Our journals regularly sponsor prizes for the best poster or oral presentations at select international conferences. The prizes recognize excellence in the field, with an emphasis on young and aspiring scientists.
Macromolecular Colloquium | Freiburg, Germany | 20-22 February 2019
Two prizes for the best poster presentations were sponsored by the Macromolecular Journals. The prizes were awarded to:
Tassilo Gleede from the Max-Planck-Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany;
Living Anionic Polymerization of Aziridines Tolerates Water and Gives Fast Access to Amphiphilic Multi-Block Copolymers
The poster summarised the efforts to establish sulfonamide-activated aziridines as a novel monomer family with different (functional) groups, for the living anionic polymerization. A systematic investigation of the polymerization showed a unique tolerance against water, which is very untypical for living anionic polymerizations. The authors’ possible explanation for this are the electron withdrawing sulfonyl groups that increase the acidity of the active chain end – and as a result it becomes robust against protic solvents. Furthermore, the poster illustrated for the first time the simultaneous copolymerization of ethylene oxide and aziridines in a one-pot approach. This reaction results in a fast and efficient synthesis of amphiphilic block copolymers without tapering effect. The authors believe that the anionic polymerization of aziridines will provide straightforward access to novel polyamides and –amines with interesting properties for many applications.
Tobias Johann from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany;
Hydroxamic Acid Functional Polyethers: A Versatile Class of Polymeric Chelators for Surface Coating and Medical Application
The authors developed an approach to synthesize hydroxamic acid functional polyethers, starting from hydroxamic acid bearing initiators for the oxyanionic ring opening polymerization of epoxide monomers. It was shown that these polymeric chelators possess the same complexation properties as low molecular weight hydroxamic acids, albeit with lowered toxicity. Hence, the combination of hydroxamic acids with polymers is a promising alternative to catechols with similar applicability, permitting high oxidative stability. The hydroxamic acid functional polyethers offer promise for iron-depletion therapies, biomedical purposes as well as materials science and surface coating.
International Conference on Perovskite Solar Cells, Photonics and Optoelectronics (NIPHO19) | Jerusalem, Israel | 25-27 February 2019
Two prizes for the best poster presentations were sponsored by the journals Advanced Energy Materials and Solar RRL. Respectively, the prizes were awarded to:
Johannes Sutter from the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin in Germany;
Light Management Nano-structures for Perovskite Silicon Tandem Solar Cells
Tandem solar cells that combine the materials perovskite and silicon are promising candidates for power conversion efficiencies above 30%. To take advantage of the tandem structure there must be an optimization of light management at the interface of the device. For silicon solar cells, KOH etched random pyramid structures are commonly used as light management texture. However, conventional pyramids cannot be applied on a silicon bottom cell in combination with spin coating as perovskite deposition method due to their structure size. Johannes Sutter’s poster showed the development of tailor-made light management nano-structures at interfaces in perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells. The resulting structures are compatible with the spin coating of perovskite materials and at the same time they show low reflection losses as well as high electronic properties.
Sampson Adjokatse from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands;
Scalable Fabrication of High-Quality Crystalline and Stable FAPbI3 Thin Films by Combined Doctor-Blade Coat and Cation Exchange Reaction
Deposition of Formamidinium lead iodide (FAPbI3) perovskite films from a solution containing PbI2 and FAI or by sequential deposition of PbI2 and FAI typically leads to the formation of films with a poor morphology and unstable crystal structure. Sampson Adjokatse showed on his poster the deposition of 2D 2-phenylethylammonium lead iodide (PEA2PbI4) thin films by using a scalable doctor-blade coating technique. The structural, morphological and optical properties of the converted 3D FAPbI3 perovskite films have been investigated as well. The converted FAPbI3 thin films are compact, smooth, highly oriented and exhibit better structural stability in comparison to the directly deposited 3D films. These results not only underscore the importance of the employed deposition techniques in the formation of highly crystalline and stable perovskite thin films but also reveal a strategy to easily obtain very compact perovskite layers using doctor-blade coating.
