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Materials student earns ‘Gold’ for graduate research presentation

Friday, March 17, 2017
Zakaria Al Balushi, a doctoral candidate in materials science and engineering, was awarded the Materials Research Society (MRS) Gold Graduate Student Award for a presentation on his research on two-dimensional materials.

Zakaria Al Balushi, a doctoral candidate in materials science and engineering, was awarded the Materials Research Society (MRS) Gold Graduate Student Award for a presentation on his research on two-dimensional materials.

Al Balushi, an Alfred P. Sloan Scholar and 3M Graduate Fellow, presented research on group-III nitrides, which are considered one of the most technologically important classes of materials since the discovery of silicon. Al Balushi has developed an alternative growth scheme to create two-dimensional forms of three-dimensional materials. This synthesis process, referred to as migration enhanced encapsulated growth, creates new properties for the materials and could lead to new technologies. The presentation was based on his research published in Nature Materials.

“It’s really a new synthesis idea where you can take something that’s not 2D and force it to be 2D so you can get the benefits of the material plus the benefits of 2D,” said Al Balushi.

The method can be used to create materials that can be used in a range of devices such as miniaturized laser diodes, solid state photodetectors and UV emitters, which are important for everything from water purification to devices used in the quantum transfer of information.