1. 2021 Materials Today Rising Star Award Winners Announced

    The Materials Today ‘Rising Star Awards’ recognize researchers in materials science and engineering who have demonstrated themselves to be exceptionally capable researchers with the potential to become future leaders in the field.

    The nomination for 2021 Materials Today ‘Rising Star Awards’ was closed on 1st October 2021, and the winners were announced during the 2021 Materials Today Innovation Award Winner Presentation by Yury Gogotsi on 19th January 2022.

    And there will be two webinars given by the four winners.

    Webinar I: Research on Energy Storage & Conversion

    Date: 23rd February, 8:00 PM (EST) / 24th February, 9:00 AM (GMT + 8)

    Speakers: Dr. Guangmin Zhou (Tsinghua University), Dr. Yuan Yang (Columbia University)

    Registration Link: Materials Today Rising Star Awards Webinar I

    Webinar II: Research on Biomaterials & Bioscience

    Date: 15th March 9:00 PM (EST) /16th March 09:00 AM (GMT+ 8)

    Speakers: Dr. Jun Chen (University of California), Dr. Wei Tao (Harvard University)

    Registration Link: Materials Today Rising Star Awards Webinar II

    Click the link to register the webinar you prefer, view local timings, and to save the invitation to your calendar.

    Read below for more information on the winners!

    Dr. Yuan Yang
    Dr. Yuan Yang

    Category: Energy

    Dr. Yuan Yang is currently an associate professor of materials science in department of applied physics and applied mathematics at Columbia University. He received his B.S. in physics at Peking University in 2007, followed by the completion of his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at Stanford University in 2012. After three years as a postdoc in the department of mechanical engineering at MIT, he joined Columbia University in 2015. Dr. Yang’s research interests include advanced energy storage and thermal energy management. He has published more than 90 peer-reviewed papers with a total citation over 27,000 times and an H-index of 51. He is a Scialog fellow on Advanced Energy Storage, and a Web of Science Highly Cited Researcher in 2020 and 2021. He has won 3M Non-tenured Faculty Award in 2021, Young Innovator Award by Nano Research, Emerging Investigators Award by Journal of Materials Chemistry A.

    Highlighted publications:

    • Zeyuan Li#, Aijun Li#, Hanrui Zhang#, et al., Haijun Zhang*, Yuan Yang*. Interfacial engineering for stabilizing polymer electrolytes with 4V cathodes in lithium metal batteries at elevated temperature, Nano Energy,2020, 72, 104655.
    • Xue Wang, Haowei Zhai, et al., Yuan Yang*. Rechargeable solid-state lithium metal batteries with vertically aligned ceramic nanoparticle/polymer composite electrolyte, Nano Energy, 2019, 60, 205-212.
    • Qiliang Lin, Yanchu Zhang, Arnaud Van Mieghem, Yi-Chung Chen, Nanfang Yu, Yuan Yang, Huiming Yin. Design and experiment of a sun-powered smart building envelope with automatic control. Energy and Buildings, 2020, 223, 110173.
    Dr. Guangmin Zhou
    Dr. Guangmin Zhou