The journals Advanced Materials Interfaces and Solar RRL sponsored two prizes for the best poster presentation at the INFORM conference in Valencia, Spain, in March 2019. The prizes were awarded to Karen Strassel from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Switzerland, and to Sara Marina from the University of the Basque Country, Spain.
Sara Marina, Amaia Iturrospe, Liyang Yu, Arantxa Arbe, Christian Müller, Natalie Stingelin, Jaime Martin
POLYMAT, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Joxe Mari Korta Centre, Avda. Tolosa 72, 20018, Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain
Unravelling the Microstructure and Thermotropic Phase Behavior of the Non-Fullerene Acceptor ITIC.
A major breakthrough in organic photovoltaics was recently accomplished with the synthesis of the A-D-A type non-fullerene acceptor (NFA) so-called ITIC. Power conversion efficiencies over 14% were achieved when blended with the suitable donor polymers. Nevertheless, ITIC-based devices are too frequently processed applying an Edisonian trial-and-error approach, which hinders the development of more refined molecular architectures and thus slows down the progress of the field. The application of these processing approaches is – at least in part – due to a clear lack of knowledge of the most fundamental structural features of ITIC-based materials, e.g. its crystallinity, stable crystalline forms, phase transition temperatures, etc. The poster of Sara Marina provided the understanding of the microstructural features of ITIC and showed the way for the design of very-much-needed knowledge-based processing protocols for non-fullerene organic solar cells.
A prize for the best students’ presentation was sponsored by the Macromolecular Journals. The prize was awarded to:
Kristina Pflug from University of Hamburg, Germany;
Closing the Circle of Microstructure and Polymer Properties for Polyethylene via a Combined Analytical and Modelling Approach
The properties of polymeric materials strongly depend on the underlying polymeric microstructure, such as molecular weight distribution and branching. The microstructure in turn is formed during the polymerization process and is thus directly determined by reaction conditions. In order to link the process conditions of low-density polyethylene polymerization directly with the respective polymer and processing properties, a combined analytical and multi-scale modelling approach was developed. It was successfully validated via mini-plant experiments and comprehensive analytics. Finally, shear as well as extensional rheology as processing characteristics can be predicted based on process conditions only. This does not only give a more detailed insight into the link of microstructure and flow properties, but also enables simulation-based process optimization and product design in the future.
A prize for the best poster presentation was sponsored by the Macromolecular Journals. The prize was awarded to:
Tobias Cavalli from TU Vienna, Austria;
Crystalline all-organic salts, i.e. salts where both the anion and the cation are organic molecules, are omnipresent in chemical products, spanning from pharmaceuticals to food additives and colorants. The control over their solid form, like the crystal structure, size, and shape of the salt particles, is extremely important for their production process, as it affects aspects such as powder drying or flowability. At the hand of a highly insoluble model salt, the authors here showed how control over size and shape of all-organic salt crystals can be achieved by different approaches, including the use of additives. Moreover, they discussed the physicochemical underpinnings for the generated control, both in solution, and in the solid state.
Prizes for the best poster presentations were sponsored by Advanced Theory and Simulations. They were awarded to:
Patrick Courtney from the SiLA Consortium and tec-connection, Konstanz, Germany;
Machine Leaning and AI: Feeding Tools with Data
Analytics tools (machine learning and AI) have been around for a long time. So why haven’t we used these technologies before? The availability of data and computing is now being addressed. The missing link is how to feed tools with the data. This is the gap that SiLA addresses. The authors introduced the AnIML and SiLA open standardization initiatives that provide key building blocks to establish interoperability: AnIML specifies a standard data format for analytical data; SiLA provides web-service-based communication standards for interfacing with instruments. Connectivity and seamless interoperability are among the goals for many lab-of-the-future projects empowered by AI/ML Methods. Standardized protocols and data formats serve as infrastructure enablers for the integration of instruments, systems, and seamless data flow.
Harini Narayanan from ETH Zurich, Switzerland;
Hybrid Models: How can we teach physical laws to black box models?
