Latest research breakthroughs reported at the 2017 MRS Spring Meeting

The Materials Research Society held its Spring Meeting on April 17-21, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. Following are highlights reported on social media by participants, presenters, and others as well as reports from additional MRS news sources.


  1. “We no longer have to be slaves to the materials properties that exist today.”
    -Julia Greer, California Institute of Technology, MRS TV
  2. Meeting Chairs Christopher J. Bettinger (Carnegie Mellon University), Stefan A. Maier (Imperial College London), Alfonso H.W. Ngan (University of Hong Kong), W. Jud Ready (Georgia Institute of Technology), and Eli A. Sutter (University of Nebraska–Lincoln) treated over 4,000 materials researchers to a program of leading-edge research reported in the areas of modeling, electronic devices, energy, nanomaterials, and biomaterials.
  3. Special presentations

  4. “Imagine a brick that looks like a brick but it’s made out of clouds and it weighs virtually nothing,” says Greer from the California Institute of Technology in an interview with MRS TV:
  5. Julia Greer - Materials by Design—3-Dimensional Nano-Architected Metamaterials:
  6. Other key presenters were Joseph M. DeSimone of the University of North Carolina on Chapel Hill and Sharon Glotzer of the University of Michigan:
  7. DiSimone introduced a high-speed, 3D printing process for polymers called the continuous liquid interface production process, or CLIP.
  8. The startup company Carbon is commercializing this novel process that DiSimone and his colleagues developed. Recently, Carbon has begun work with Adidas to make bespoke running shoes with matrices designed for a specific individual’s size, weight, and gait.
  9. Glotzer, whose review article in MRS Communications received an award from the publication in recognition of excellence in the field of materials research, talked about her particular interest in understanding the role of polymer tethers - short chains similar in size to a nanoparticle that were grafted to a nanoparticle surface - in assembling nanoparticles.
  10. More special talks were given by Joost W.M. Frenken (Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography), who received the MRS award for Innovation in Materials Characterization; Outstanding Young Investigators Jennifer A. Dionne (Stanford University) and James M. Rondinelli (Northwestern University); and Symposium X speakers Kazutomo Suenaga (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology) and David Weitz (Harvard University).
  11. Lots was sizzling in the Valley of the Sun!

  12. The 2017 MRS Spring Meeting offered opportunities for professional development alongside its strong technical program with a broad range of research topics.
  13. In the area of electronic devices, David Awschalom of the University of Chicago showed his group’s development of a technology that could be hailed as a precursor for quantum computing. Awschalom used spin systems based upon the divacancy in SiC as well as Cr-ion centers in SiC. Basically, physics has been developed for much simpler two-level and three-level atomic systems discussed from the perspective of the divacancy in SiC. For example, Awschalom’s talk encompassed Rabi-flopping and coherent population trapping as well as other effects. He discussed coherence times, which are quite long, and indicated that linewidths could be narrowed and coherence times improved if SiC could be grown that contained significantly less nitrogen.
  14. Other hot topics included micromechanics -
  15. metal oxides -