    Category: Energy

    Dr. Guangmin Zhou is an Associate Professor in Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University. He received his Ph.D. degree from Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2014, and then worked as a postdoc in UT Austin during 2014-2015. After that, he was a postdoc fellow at Stanford University from 2015 to 2019. His research mainly focuses on the development of advanced energy-storage materials and devices, and battery recycling. He has published 140+ articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and first/correspongding-authored 56 papers published in Nature Nanotechnology (2)Chemical Reviews, Nature Communications (3), PNAS (2), Science Advances, Energy & Environmental Science (2), Advanced Materials (9), Advanced Energy Materials (3), ACS Nano (6), etc. These publications have been cited more than 27100 times with an H-index of 69 (Google Scholar). Additionally, he has authored 1 book (Design, Fabrication and Electrochemical Performance of Nanostructured Carbon Based Materials for High-Energy Lithium-Sulfur Batteries) and 1 book chapter (≤Graphene Science Handbook≥). Dr. Zhou was honored “Highly Cited Researcher” in Materials Science field by Clarivate Analytics for consecutive 4 years (2018-2021), Young Scientist Award of Hou Debang Chemical Science and Technology (2021), Young Scientist Award of Guangdong Materials Research Association (2020), Energy Storage Materials Young Scientist Award in 2018, Carbon Journal Prize in 2015, etc. Dr. Zhou served as Scientific Managing Editor of Energy Storage Materials (Impact Factor 17.789) since 2019, and also served as a member of the youth editorial committee of SusMat, Science China Materials, Rare Metals, and Chinese Chemical Letters. He was invited to give Plenary/Keynote/Invited talks more than 20 times in academic conferences and industrial forums

    Highlighted publications:

    • Zhou, G. M.#; Li, L#; Ma, C. Q; Wang, S. G; Shi, Y; Koratkar, N; Ren, W. C; Li, F.*; Cheng, H.-M.*, A graphene foam electrode with high sulfur loading for flexible and high energy Li-S batteries. Nano Energy, 2015, 11, 356-365.
    • Zhou, G. M.; Zhao, Y; Zu, C; Manthiram, A.*, Free-standing TiO2 nanowire-embedded graphene hybrid membrane for advanced Li/dissolved polysulfide batteries. Nano Energy, 2015, 12, 240-249.
    • Zhao, Y.; Kang, Y.Q.; Fan, M.; Li, T.; Wozny, J.; Zhou, Y.; Wang, X.; Chueh, Y.; Liang, Z.*; Zhou, G. M.*; Wang, J.;  Tavajohi, N.*; Kang, F.; Li, B.;* Precise separation of spent lithium-ion cells in water without discharging for recycling, Energy Storage Materials, 2021,
    Dr. Wei Tao
    Dr. Wei Tao

    Category: Biomaterials

    Dr. Wei Tao is an Omid C. Farokhzad Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, an Endowed Chair and a Principal Investigator in the Center for Nanomedicine, and a Faculty Member in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He has published over 100 papers in prestigious journals such as Nature Rev. Mater.Nature Rev. Cardiol.Science Transl. Med.Nature Biomed. Eng.Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USANature Protoc.Nature Commun.Science Adv.etc. His research interests include biomaterials, nanotechnology, RNA medicine, and drug delivery. He is among the Clarivate’s Global Highly Cited Researchers List (2021), World's Top 2% Scientists List (from Mendeley Data/Elsevier; singer year 2019, 2020), and MIT Technology Review Top Chinese Innovators Under 35 list (TR35; 2020), etc. He also serves on numerous editorial boards including as Associate Editor of Journal of Nanobiotechnology (IF=10.435; Springer Nature & BMC), Exploration (Wiley); Editorial Board Member of Bioactive Materials (IF= 14.593; Elsevier), Nano-Micro Letters (IF=16.419; Springer Nature); Advisory Board Member of Matter (IF=15.589, Cell Press) and so on.

    Highlighted publications:

    • Xiao Y, Tang Z, Huang X, Joseph J, Chen W, Liu C, Zhou J, Kong N, Joshi N, Du J, Tao W. Glucose-responsive oral insulin delivery platform for one-treatment-a-day in diabetes. Matter 2021, 4(10): 3269–3285.
    • Feng C, Ouyang J, Tang Z, Kong N, Liu Y, Fu L, Ji X, Xie T, Farokhzad OC, Tao W. Germanene-based Theranostic Materials for Surgical Adjuvant Treatment: Inhibiting Tumor Recurrence and Wound Infection. Matter 2020, 3(1): 127-144.
    • Zhang X, Li L, Ouyang J, Zhang L, Xue J, Zhang H, Tao W. Electroactive electrospun nanofibers for tissue engineering. Nano Today 2021, 39: 101196.
    Dr. Jun Chen
    Dr. Jun Chen