Models can assist and accelerate process development by reducing the time, cost and efforts required. Due to lack to complete physical understanding of the system, developing first principle models have been limited. The author here developed a model fusion of a simplistic mechanistic model with black-box models, called Hybrid models, for mammalian cell culture. The superior performance of such models in terms of accuracy, capturing physical relevant behavior and extrapolation in comparison to black-box models have been show-cased through quantitative studies.
Prizes for the best poster presentations were sponsored by the Macromolecular Journals. They were awarded to:
Anton Hilfer from the TU Darmstadt, Germany;
Ethylene is one of the most important basic products of the chemical industry and is used for the production of a variety of products under high pressures. Unfortunately, from a thermodynamic point of view, compressed ethylene is unstable above a certain temperature and pressure limit and can decompose in a deflagration. In this work, the decomposition reaction of ethylene is investigated in a high-pressure view cell. The experiments provide a better understanding of the decomposition process in a time and spatially resolved manner and, secondly, the experiments serve as a basis and validation for the development of a numerical simulation model to improve the design of safety devices and strategies in the future.
Elias Arian from the University Hamburg, Germany;
Micromixing processes have an influence on fast reactions, like polymerization reactions. While carrying out micromixing experiments in water is simple, straightforward and well established, the determination of micromixing efficiency in higher viscosities is challenging. The authors have used a high concentrated sucrose solution, as it is a Newtonian fluid with high possible viscosities. The results highly suggest that sugar solutions can be used as a viscous media to determine micromixing efficiency at different viscosities.
Alexandr Zubov from the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague, Czech Republic;
Poly(lactic acid) (PLA), or poly(lactide) is a fully biodegradable thermoplastic polyester that is produced from renewable resources and offers significantly reduced carbon footprint when compared to its petroleum-based market competitors. The authors here showed a multi-scale modelling framework that allows direct mapping between PLA production process conditions and rheological properties of the polymer melt. The developed model is validated by literature data and represents the first step in the development of a computational framework allowing in silico design and tailoring of PLA-based materials.
A prize for the best presentation was sponsored by the Macromolecular Journals. It was awarded to:
Paul Peikert from TU Darmstadt, Germany;
The high-pressure ethylene homo- and co-polymerization takes place at extraordinary conditions of pressures up to 3500 bar and temperatures up to 350 °C. In order to produce polymers tailor-made for its application it is crucial to understand how the chosen process conditions affect the resulting properties of macromolecules. The authors here showed the development of a model for LDPE homo- and co-polymerization in order to calculate the branching structure of an ensemble of macromolecules stochastically. With this model it is possible to store the exact position of long- and short-chain branches as well as the sequence of monomers.
Furthermore, all models were validated both with self-produced mini-plant samples as well as industrial-scale products.
Five prizes for the best poster presentations at the ICMAT 2019, Symposium GG “Advanced Nanomaterials for Green Energy and Environmental Applications”, in Singapore were sponsored by Advanced Materials Technologies and Energy Technology. The prizes were awarded to:
Kannika Sitthisuwanakul from the National Science and Technology Development Agency in Thailand;
Enhancement of Elemental Mercury Capture by Mixed Phase of Silver-Activated Carbon Composites
Ag/EAC composite adsorbents were synthesized via a facile impregnation at ambient temperature. The silver impregnations were performed at extremely different concentrations and named as 0.5 Ag/EAC and 5 Ag/EAC. The results showed mixed phase characters of silver element (Ag0) and silver chloride (AgCl) on a covering surface. The EAC exhibited the moderated Hg0 adsorption due to a porosity of the activated carbon itself. However, the 0.5 Ag/EAC performed the highest Hg0 adsorption capacity, which was 37% higher than the starting EAC performance. Nevertheless, the 5 Ag/EAC presented the lowest adsorption capacity which occurred from the decreasing of surface area (around 10% reduction). The results indicate that the tiny amount of Ag impregnated on the EAC surface together with the remained high surface area illustrate crucial factors in the Hg0 adsorption.
