billions of positionally encoded nanomaterials with distinct sizes and chemistries. Importantly, a single megalibrary contains new and well-defined inorganic materials than chemists cumulatively have produced and characterized to date. These megalibraries not only constitute a more rapid way to interrogate the materials genome, but also are exceptionally large sources of high-quality first-party data, a component historically missing from materials informatics efforts aimed at discovery. Accordingly, we have created an expansive and information-rich materials structure/function data factory that can train AI models to accurately predict new nanomaterial structure and function. Excitingly, the combination of megalibraries and AI will enable a transition from automated to fully autonomous workflows, essentially digitizing a component of the workforce. In so doing, this will change the way we design and conduct experiments, creating an inflection point in the pace at which we discover the capabilities of the matterverse.

MRS acknowledges the generosity of Dr. Gwo-Ching Wang and Dr. Toh-Ming Lu  in endowing the MRS Medal.


Materials Theory Award

Molly Stevens
George Schatz, Northwestern University

For pioneering theoretical advances in the properties of plasmonic nanostructures, self-assembly models for soft materials, and the discovery of lattice plasmon polaritons.

Theory and Plasmons
Plasmons are the collective excitations of the conduction electrons in metal (and some semiconductor) nanoparticles. Classical electrodynamics (CED) provides an accurate theory for plasmonic optical properties, and there are many examples where CED has been used to describe the dependence of plasmonic optical spectra on particles size, shape and arrangement. CED has also been used to describe polaritonic excitations that arise when lattices of plasmonic lattices satisfy Bragg scattering conditions, and this has proven useful for describing lasers where plasmon excitation gets coupled to molecular emitters. Plasmons can also be described using electronic structure methods, and although this treatment is restricted to clusters at the few nm level, it is possible to use such calculations to describe plasmon driven chemistry, the chemical effect in SERS, and other applications where plasmon excitation leads to mobile electrons.

MRS acknowledges the generosity of Dr. Gwo-Ching Wang and Dr. Toh-Ming Lu  in endowing the Materials Theory Award.


MRS Nelson "Buck" Robinson Science and Technology Award for Renewable Energy

Kwadwo Osseo-Asare
Kelsey A. StoerzingerOregon State University

Design of Electrocatalytic Materials and Electrochemical Interfaces for Renewable Energy Conversion and Storage
The intermittent nature of renewable energy sources requires a clean, scalable means of converting and storing energy. One earth-abundant storage option is water electrolysis: storing energy in the bonds of O2 and H2, and later extracting electricity by the electrochemical reaction of gasses in a fuel cell. The efficiency of this process is primarily limited by the sluggish kinetics at the oxygen-evolving anode, resulting in extensive use of precious metal electrocatalysts in current devices. We have investigated earth-abundant oxide materials as alternatives, focusing on fundamental understanding of the electrode/electrolyte interface and its relation to catalyst electronic structure. Stoerzinger will present studies of model oxide electrodes grown by pulsed laser deposition (PLD) and molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) that display a known crystallographic orientation, strain, surface area, and path for charge transport. Such measurements can establish the intrinsic activity of oxide catalysts in a way that cannot be realized with polydisperse nanoparticle systems, and we use these findings to rationally design composition and structure to maximize activity.

MRS acknowledges the generosity of Sophie Robinson for endowing this award in memory of her father, Nelson "Buck" Robinson.


The Kavli Foundation Early Career Lectureship in Materials Science

Prineha Narang
Aaswath Raman, University of California, Los Angeles

Thermal Photonics: Spectral and Directional Control and Radiative Cooling Applications
Thermally generated light is a fundamental feature of nature. Its ubiquity makes its control and harnessing both of intrinsic scientific interest and of paramount importance for energy and heat transfer applications. In this talk, I will highlight some of our lab's recent results demonstrating metamaterial and nanophotonic approaches to controlling the spectral and directional nature of thermal emission, as well as new radiative cooling applications. As two examples, gradient epsilon-near-zero materials that exhibit anomalous directional control of thermal emission will be introduced, along with multi-scale metamaterials that support Mie-resonance-driven enhancement in infrared emissivity. I will also discuss new radiative cooling-driven energy and water applications we have developed in recent years that have been enabled by spectrally selective thermal emitters. This includes the development of a new passive approach to desalination, passive freezing desalination, as well as atmospheric water harvesting and the thermoregulation of building facades.

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.


MRS Postdoctoral Award

Aditya Sood
Liang Feng, Northwestern University

For discovery of mechanisorption, a fundamentally new mode of adsorption

Mechanisorption: Storing Energy in Non-Equilibrium Materials through Active Adsorption
Numerous chemical processes, ranging from carbon capture and water remediation to catalysis and electrochemistry, involve the sorption of small molecules onto surfaces. However, over the past century, adsorption has been investigated extensively only in equilibrium systems, with a focus on the van der Waals interactions associated with physisorption and electronic interactions in the case of chemisorption. In this talk,Feng will present the first fundamentally new mode of adsorption—mechanisorption—since the observation of physisorption and chemisorption in the 1930s, which results from non-equilibrium pumping to form mechanical bonds between adsorbents and adsorbates. Analogous to the mechanism in living organisms to control the active transport of ions across membranes, adsorbates are transported from one well-defined compartment—the bulk—to another well-defined compartment—the interface—thereby creating a very large chemical potential gradient commensurate with storing energy in a metastable state. Mechanisorption extends, in a fundamental manner, the scope and potential of adsorption phenomena and offers a transformative approach to control chemistry at surfaces and interfaces.

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


MRS Postdoctoral Award

Aditya Sood
Kenji Yasuda, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

For the discovery of atomically-thin interfacial ferroelectricity in van der Waals heterostructures

Designing Atomically Thin Ferroelectricity in van der Waals Heterostructures
Ferroelectric materials exhibit spontaneous polarization that can be switched by the external electric field. Ferroelectrics with atomically thin thicknesses are of particular importance for nonvolatile memory applications. In conventional ferroelectrics, however, it is challenging to maintain ferroelectricity down to ultrathin thicknesses, which needs to be solved from a materials science perspective. To overcome this problem, we established a method to artificially create a two-dimensional ferroelectric material using a technique called van der Waals assembly. We successfully transformed boron nitride, a non-ferroelectric van der Waals material, into a ferroelectric by artificially changing its stacking order. The resulting ferroelectrics are stable up to room temperature despite their sub-nanometer thickness, with which we realized a nonvolatile ferroelectric field effect transistor. We further demonstrated the generality of the design principle by converting semiconducting transition metal dichalcogenides to ferroelectrics in a similar manner.

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

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MRS publishes with Springer Nature

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