    Category: Biomaterials

    Dr. Jun Chen is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, Los Angeles. His group published two books, 200 journal articles, with 110 of them being a corresponding author in Chemical ReviewsChemical Society ReviewsNature MaterialsNature ElectronicsNature CommunicationsScience AdvancesMaterials TodayJouleMatter, and many others.  With a current h-index of 80, Dr. Chen was identified to be one of the world’s most influential researchers in the field of Materials Science by the Web of Science Group. Among his many accolades are the  Materials Thought Leaders by Azom; 30 Life Sciences Leaders To Watch by Informa, UCLA Society of Hellman Fellows Award, Okawa Foundation Research Award, Advanced Materials Rising Star, ACS Nano Rising Stars Lectureship Award, Chem. Soc. Rev. Emerging Investigator Award, JMCA Emerging Investigator Award, Nanoscale Emerging Investigator Award, Frontiers in Chemistry Rising Stars, IAAM Scientist Medal, 2020 Altmetric Top 100, Top 10 Science Stories of 2020 by Ontario Science Centre, Highly Cited Researchers 2020/2019/2021 in Web of Science, MINE2020 Young Scientist Excellence Award. Beyond research, he is an associate editor of Biosensors and Bioelectronics.

    Highlighted publications:

    • Xun Zhao, Hassan Askari, Jun Chen. Nanogenerators for smart cities in the era of 5G and Internet of Things. Joule 2021, 6(5): 1391-1431.
    • Songlin Zhang, Michael Bick, Xiao Xiao, Guorui Chen, Ardo Nashalian, Jun Chen. Leveraging triboelectric nanogenerators for bioengineering. Matter 2021, 4 (2): 845-887.
    • Keyu Meng, Shenlong Zhao, Yihao Zhou, Yufen Wu, Songlin Zhang, Qiang He, Xue Wang, Zhihao Zhou, Wenjing Fan, Xulong Tan, Jin Yang, Jun Chen. A Wireless Textile-Based Sensor System for Self-Powered Personalized Health Care. Matter 2020, 2 (4): 896-907.
  2. Surprising discovery uncovers new type of 'strange metal'
    The researchers induced a Cooper-pair metallic state in yttrium barium copper oxide patterned with tiny holes. Image: Brown University.
    The researchers induced a Cooper-pair metallic state in yttrium barium copper oxide patterned with tiny holes. Image: Brown University.

    Scientists understand quite well how temperature affects electrical conductance in everyday metals like copper or silver. But in recent years, researchers have turned their attention to a class of materials that do not seem to follow the traditional electrical rules. Understanding these so-called 'strange metals' could provide fundamental insights into the quantum world, and potentially help scientists understand strange phenomena like high-temperature superconductivity.

    Now, a research team co-led by a physicist at Brown University has added a new discovery to the strange metal mix. In a paper in Nature, the team report finding strange metal behavior in a material where electrical charge is carried not by electrons but by more 'wave-like' entities called Cooper pairs.

    While electrons belong to a class of particles called fermions, Cooper pairs act as bosons, which follow very different rules from fermions. This is the first time that strange metal behavior has been seen in a bosonic system, and the researchers are hopeful that their discovery might prove helpful in finding an explanation for how strange metals work – something that has eluded scientists for decades.

    “We have these two fundamentally different types of particles whose behaviors converge around a mystery,” said Jim Valles, a professor of physics at Brown and the paper’s corresponding author. “What this says is that any theory to explain strange metal behavior can’t be specific to either type of particle. It needs to be more fundamental than that.”

    Strange metal behavior was first discovered around 30 years ago in a class of materials called cuprates. These copper-oxide materials are most famous for being high-temperature superconductors, meaning they conduct electricity with zero resistance at temperatures far above that of normal superconductors. But even at temperatures above the critical temperature for superconductivity, cuprates act strangely compared to other metals.