Gamze Yilmaz from the National University of Singapore;
Rational Engineering of Metal-Organic Coordination Networks to Nickel Iron Phosphides for Overall Water Splitting
Although transition metal phosphide electrocatalysts display unique electronic structures that serve as functional centers for hydrogen evolution reaction, synthesis of the same class with exceptional reactivity towards oxygen evolution has remained a challenge due to multielectron transfer pathways and complex sluggish reaction kinetics. In this regard, rational design and engineering of the surface chemistry and coordination at the nanoscopic level can be used to deliberately manipulate the activity and stability of the electrocatalysts. This study details a feasible and generic in-situ modification and transformation of cyanide-bridged nickel (cobalt)-iron organometallic hybrid (NiFe(CoFe)-PBAs) into the preferential nickel iron phosphide phase with prevailing active centers by leveraging on facile coordinate cleavage dynamics and compound reactivity of labile metal organic coordination frameworks. The resultant transition metal phosphide attains high electrochemical surface area, small Tafel slope and low overpotential towards both oxygen and hydrogen evolution reactions. Comprehensive experimental studies reveal that the exceptional catalytic activity originates from the transformation of framework metallic sites into preferential active sites that allows the optimal adsorption of oxygen evolution reactions intermediates.
Yongqi Zhang from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore;
The Application of RF plasma in Synthesis and Processing of Electrode Materials
Radio-frequency plasma is proven to be a highly effective technique in electrochemical energy related applications for both rapid conversion reaction and surface functionalization of nanostructured electrocatalysts. N-plasma treatment was here employed to convert NiMo thin film to NiMoN nanostructures in less than 15 min, and also convert Co3O4 nanowires to CoN nanowires in 1 min. The resulting materials show efficient electrocatalytic activities for hydrogen-evolution reaction and oxygen-evolution reactions, respectively.
Furthermore, it was found that plasma treatment induces multiple favorable effects when using carbon cloth and Ni foam: surface nanostructures, N doping, as well as hydrophilicity. This treatment both lowers the water splitting overpotentials but also ensures long-cycle stability.
Harikesh Padinhare Cholakkal from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore;
Light and Oxygen Induced Trap Passivation and Lattice Expansion in Perovskites
High carrier lifetimes and diffusion lengths are essential for the high performance of lead halide perovskite solar cells. Thus passivating ionic defects forming deep traps in the material is essential. This work shows the effect of oxygen in passivating deep traps in halide perovskites through in-situ photoconductivity, photoluminescence and transient absorption measurements.
Gee Yeong Kim from the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, Germany;
Equilibrium Space Charges Effect In Lead Halide Perovskite
The poster discusses the equilibrium space charge effects in methylammonium lead iodide (MAPI) and concentrate on the MAPI/TiO2 and MAPI/Al2O3 contacts. Irrespective of polarization phenomena building up under operation, already the equilibrium situation is dominated by space charge effects (built-in potentials). The authors found that ionic carriers are not only relevant, they even dictate the space charge potential which the electrons have to follow.
The journals Advanced Materials Interfaces, Solar RRL as well as Advanced Materials Technologies sponsored each a prize for the best poster presentation at the ICOE 2019 in Hasselt, Belgium, in June 2019. The prizes were awarded to:
Manasi Venkataramani from the Technical University in Dresden, Germany;
Investigating the Effects of Interfacial Neat Fullerene and Donor Layers on Hole Extraction and Charge Carrier Recombination in Low-Donor Organic Solar Cells
Efficient organic solar cells can reach high external quantum efficiencies and fill factors, both exceeding 80%. However, the open-circuit voltage is still limited, causing a comparatively lower power conversion efficiency of 15.7% in single-junction organic solar cells. The results presented here show that MoO3 provides good contact even in low-donor-content organic solar cells where there are highly reduced hole transport layer-donor interfaces. In addition, we show that p-doped hole transport layers with an intrinsic interlayer do not work as expected and exhibit lower ability to extract the generated charge carriers in low-donor content organic solar cells.
