Materials Science & Nanoengineering

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Rice engineer wins Materials Research Society award

Sina Najmaei received a Materials Research Society’s Graduate Student Silver Award at its annual conference in Boston in December. The highly competitive award is intended to honor and encourage graduate students whose academic achievements and current materials research display a high level of excellence and distinction. MRS seeks to recognize students of exceptional ability who show promise for significant future achievement in materials research.

“You have to apply to present the conference,” explained Najmai. “If you’re selected, you can then apply to compete for the Gold and Silver Awards.” He’s one of 24 graduate students from around the world to receive the prize, which covered conference registration fees, a year-long MRS membership, as well as $200 cash.

Najmaei delivered a talk about the research he’s been doing in the lab of Jun Lou, associate professor of materials science and nanoengineering over the last two years, focusing on large-scale synthesis, characterization, and device applications of two-dimensional (2D)Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2).

“I want to explore the advantages these materials have over regular semiconductors,” said Najmaei. “I’m also working to understand how crystals grow and join and how we can use these materials in electronics and optics.”

“In addition to his contribution in synthesizing high quality large-area single-crystalline MoS2 monolayers, he has also made important contributions to the understanding of effects defects such as grain boundaries on electrical transport behaviors of such material, paving the way for this highly promising 2D material for future 2D electronics applications,” said Lou. “Sina is very creative and versatile in hands-on lab work, combined with his strong analytical and personal skills, he is well prepared for a successful research career.”

Originally from Iran, Najmaei earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Azad University – Tehran and a masters’s degree in applied physics from the University of Texas at Austin. He says he chose Rice for graduate school because of the strength of its materials science program. Upon completing his Ph.D., he plans pursue a career in academia.

—Holly Beretto, Engineering Communications