    As their temperature increases, cuprates’ resistance increases in a strictly linear fashion. In normal metals, the resistance increases only so far, becoming constant at high temperatures in accord with what's known as Fermi liquid theory. Resistance arises when electrons flowing in a metal bang into the metal’s vibrating atomic structure, causing them to scatter. Fermi-liquid theory sets a maximum rate at which electron scattering can occur.

    But strange metals don’t follow the Fermi-liquid rules, and no one is quite sure how they work. What scientists do know is that the temperature-resistance relationship in strange metals appears to be related to two fundamental constants of nature: Boltzmann’s constant, which represents the energy produced by random thermal motion, and Planck’s constant, which relates to the energy of a photon (a particle of light).

    “To try to understand what’s happening in these strange metals, people have applied mathematical approaches similar to those used to understand black holes,” Valles said. “So there’s some very fundamental physics happening in these materials.”

    In recent years, Valles and his colleagues have been studying electrical activity where the charge carriers are not electrons. In 1952, Nobel Laureate Leon Cooper, now a Brown professor emeritus of physics, discovered that in normal superconductors (not the high-temperature kind discovered later), electrons team up to form Cooper pairs, which can glide through an atomic lattice with no resistance. Despite being formed by two electrons, which are fermions, Cooper pairs can act as bosons.

    “Fermion and boson systems usually behave very differently,” Valles said. “Unlike individual fermions, bosons are allowed to share the same quantum state, which means they can move collectively like water molecules in the ripples of a wave.”

    In 2019, Valles and his colleagues showed that Cooper pair bosons can produce metallic behavior, meaning they can conduct electricity with some amount of resistance. That in itself was a surprising finding, the researchers say, because elements of quantum theory suggested that the phenomenon shouldn’t be possible. For this latest research, the team wanted to see if bosonic Cooper-pair metals were also strange metals.

    The team used a cuprate material called yttrium barium copper oxide patterned with tiny holes that induce the Cooper-pair metallic state. The team cooled this material down to just above its superconducting temperature to observe changes in its conductance. They found, like fermionic strange metals, a Cooper-pair metal conductance that is linear with temperature.

    The researchers say this new discovery will give theorists something new to chew on as they try to understand strange metal behavior.

    “It’s been a challenge for theoreticians to come up with an explanation for what we see in strange metals,” Valles said. “Our work shows that if you’re going to model charge transport in strange metals, that model must apply to both fermions and bosons — even though these types of particles follow fundamentally different rules.”

    Ultimately, a theory of strange metals could have massive implications. Strange metal behavior could hold the key to understanding high-temperature superconductivity, which has vast potential for things like lossless power grids and quantum computers. And because strange metal behavior seems to be related to fundamental constants of the universe, understanding this behavior could shed light on basic truths of how the physical world works.

    This story is adapted from material from Brown University, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.

  3. Broken symmetry leads to unnatural colloidal crystals
    This triple-double gyroid is a new colloidal crystal structure that has never been found in nature or synthesized before. The translucent red/green/blue balls show the positions of PAEs, while the dark grey balls and sticks show locations of electron equivalents. Image: Sangmin Lee.
    This triple-double gyroid is a new colloidal crystal structure that has never been found in nature or synthesized before. The translucent red/green/blue balls show the positions of PAEs, while the dark grey balls and sticks show locations of electron equivalents. Image: Sangmin Lee.

    While plenty of structures with low symmetry are found in nature, scientists have been confined to high-symmetry designs when synthesizing colloidal crystals, a valuable type of nanomaterial used for chemical and biological sensing and optoelectronic devices. Now, a research team from Northwestern University and the University of Michigan has drawn back the curtain, showing for the first time how low-symmetry colloidal crystals can be made – including one crystal phase for which there is no known natural equivalent.

    “We’ve discovered something fundamental about the system for making new materials,” said Northwestern's Chad Mirkin. “This strategy for breaking symmetry rewrites the rules for material design and synthesis.”