Suman Kuila from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in India;
Design and Synthesis of Efficient Red-emitting TADF Materials from Core-substituted Naphthalene Diimides
Core-substituted naphthalene diimides (cNDIs) are a widely investigated class of chromophores in functional organic and supramolecular chemistry. cNDIs have been used extensively in various optoelectronic and photovoltaic applications because of their n-type semiconducting nature and easily tunable emission characteristics. However, access to the triplets of these materials is less explored although they are particularly unique molecular systems for red-NIR triplet emission because of their inherently fast ISC and low-lying triplet states. Here, for the first time, a red-emitting dual delayed fluoresence and RTP in fully amorphous state was shown based on a donor (carbazole)-acceptor (NDI) design strategy.
Dong Kuk Kim from the Imperial College London, UK;
Control of Molecular Orientation of Pentacene Thin Films via Structural Templating
Pentacene is well-documented for its high charge carrier mobility and singlet fission properties. The current molecular orientation of pentacene limits the performance of certain optoelectronic devices and also influences the efficiency of triplet dissociation. This highlights the need for effective control over molecular orientation for device optimisation. In this work, structural templating, a commonly used approach to govern morphology and structure, was implemented to achieve a flat-lying orientation. Copper (I) iodide was chosen as the most effective templating layer. Pentacene was found to maintain its herringbone structure in the new flat-lying orientation. This provides design opportunities for organic electronic devices and highlights that templating can be achieved using polar layers.
The journal Advanced Materials Technologies sponsored two prizes for the best poster presentation at the 3D Printing 2019, in August 2019. The prizes were awarded to:
Jitkanya Wong from the University of Washington in Seattle, USA;
Ionogels are an emerging class of soft materials that exhibit ionic conductivity and thermal stability without the need to replenish ions or the addition of conductive particle fillers. The authors reported an ionogel ink for direct-write 3D printing to fabricate conductive structures that can vary in the printed object geometries. This approach relies on a shear-thinning ionogel ink that can be extruded to afford self-supporting constructs. After a brief UV cure, the printed construct is transformed into a mechanically tough, transparent structure that is ionically conductive.
Mingshi Zhang from Dartmouth College in Hanover, USA;
Integrating functional materials into 3D printing to build controlled 3D macrostructures will transform their molecular functions into macroscopic scales, which will unlock opportunities for the development of smart devices. The authors developed a general hierarchical co-assembly strategy to produce self-standing covalent organic framework monolith with sophisticated macroscopic geometries, which will benefit the development of smart devices.
A prize for the best presentation was sponsored by the Macromolecular Journals. It was awarded to Thora Arnardottir from Newcastle University, UK;
This research explores the potential design role of bacterial-induced biomineralisation. It concentrates on structuring a biofabrication process whose purpose is to partly control the physical geometry of a microbial induced mineralised structure.
A prize for the best presentation was sponsored by the Macromolecular Journals and was awarded to Tapas Debsharma from the University of Potsdam, Germany;
Levoglucosenol was here polymerized by ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP) using a derivative of the 2nd generation Grubbs catalyst to produce high molar mass polyacetals. Poly(levoglucosenol) is an amorphous thermoplastic polyacetal with a glass transition temperature of ~100 °C and can be degraded in acidic environment. Levoglucosenyl methyl ether was polymerized by cationic ring-opening polymerization (CROP) to give a semi-crystalline polyacetal, which is also degradable in acidic environment. Both polyacetals were functionalized by hydrogenation and/or thiol-ene chemistry and hence could be useful as reactive functional materials.
Prizes for the best poster presentations were sponsored by the Macromolecular Journals. They were awarded to:
Lucie Havelková from the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic;
Hyper-cross-linked polyacetylene networks with (i) permanent microporous texture (specific surface area up to 1000 m2/g) and (ii) high content of aldehyde groups were prepared through direct chain-growth homopolymerization of 1,3-diethynylbenzaldehyde using Rh(I) catalyst. The parent network was efficient in selective and reversible chemisorption of alcohols and primary amines. The covalent modification of parent network with ethylenediamine provided NH2-groups-decorated network with preserved microporosity which was applicable as base physisorbent of CO2 or acid drugs and acted as heterogeneous organocatalyst of aldol condensation.
