Chemistry Graduate Students Honored for Their Research

UC Riverside’s Zhenda Lu and Qiao Zhang receive Silver Awards from the Materials Research Society

Photo shows graduate students Zhenda Lu (left) and Qiao Zhang.

Zhenda Lu (left) and Qiao Zhang are Ph.D. graduate students in the Department of Chemistry at UC Riverside. Photo credit: Yin lab, UC Riverside.

Two Ph.D. graduate students at the University of California, Riverside have won Silver Awards given out by the Materials Research Society (MRS) “for their academic achievements and current materials research, which exhibit a high level of excellence and distinction.”

Zhenda Lu and Qiao Zhang, who both work in the lab of Yadong Yin, an associate professor of chemistry, received the awards on April 11 during the 2012 MRS Spring Meeting in San Francisco.  They were honored for their oral presentations given at the meeting the previous day.

In total, 23 graduate students, selected from 105 applications, were recognized by the society with Graduate Student Awards.  Prizes consisted of $400 and a presentation plaque for the Gold Award winners and $200 and a certificate for the Silver Award winners.

Lu developed a number of general self-assembly processes for the synthesis of multi-functional nanoscale composites which show superior performance in various applications including bioseparation, catalysis and energy harvesting.

“Such assembly approaches will provide the research community a highly versatile, configurable, scalable, and reproducible process for the preparation of various multifunctional nanostructures,” he said.

Zhang’s research was focused on the development of highly efficient titanium dioxide (TiO2)-based nanostructured materials for harvesting solar energy.  By controlling the composition, geometric configuration, doping, and interface, he was able to produce photocatalysts with significantly enhanced efficiency in solar-assisted waste water treatment and hydrogen production by splitting water.

“The demand for cheap, clean, and sustainable energy sources is ever-increasing in this energy-hungry world. Solar energy is the best candidate as it is free, clean, and long-lasting,” he said. “A grand challenge facing the research community is to develop materials capable of transforming solar photons efficiently, stably, and cleanly into chemical or electrical work.”

Yin noted that Lu and Zhang, both fifth-year graduate students, are highly innovative in their research work.

“They have a solid background in materials science and chemistry, clear vision about their research fields, creative ideas, excellent experimental skills, and very good ability in communication, writing, and presentation,” he said.  “Their research quality is at the top-tier among many of the applicants for this Graduate Student Award, as evidenced by their many publications in highly ranked journals.”

Founded in 1973, the MRS consists of more than 16,000 members from the United States and nearly 70 other countries. It encourages communication and technical information exchange across the various fields of science affecting materials.

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Tel: (951) 827-6050
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Additional Contacts

Rachel Fornataro, Materials Research Society
Tel: (724) 779-2771
E-mail: Fornataro@mrs.org

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