    Mirkin is a professor of chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; a professor of chemical and biological engineering, biomedical engineering, and materials science and engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering; and a professor of medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine. He also is the founding director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology.

    The research was directed by Mirkin and Sharon Glotzer, chair of chemical engineering at the University of Michigan. The research team reports its findings in a paper in Nature Materials.

    Nanoparticles can be programmed and assembled into ordered arrays known as colloidal crystals, which can be engineered for applications ranging from light sensors and lasers to communications and computing. “Using large and small nanoparticles, where the smaller ones move around like electrons in a crystal of metal atoms, is a whole new approach to building complex colloidal crystal structures,” said Glotzer.

    In this study, metal nanoparticles whose surfaces were coated with designer DNA were used to create the crystals. The DNA acted as an encodable bonding material, transforming the nanoparticles into what are called programmable atom equivalents (PAEs). This approach offers exceptional control over the shape and parameters of the crystal lattices, as the nanoparticles can be ‘programmed’ to arrange themselves in specified ways, following a set of rules previously developed by Mirkin and his colleagues.

    Up to now, however, scientists have not had a way to prepare lattices with certain crystal symmetries. Because many PAEs are isotropic – meaning their structures are uniform in all directions – they tend to arrange themselves into highly symmetric assemblies, and it is difficult to create low-symmetry lattices. This has limited the kinds of structures that can be synthesized, and therefore the optical properties that can be realized with them.

    The breakthrough came through a new approach to controlling valency. In chemistry, valency is related to the arrangement of electrons around an atom. It determines the number of bonds the atom can form and the geometry it assumes. Building on a recent discovery that small PAEs can behave as electron equivalents, roaming through and stabilizing lattices of larger PAEs, the Northwestern and Michigan researchers altered the valency of their electron equivalents by adjusting the density of the strands of DNA grafted to their surfaces.

    Next, they used advanced electron microscopy to observe how changing the valency of the electron equivalents affected their spatial distribution among the PAEs and therefore the resulting lattices. They also examined the effects of changing the temperature and altering the ratio of PAEs to electron equivalents.

    "We explored more complex structures where control over the number of neighbors around each particle produced further symmetry breaking,” said Glotzer. “Our computer simulations helped to decipher the complicated patterns and reveal the mechanisms that enabled the nanoparticles to create them.”

    This approach set the stage for the creation of three new, never-before synthesized crystalline phases. One, a triple double-gyroid structure, has no known natural equivalent.

    These low-symmetry colloidal crystals have optical properties that can’t be achieved with other crystal structures and may find use in a wide range of technologies. Their catalytic properties are different as well. But the new structures unveiled in this study are only the beginning of the possibilities now that the conditions for breaking symmetry are understood.

    “We’re in the midst of an unprecedented era of materials synthesis and discovery,” said Mirkin. “This is another step forward in bringing new, unexplored materials out of the sketchbook and into applications that can take advantage of their rare and unusual properties.”

    This story is adapted from material from Northwestern University, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier. Link to original source.

  4. Acta Student Awards 2021 - Apply today!
    Acta Student Awards 2021 - Apply today!

    The Acta Journals, Acta Materialia, Scripta Materialia, Acta Biomaterialia and Materialia, are pleased to receive nominations again for the Acta Student Awards. Up to sixteen awards of $2,000, four for each of the four journals, will be awarded. 

    Details for the Awards: 

    1. The Acta Student Award is limited to candidates whose work was reported in one of the Acta Journals and who were bona fide students at the time the work was performed.
    2. The candidate for the award must have made the major contribution to the work reported.
    3. Any student author of a paper that was accepted and appeared online in ScienceDirect during the previous calendar year is eligible for an award in the following year. Review articles do not qualify
    4. The application process involves two steps:

    (1) for the first step the eligible student submits his or her paper for consideration, along with a cover letter that highlights the importance of the work and a copy of the publication.  Alternatively, with the student’s knowledge and permission, the student’s advisor may submit these same documents as a nomination.