Sarah Bernhardt from the Friedrich-Alexander-University in Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany;
By electrostatic self-assembly and electrostatic nanotemplating multi-component nanoparticles were created for different functions, like solar energy conversion and water purification. Three novel ternary structures were shown: hybrid microneedles formed from ZnO and two oppositely charged porphyrins. ZnO created in the presence of conjugated polythiophene and polyethylene oxide yielded almond-shaped hybrid particles. And the last assembly consists of NiO templated by polystyrene sulfonate microgels with porphyrin as photosensitizer that acts as a novel photocatalytic active entity.
The journal Advanced Functional Materials sponsored a prize for the best poster presentation at the Directed Self-Assembly Symposium 2019. The prize was awarded to:
Teruaki Hayakawa from Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan;
Block copolymer (BCP) lithography has received increasing attention as a potential next generation lithographic process for the semiconductor industry. The 5–300 nm scale nanoassemblies of BCPs can be used as
resists for transferring patterns onto any underlying substrate. By engineering perpendicular lamellar structures from strongly segregating higher-chi BCPs on thin films, line and space structures with feature sizes less than 5 nm can be obtained. This contribution reviews designed higher-chi BCPs that exhibit the formation of perpendicularly oriented nanostructures in thin films by thermal annealing.
Prizes for the best poster presentations were sponsored by the Macromolecular Journals. They were awarded to:
Herik Grillo Brogliato from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil;
The concept of metamaterials includes any material whose effective properties are delivered by its structure rather than the bulk behavior of the materials that composed it. This project investigates the energy dissipation by changing the metamaterial geometric structures, produced by FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) in PLA (poly (lactic acid)). Preliminary simulations in FEA (finite element analysis) pinpointed stress concentrations and overall energy dissipation on compression. However, after the proper manufacturing of samples, a better understanding of the relationship between design and fabrication was obtained, showing a more complex dissipation of compression deformation due to rheological behavior of polymer during printing. With these results, innovative applications, such as metamaterials with better protection against impact can be achieved.
Stéphanie Cardoso de Sá from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil;
Intumescent coatings are considered passive components of fire protection, being able to thermally insulate the steel substrate, thus maintaining its structural properties. The addition of a silicon source to the intumescent system can enhance its fire protection performance by improving the mechanical properties of the carbonaceous layer. In this work, the use of calcinated rice husk to replace silica as the silicon source in an epoxy resin based intumescent system was evaluated. The results showed that the calcinated rice husk can be used as a silicon source in replacement of silica, since the temperatures reached by the substrate coated with the coating containing the calcined rice husk were very close to those coated with the coating containing silica.
Yifang Zheng from the Peking University, China:
In this work, a physical lead reduction (PLR) concept is presented by reducing the perovskite film thickness to restrict the perovskite hazard risk with minor scarification in device performances. Through the simulation of transfer matrix model, it was theoretically demonstrated that by introducing the optical space layer, the device PCE could maintain 96% of the original maximum value while attenuating the perovskite film thickness to one-third. This means that the usage of lead can be reduced by ~70% with PLR concept, which could have broad appeal as a new lead reduction strategy towards high performance OHPSCs.
Gaurav Kapil from The University of Tokyo, Japan:
Tin-lead (Sn-Pb) perovskite exhibits an ideal band gap (1.2 eV-1.4 eV) to achieve higher power conversion efficiency (PCE) than pure Pb based PSCs. However, being a low band gap material and prone to oxidation of Sn2+ to Sn4+, Sn-Pb solar cells exhibit low open circuit voltage (Voc). To increase the Voc, a spike structure strategy was reported by our group, Voc of 0.75 V and PCE of 17.6% were obtained. To further improve Voc, in this work we will demonstrate that by decreasing the strain in the Sn-Pb perovskite lattice, Voc more than 0.80 V can be obtained. Also, we will show that with the change in conducting glass substrate, i.e by selecting a conducting glass with better IR transmittance, short circuit current density (Jsc) more than 30 mA/cm2 can be obtained.