2021 MRS Spring Meeting

Symposium Highlights for the Scientific Press

The following presentations from the 2021 Virtual MRS Spring Meeting have been selected by symposium organizers as being especially press-worthy. The symposium highlights will be updated throughout the week.

Note to Symposium Organizers: If you have newsworthy sessions of interest for the press, please take a few minutes to complete the online form.
 
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CT04.01.02—Revealing Quantum Behavior by Point Defect Control in Complex Oxides

Controlling individual point defects in quantum heterostructures of complex oxides presents new challenges, arising mostly from non-stoichiometry inherent to oxides. In this work, the researchers use a newly-developed metal-organic pulsed laser deposition (MOPLD) growth technique to tune point defects in LaAlO3/SrTiO3 oxide-based quantum heterostructures. This new approach opens a wide process window in which oxide stoichiometry can be controlled without structural changes. This leads to higher two-dimensional electron gas low-temperature mobilities at the LAO/STO interface and clear Shubnikov–de Haas oscillations. This is an exciting new development for next-generation complex oxide thin films and their heterostructures to investigate novel quantum phenomena.

CT04.04.02—Tuning the Chern Number in Quantum Anomalous Hall Insulators

A quantum anomalous Hall (QAH) state is a two-dimensional topological insulating state that has a quantized Hall resistance of h/(Ce2) and vanishing longitudinal resistance under zero magnetic field. So far, the QAH effect has been realized in magnetic topological insulators and magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene, but only for Chern Number C=1. In this work, the researchers demonstrate a well quantized QAH effect with tunable Chern number up to C = 5 in multilayer structures consisting of alternating magnetic and undoped topological insulator layers, fabricated using molecular beam epitaxy. They also achieved systematic tuning or modulation of the unique Chern number in the magnetic topological insulator layers. The realization of such insulators facilitates the application of dissipationless chiral edge currents in energy-efficient electronic devices, and opens up opportunities for developing multi-channel quantum computing and higher-capacity chiral circuit interconnects.

CT04.05.02—Uncovering the Mechanism of Single- Atom E-Beam Manipulation of Pnictogen Dopants in Silicon

The ability to controllably position single atoms inside materials is key for the ultimate fabrication of devices with functionalities governed by atomic-scale properties. Single bismuth dopant atoms in silicon provide an ideal case study in view of proposals for single-dopant quantum bits. But it is very challenging to place the single dopant into its correct atomic position. In this presentation, the researchers will demonstrate the use of atomic-resolution aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) imaging to view the as-grown dopant distribution and then to controllably position single dopants inside the silicon film. These results illustrate that STEM is particularly capable of assembling functional materials atom-by-atom because it allows both real-time monitoring and atom manipulation. Electron-beam manipulation of atoms inside materials as an achievable route for the controllable assembly of structures of individual dopants can be well envisioned.

CT05.01.03—Natural Language Processing for Materials Design—What Can We Extract From the Research Literature?

This presentation will highlight new methods for mining big data from decades of materials science literature using natural language processing. It will demonstrate extracting more value from the materials information we already possess.

CT05.02.02—Automated Multimodal Manufacturing Optimization

This talk will present the next generation manufacturing of materials, going beyond the prediction of what to make and actually addressing how we can make them.

CT05.10.01—Computer Vision and Machine Learning for Microstructural Image Data

Advances in using computer vision and deep learning to automatically characterize materials is highlighted in this presentation. It will describe removing the need for tedious human evaluation of massive amounts of raw data to characterize materials microstructures.

CT05.11.05—Combining Machine Learning and Multiscale Modeling for Accelerated Battery Manufacturing Optimization

The talk will describe the use of machine learning in conjunction with modeling at multiple scales for the design of better batteries.

EL03.08.02—Progress in Wide Gap Ionic Oxide Semiconductors

Hideo Hosono, Tokyo Institute of Technology, has for decades been at the forefront of semiconductor and superconductor materials discovery. Hear the exciting results of his newest efforts on wide-band gap semiconductors for display, lighting and solar energy conversion technologies.

EL03.08—Panel Discussion: Why New Semiconductors?

Much of the exciting research at the MRS Spring Meeting in the area of electronic materials is founded on the assumption that new semiconductors are needed for better function and expanded applications. We will explore this assumption in a panel discussion titled "Why new semiconductors?" The panel will include world-leading experts in semiconductor materials discovery and design.

EN02.01.01—Metal and Semiconductor Photocatalysts for Selective Carbon Dioxide Reduction

Carbon dioxide reduction is critical to counter the climate crisis. This presentation will provide perspectives and state-of-the-art results on the development of photocatalysts for CO2 reduction.

EN02.03.01—Selectivity Tuning of CO2 Electroreduction Catalysts under Dynamic Reaction Conditions

State-of-the-art results on an in-situ study and development of a CO2 catalyst with high selectivity will be described.

EN02.04.02—Recent Progress on Oxide-Based Tandem Devices for Solar Water Splitting

State-of-the-art results on solar water splitting devices will be discussed, especially those based on metal oxides.