    (2) the decision committee will create a short list, and those students will be asked to furnish an up-to-date CV and two letters of support.

    1. Applications/nominations for a student award, based on manuscripts that meet the qualifications listed in items 1-3 above, must be submitted before April 30th of the nomination year. All application materials must be submitted through the portal provided in MaterialsToday:

    Click here to visit the nomination page.

    (Registration on the MaterialsToday site is required to access the Nomination page.  There is no charge to register.)

    Evaluation and Awards:

    1. Nominations will be evaluated by a committee of editors from the editorial board of the respective journal.
    2. Candidates will be notified of the Committee’s decisions by June 30th, and a public announcement of the awards will appear in the next available issue of each Acta Journal. In addition, a suitable presentation format will be arranged.

    Questions regarding the student awards process may be directed to: 

  5. Special Issue on Nanomaterials and Nanomedicine - Call for Papers - Materials Today Advances
    Special Issue on Nanomaterials and Nanomedicine - Call for Papers - Materials Today Advances

    In this special issue, we will focus on the challenging issues of nanomaterials for practical applications, and particularly for medical applications.

    Guest editors:

    Wei Chen, The University of Texas at Arlington, USA


    Special issue information:

    Nanotechnology has made it possible for us to create materials that we could never do before by taking advantages of the size effects and the surface effects. A nanomaterial may have different behaviors compared to the same substance in bulk form. That means that a material could change when it goes from bulk to nanoscale and this change could bring a revolution in the world. Nanomaterials have been used for many different things including our foods, our clothes, our lights, our building materials, our medicine and so on. Nanomaterials are, not just something made in a laboratory but they are also found in nature. In ash clouds from volcanoes, sea breeze and in the smoke from a fire, for example.
    Nanomedicine is the application of nanotechnology to the field of medicine by the use of nanomaterials. The most common application of nanomedicine involves employing nanoparticles to enhance the action of drugs in the treatment of cancer and diabetes as examples. Many current applications of nanomedicine are enforcing drug delivery for therapy for cancer targeting for precise diagnosis and treatment.

    Even the research in nanomaterials and nanomedicine has made a great progress, there is still a big gap between the basic research in the laboratory and the practical applications. In this special issue, we will focus on the challenging issues of nanomaterials for practical applications, and particularly for medical applications. We encourage submissions in these related areas, short letters, communications, research articles, reviews and perspectives are welcome.

    Manuscript submission information:

    You are invited to submit your manuscript at any time before the submission deadline. For any inquiries about the appropriateness of contribution topics, please contact Wei Chen via .

    The journal’s submission platform (Editorial Manager®) is now available for receiving submissions to this Special Issue. Please refer to the Guide for Authors to prepare your manuscript, and select the article type of "VSI: NanoMat & NanoMed" when submitting your manuscript online. Both the Guide for Authors and the submission portal could be found on the Journal Homepage here:

    All the submissions deemed suitable to be sent for peer review will be reviewed by at least two independent reviewers. Upon its editorial acceptance, your article will go into production immediately. It will be published in the latest regular issue, while be presented on the specific Special Issue webpage simultaneously. In regular issues, Special Issue articles will be clearly marked and branded.

    Submission Timeline: 15th July 2022

    Why publish in this Special Issue?

    • Special Issue articles are published together on ScienceDirect, making it incredibly easy for other researchers to discover your work.
    • Special content articles are downloaded on ScienceDirect twice as often within the first 24 months than articles published in regular issues.
    • Special content articles attract 20% more citations in the first 24 months than articles published in regular issues.
    • All articles in this special issue will be reviewed by no fewer than two independent experts to ensure the quality, originality and novelty of the work published.

    Learn more about the benefits of publishing in a special issue:

    Interested in becoming a guest editor? Discover the benefits of guest editing a special issue and the valuable contribution that you can make to your field:

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