Senior Rice University, Electrical and Computer Engineering major, Frank Yang, has won the Best Poster Award, Fall 2020 for the Materials Research Society (MRS). His poster titled, "Unity order index tunability at room temperature in 1T-TaS2 - a strongly correlated material," was recognized along with 19 other winners from universities worldwide.
Materials Research Society is comprised of more than 14,000 materials researchers from academia, industry, and government. It is a recognized leader in the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research. Headquartered in the US, MRS now spans over 90 countries.
The virtual fall MRS exhibit saw poster entries from physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and engineering—the full spectrum of materials research.
Yang's award-winning poster research was led by Weijian Li, a Rice graduate student currently involved in The Naik Lab under Guru Naik. Their research investigated room-temperature optical tunability in a layered, strongly-correlated material called 1T-TaS2 (Tantalum disulfide).
During Yang's poster presentation, he highlighted how strongly-correlated materials are materials whose behavior can only be explained by accounting for interactions (correlations) between constituent particles like electrons. Their research found that 1T-TaS2's material properties showed a large and fast tunability when illuminated with white light. Their discovery could find applications in optical technologies like LIDAR or virtual reality, which require tunable optical materials.
Speaking on his Best Poster Award, Yang stated, "The award means a lot to me; one thing I have learned from Guru as a researcher is the importance of scientific communication. This award is really a testament to the guidance I have received from Guru, Weijian, and other graduate students in the group."
As Yang completes his final undergraduate year at Rice, he is looking forward to pursuing his interests in device physics, materials, and how light-matter interactions can be applied to technologies like solar cells.