News

Zuhair A. Munir honored for contributions to ceramic engineering

Materials science and engineering distinguished professor emeritus and College of Engnieering dean emeritus Zuhair A. Munir was recognized for his lifetime achievements in the field of ceramic engineering with the 2021 James I. Mueller Memorial Award from the American Ceramic Society (ACerS) Engineering Ceramics Division. He will be honored at the 45th International Conference on Advanced Ceramics and Composites, where he will deliver the Keynote Plenary Lecture virtually on February 8, 2021.

Applying machine learning to renewable energy

Materials science and engineering associate professor Marina Leite thinks machine learning is key to the next big breakthrough in renewable energy. With a new three-year grant from the National Science Foundation, Leite will use machine learning techniques to study perovskite solar cells, a class of highly efficient but volatile devices, to find the optimal conditions to run them reliably.

Student Spotlight: Weidi Zhu

Recent materials science and engineering (MSE) Ph.D. graduate Weidi Zhu had never worked with glasses before coming to UC Davis, but through research projects with Blacutt-Underwood Professor Sabyasachi Sen, he developed an interest in the material that turned into a career with Apple. As the world becomes “smart,” Zhu hopes to use what he learned at UC Davis to contribute to the science behind the glassy materials that will become increasingly important to the world.

Jeremy Mason named UC Davis Hellman Fellow

Materials Science and Engineering Assistant Professor Jeremy Mason joins the class of 2021 UC Davis Hellman Fellows. The unique Hellman Fellows Program helps promising assistant professors bridge the funding gap between start-up funding and securing competitive external grants.

Alumni Spotlight: Brian Peters '88

Engineering alumnus and Inneos CEO Brian Peters ‘88 is a successful leader, businessman and entrepreneur in the optics industry, but he wouldn’t lead with that. In his 25 years in business, Peters takes the most pride in leading companies with an inspired community of colleagues who have helped him carve out his place in Silicon Valley.

Exploring Perovskites: A Conversation with Marina Leite

Though their optical and electrical properties are very promising, perovskites are a class of materials that are still understudied. Until researchers have a better understanding of their overall properties, they can’t learn how to control them to create ubiquitous devices like solar cells, LEDs and photodetectors.

Student Spotlight: Raegan Taylor

For fourth-year materials science and engineering major Raegan Taylor, engineering is a means to understand and contribute to the world around her. Driven by a desire to help people, she has used her curiosity about the world and her research experience to build a strong foundation in engineering as she pursues a career in optical engineering.

“I see engineering as an avenue to learn about the world and round out my interests in a way that’s beneficial to other people,” she said.

Yayoi Takamura named MSE department chair

Professor Yayoi Takamura is the new chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering Department, effective July 1. A long-time leader in the department, Takamura joined UC Davis in 2006 and had been vice chair of the MSE department since 2017. She also served on the Dean’s faculty advisory committee from 2016-17 and was chair of the College of Engineering graduate study committee from 2018-20. She plans to bring her experience with her to her new role.

Leveraging industry partnerships to teach remotely

The materials science and engineering (MSE) department is leveraging its industry connections and forging new partnerships to give students the best experience while teaching spring 2020 remotely. Professor Klaus van Benthem and Assistant Professor of Teaching Susan Gentry have worked with the software company COMSOL and the manufacturer KLA Corporation to keep students learning in this challenging environment.

Using “fun physics” to advance computing

Driven by the thrill of discovery, materials science and engineering professor Yayoi Takamura’s research group explores the “fun physics” of the magnetic and electronic properties of thin films of complex oxide materials to better understand how these materials that can be used in advanced computing.

Student Spotlight: Louie Zhong

Fourth-year materials science and engineering major Louie Zhong looks to the ultra-small and ultrafast to make a big impact on the world. Though he has always liked math, engineering and chemistry, Zhong explains his interest in materials science with the James Joyce quote, “In the particular is contained the universal.” Ever since a high school teacher introduced him to the quote, it’s become a way for him to think about his interest in materials, and in science in general.

Student Spotlight: Ian Phillips

Becoming an engineer was a natural choice for fourth-year materials science and engineering major Ian Phillips.  He grew up working on cars with his dad, giving him a love of hands-on work and problem solving he’s taken with him throughout his time at UC Davis, from studying semiconductors and ceramics at UC Davis and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to teaching shop tools at the UC Davis D-Lab.

Subhash Risbud receives ACerS W. David Kingery Award

Materials science and engineering distinguished professor Subhash Risbud was honored with the American Ceramic Society’s W. David Kingery Award, which recognizes distinguished lifelong achievements with a multidisciplinary, global impact on ceramic technology, science, education and art.

Alexandra Navrotsky named ACerS Distinguished Life Member

Materials science and engineering distinguished professor emerita Alexandra Navrotsky is now a Distinguished Life Member of The American Ceramic Society (ACerS). Becoming a Distinguished Life Member is ACerS’ highest honor. Since 1931, the award is presented annually to three members in recognition of their seminal contributions to the ceramics profession.

Student Spotlight: Annie Wang

From her interest in textiles and sustainability to her advocacy for public health and social justice, fourth-year materials science and engineering major Annie Wang’s interests cross paths and drive her to make a difference at UC Davis and in the world.

Sabyasachi Sen wins 2020 Otto Schott Research Award

Materials science and engineering (MSE) professor Sabyasachi Sen received the 2020 Otto Schott Research Award, recognizing his research excellence in the fields of glasses and glass ceramics. Sen will be honored at a special a ceremony at the annual American Ceramic Society’s Glass and Optical Materials Division meeting from May 17-21 in New Orleans.

Marina Leite co-authors new paper that standardizes perovskite stability testing

Associate professor Marina Leite is a co-author on a new paper in Nature Energy that establishes standards and procedures for testing the stability of perovskite photovoltaic devices. The publication, the result of the 12th International Summit on Organic Photovoltaic Stability (ISOS) in October 2019, was co-written by 60 leading researchers in the field from across the globe who came together to form this consensus.

MSE launches nuclear science training program for UC Davis faculty

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering is leading a new nuclear science training program for junior faculty members at UC Davis. The Advancing Scientific Careers to Enhance Nuclear Technologies (ASCENT) is a three-year $450,000 program funded by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The goal of this program is to encourage junior faculty in their first four years to expand their research in nuclear science.

Seung Sae Hong: Pushing Materials to their Limit

From quantum computers to sustainable energy, the world needs to access new materials and material properties that will power the world’s next generation of technology. New assistant professor Seung Sae Hong pushes materials to their limits to find out what they’re truly capable of and unlock these new properties using the nanoscale and two dimensions.

UC Davis leads breakthrough in ceramic nanoscience

A new paper from professor Ricardo Castro’s group at UC Davis changes the understanding of how nanoscale dimensions affect the hardness of ceramics. The study, led by then Ph.D. student Arseniy Bokov, found that on nanoscale dimensions, ceramic materials give a false impression of softening because of an extensive network of almost invisible nanocracks.