College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Materials science and engineering graduate students receive 2016-2017 departmental research awards

As the semester and academic year come to an end, graduate students in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering are recognized for their achievements and success.

The Trivedi Best Paper Award

Stephanie Oyola-Reynoso, a Ph.D. student in materials science and engineering, was awarded the 2016-2017 Rohit Trivedi Best Paper Award. Her major professor is Dr. Martin Thuo, Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Science and EngineeringShe is expected to complete her doctorate in June 2017.

The Rohit Trivedi Best Paper Award is a departmental award that is given annually for the best graduate student paper. The paper must be published or accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal and must describe research performed as part of the student’s graduate thesis work.

Oyola-Reynoso’s paper is titled “Recruiting physisorbed water in surface polymerization for bio-inspired materials of tunable hydrophobicity.” Her paper was recently published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A (Impact factor 8.3).

Dr. Martin Thuo, Oyola-Reynoso’s major professor and nominator said, “This paper summarizes our effort to tame the use of silanes in surface modification, by drawing on the role of physisorbed water to engineer the texture and surface chemistry of a target surface. We hypothesized and demonstrate that under the right conditions, step-growth polymerization occurs to form gel particles that are then stochastically distributed on the surface to give amphi-phobic surfaces. These surfaces can repel or attract water in a size limited mechanism.”

“The potential impact of the work and the paradigm-shifting nature of the results in this paper forms the basis of why it is the most deserving publication of this award,” said Dr. Martin Thuo.

The Melba and Karl A. Gschneidner “Go for the Gold” Student Research Award

Jiahao Chen, a third-year Ph.D. student in materials science and engineering, was awarded the spring 2017 Go for the Gold Award. This award is given annually for the most exciting, breakthrough research carried out in a calendar year.

The research may be in any topical area in the field of materials science, i.e. ceramics, metals, polymers, electronics and magnetic materials, etc.  It may be experimental or theoretical or modeling research – fundamental or applied in nature.

Dr. Martin Thuo, Chen’s major professor, described his research success. “Besides his work on molecular tunneling devices, Jiahao was part of the team that developed heat-free solder, a work that is revolutionizing flexible electrodes and was named best advance in materials chemistry in 2016 by the American Chemical Society and the printed electronics community,” he said.

Dr. Thuo continued, “Jiahao accomplished all this by being a diligent graduate student and a great mentor for two undergraduate students who have been assisting him. Jiahao’s dedication, great work ethic, and a desire to mentor others allowed him to move this project to a point that I, as his mentor, am the bottleneck in the number of papers he can have.”