EN02.06.01—Photoelectrochemical and Photovoltaic Systems for Solar Fuel and Chemical Production

This talk will describe the combination of photoelectrochemical and photovoltaic systems for the production of chemical fuels.

EN03.07—Panel Discussion: Beyond Li Ion Battery

Four distinguished panelists will share their vision with the audience on the topic of beyond Li-ion batteries through short presentations that are followed by a panel discussion. Next generation Li, Na, K and Zn ion batteries will be discussed in this two-hour panel session with a particular focus on advanced cathode, anode and electrolyte concepts and designs. The audience will have the opportunity to directly interact with the panelists.

  • M. Stanley Whittingham: Li Batteries for Energy Storage to Green the Environment—Is there another battery alternative?
  • Shinichi Kimoba: Sodium and Potassium Chemistry for Batteries
  • Christopher Johnson: Calendar Life of Si anodes in LIBs: Time is Ticking
  • Debra Rolison: The Case for Zinc.

EN05.02.01—Metal Oxide-Based Thermochemical Redox Processes for Producing Solar Fuels and Storing Thermal Energy

Redox-active metal oxides find use as materials for both thermochemical energy storage for Concentrated Solar Power and water/carbon dioxide splitting to renewably produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide, the building blocks of hydrocarbon fuels. The chemistries are of increasing interest due to their potential for high efficiency utilization of the sun, economic competitiveness for clean energy, and most recently as a role in achieving negative emissions and closing the carbon cycle. This presentation will discuss thermodynamic requirements and opportunities presented by redox-active metal oxide thermochemistry and recent progress towards developing the materials and cycles for thermochemical energy storage and CO2/H2O splitting.

EN05.05.01—Pathways to Renewable Fuels Using Concentrated Sunlight

Momentum is increasing globally to curtail fossil fuel use in order to mitigate climate change. “Green” hydrogen is emerging as an energy carrier and long term energy storage medium. This talk will discuss activities within the US Department of Energy’s HydroGEN Advanced Water Splitting Materials Consortium (h2awsm.org) to discover oxides capable of splitting the water molecule under the extreme conditions encountered in a concentrated solar powered process.

NM01—Superconductors as Quantum Materials

Recent reports on superconductivity in unstable hydrogen rich molecular compounds with a transition temperature Tc approaching room temperature represent the most exciting advancement in and possibly a dawn of a new era in room temperature superconductivity (RTS) science and technology. However, a careful examination of these reports reveals the existence of a formidable hurdle to the full realization of the dream of RT superconductors, namely the pressures needed. The ultrahigh pressures required to achieve the superconducting state and the ultrahigh pressure generators, such as the diamond anvil cells, are a serious obstacle for RTS science and the practical deployment of RTS devices. This work will provide a path to stabilize at ambient temperature, the high pressure-induced high Tc phase in hydrides by adapting the pressure-quench (PQ) technique recently developed by Chu et al. This was successfully demonstrated for HTS FeSe by capturing, at ambient temperature, the 39 K superconducting phase generated under high pressure.

SM02.02.01—Viral Inhibition with DNA Star Strategy

Anti-viral materials can help us win the fight against the current COVID-19 pandemic and similar future pandemics. This talk describes a new strategy for achieving this using designer DNA nanostructures (DDNs) that can act as templates to display multiple binding motifs with precise spatial pattern-recognition properties. This approach was shown to confer exceptional potent viral inhibitory capabilities against dengue virus (DENV) and SARS-CoV-2.

SM02.02.03—A FAST Platform to Counter Antimicrobial Resistance and Pandemics

This talk will describe the development of a synthetic biology and materials-engineering based platform called Facile Accelerated Specific Therapeutic (FAST) for developing accelerated therapeutics in less than a week. Such rational design and synthesis of therapeutics can accelerate development of effective therapies against multidrug-resistant (MDR) superbugs.

SM02.02.04—Engineering Antimicrobial Biomaterials—The Fight Against Bacteria, Fungi and Viruses

The emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) caused by superbugs poses a major threat to global public health. The researchers in this presentation have developed a one-step curable, covalent antimicrobial coating, which can be applied to various surfaces such as cotton, plastic, polyurethane, surgical mask, apron, gloves. The coating displays excellent activity against drug resistant bacteria, pathogenic fungi. Remarkably, this coating shows complete killing of human influenza viruses and is also being investigated for ability to inactivate SARS-CoV-2.

SM10.02.06—Carbon Dioxide for Producing Non-Isocyanate Polyurethane Foams, Adhesives, Hydrogels and Much More!

Polyurethanes are used in a wide range of applications. Developing new chemistries that allow producing these materials in a green way and with the required properties allowing for a diversity of applications from adhesives to foams is critical. In this work, carbon dioxide is used as a resource to prepare such materials, as will be described.

SM10.04.01—Renewable Polymers via Precision Polymerization of Plant-Derived Vinyl Monomers

Making renewable vinylic polymers is a principal challenge. This talk describes an approach to developing precision polymerization of plant-derived monomers in order to achieve specific materials properties.

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