MRS Award Recipients—Lightning Talks and Panel Discussion

Wednesday, November 29
10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Hynes, Level 2, Hub Stage-Hall D

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

Moderator: Suveen Mathaudhu, MRS Awards Committee Chair

MRS Medal

The MRS Medal recognizes an exceptional achievement in materials research in the past ten years. A medal will be awarded for a major advance or cluster of closely related advances in any materials-related field of research

Delia J. Milliron, The University of Texas at Austin

For the development of optically tunable metal oxide nanomaterials for applications such as energy-saving electrochromic windows

Tunable Optical Response of Metal Oxide Nanocrystals
Transparent wide bandgap semiconductor nanocrystals become strong light absorbers when doped. In nanocrystals of indium tin oxide (ITO) the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) is tunable across the infrared spectrum depending on the concentration of tin dopants incorporated during colloidal synthesis. The infrared absorption of ITO and other metal oxide nanocrystals is strongly modulated by electron transfer, enabling fabrication of smart windows that dynamically control solar heat gain and visible glare. Long wavelength infrared light is strongly concentrated in nanoscale volumes within nanocrystal-based metamaterials where LSPR coupling enables perfect absorption and sensitive molecular detection. Based on their tunability and dynamic responsivity, these nanocrystals have the potential to make solar cells and buildings more efficient, drive selective chemical reactions, help harness solar energy, and more.

Delia J. Milliron is the Ernest Cockrell, Sr. Chair #1 in Engineering and Department Chair of the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Milliron’s research involves the optical, electronic and electrochemical properties of colloidal metal oxide nanocrystals and their assembly into hierarchically structured materials. She studied at Princeton University and at the University of California, Berkeley, before starting her career at IBM and continuing at the Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Now at The University of Texas at Austin, Milliron has co-founded two startups related to her research

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


Materials Theory Award

The Materials Theory Award recognizes exceptional advances made by materials theory to the fundamental understanding of the structure and behavior of materials. This award is intended to honor both those who have pioneered the development of a new theoretical approach and those who have used existing approaches to provide significant new insight into materials behavior.

Chris Van de Walle, University of California, Santa Barbara

For advances in development of rigorous ab initio methodologies for understanding point defects and their effect on light emission in wide-bandgap semiconductors

Accurate Modeling of Recombination Processes in Semiconductors and Insulators
A fundamental understanding of recombination mechanisms is key to improving the performance of solar cells, light-emitting diodes and other optoelectronic devices. Nonradiative recombination limits the efficiency, and first-principles calculations can elucidate the underlying physical mechanisms. Multiphonon emission is conventionally assumed to be the main mechanism for dissipating energy in trap-assisted recombination processes at point defects or impurities. However, this process cannot explain observed recombination rates in materials with bandgaps larger than about 2.5 eV. New methodology and rigorous calculations have allowed us to demonstrate that the trap-assisted Auger–Meitner process, in which energy is dissipated by exciting a carrier to a higher-energy state, plays a crucial role.

Chris G. Van de Walle is a Distinguished Professor and the Herbert Kroemer Chair in Materials Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Prior to joining UCSB in 2004, he was a principal scientist at Xerox PARC. He received his PhD degree from Stanford University in 1986, and was a postdoc at IBM (1986–1988) and a staff member at Philips Laboratories (1988–1991). Van de Walle is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and the recipient of the American Physical Society (APS) David Adler Award, the American Vacuum Society (AVS) Medard W. Welch Award, The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) John Bardeen Award, and a Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship.

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

The MRS Nelson "Buck" Robinson Science and Technology Award for Renewable Energy recognizes a student (bachelor’s, master’s or PhD),  postdoc or other young professional through five years following the highest degree attained for the development of novel sustainable solutions for the realization of renewable sources of energy.

Qi Dong, Purdue University

Electrified Methods for Materials and Chemical Synthesis
The increasingly available renewable electricity has presented an unprecedented opportunity to decarbonize numerous industrial sectors. To this end, we have explored a range of electrified methods for materials and chemical synthesis. In this presentation, I will first demonstrate the electrified synthesis of a novel material platform called high-entropy micro- and nanoparticles, which can be used for a number of catalysis and energy-storage applications. Next, I will introduce a sustainable and energy-efficient approach to convert macromolecules to value-added products using electrified heating. The process can also be applied to a range of thermochemical reactions such as methane pyrolysis and ammonia synthesis for improved synthesis performances.

Qi Dong received his PhD degree in chemistry from Boston College. He then conducted his postdoctoral training at the University of Maryland and worked as a visiting scholar at Princeton University. During this time, Dong co-founded Polymer-X Inc., a startup company working on electrified chemical manufacturing. He is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at Purdue University. His research focuses on novel chemical processes and materials for solving urgent energy, environmental and sustainability challenges. To date, he has published 26 papers as the first or co-first author in peer-reviewed journals including Nature, Science, Joule, Chem, Journal of the American Chemical Society, etc.

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

This honor recognizes significant novel contributions to materials science by a young researcher in early stages of his/her career. 

Michael Saliba, University of Stuttgart

The Versatility of Perovskite Materials for Optoelectronics
In this discussion, Saliba will emphasize the appeal of perovskite solar cells (PSCs) due to their unique properties, particularly focusing on a high-quality multication model. He will highlight the significant reduction of phase impurities, resulting in robust materials with enhanced reproducibility. Moreover, Saliba stresses the importance of incorporating polymeric protection layers at the interfaces to enhance stability and overall performance. Lastly, he will propose a roadmap for extending multicomponent engineering beyond photovoltaics to diverse applications.

Michael Salibaborn in Göppingen in 1983, studied mathematics and physics at the Universität Stuttgart and received his doctorate at the University of Oxford in 2014 as one of the first scientists ever in the field of metal-halide perovskites. He completed his postdoctoral research as a Marie Curie Fellow at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). In 2018, Saliba accepted a group leader position at the University of Fribourg, and in 2019 he moved to the Technische Universität Darmstadt as a professor. Since June 1, 2020, Saliba has been Head of the Institute for Photovoltaics (ipv) at the Universität Stuttgart. He is also Head of a Helmholtz Young Investigators Group at Forschungszentrum Jülich.

With more than 100 published articles, Times Higher Education lists Saliba as the third most influential scientist in his field. Since 2018, he is ISI Highly Cited, a designation for the top 1% of the most cited scientists. This year, the German Research Foundation (DFG) awarded him the renowned Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize for his work and also in 2020, he was accepted into the Young Scientists Group of the World Economic Forum. Saliba has also been awarded the Young Scientists Prize of the German Association of Universities, the Postdoctoral Award of the Materials Research Society (MRS) and the TR35 of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Technology Review, which recognizes the world's leading "35 innovators Under 35." He is also a member of the Global Young Academy and the Young Academy.

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.


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