2016 Cahn Prize winner and finalists

The Editors and Publisher are pleased to announce the monthly finalists for the 2016 Journal of Materials Science Robert W. Cahn Best Paper Prize (the “Cahn Prize”). The Cahn Prize has been named in honor of the Journal’s founding editor, the late Professor Robert Wolfgang Cahn.

Each month the Editors selected a paper published in that month’s issues via a rigorous nomination and voting procedure. The winning paper was selected from the twelve finalists by a separate panel of distinguished materials scientists. The authors of the winning paper will receive an award of $5,000.


Cahn Prize winning article


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Exploration of the mechanisms of temperature-dependent grain boundary mobility: search for the common origin of ultrafast grain boundary motion

C. J. O’Brien and S. M. Foiles

...Examining the atomic-level motion mechanisms of the thermally activated boundaries reveals that each involves a complex shuffle, and at least one atom that changes the plane it resides on. The motion mechanism of the antithermal boundary is qualitatively different and involves an in-plane coordinated shuffle that rotates atoms about a fixed atom lying on a point in the coincident site lattice. This provides a mechanistic reason for the observed high mobility, even at low temperatures, which is due to the low activation energy needed for such motion. However, it will be demonstrated that this mechanism is not universal, or even common, to other boundaries exhibiting non-thermally activated motion. This work concludes that no single atomic motion mechanism is sufficient to explain the existence of non-thermally activated boundary motion.



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In situ X-ray synchrotron tomographic imaging during the compression of hyper-elastic polymeric materials

Brian M. Patterson, Nikolaus L. Cordes, Kevin Henderson, Jason J. Williams, Tyler Stannard, Sudhanshu S. Singh, Angel Rodriguez Ovejero, Xianghui Xiao, Mathew Robinson, Nikhilesh Chawla

Cellular structures are present in many modern and natural materials and their proper utilization is crucial within many industries. Characterizing their structural and mechanical properties is complicated, in that they often have a stochastic cellular structure, and in addition, they often have hyper-elastic (i.e., non-linear) mechanical properties. Understanding the 3D structure and the dynamic response of polymer foams to mechanical stress is a key to predicting lifetime performance, damage pathways, and stress recovery. Therefore, to gain a more complete picture, experiments which are designed to understand their mechanical properties must simultaneously acquire performance metrics during loading...



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Synthesis of brush-like ZnO nanowires and their enhanced gas-sensing properties

Yongjiao Sun, Zihan Wei, Wendong Zhang, Pengwei Li, Kun Lian, Jie Hu

In this paper, brush-like ZnO nanowires were synthesized by two-step method combining electrospinning and hydrothermal. The phase purity, morphology, and structure of the brush-like ZnO hierarchical structures were characterized, which exhibited the improved surface area, comparing with ZnO nanofibers. The gas-sensing experiments were carried out on brush-like ZnO nanowires and ZnO nanofibers sensors under optimum working temperature. The highest response of brush-like ZnO nanowires to 100 ppm toluene and CO can reach to 12.7 and 5.9, respectively, which was much higher than that of ZnO nanofibers. Moreover, the brush-like ZnO nanowires sensor also shows fast response/recovery time to toluene (9/4 s) and CO (6/2 s), low detection limit (1 ppm to toluene). The measured results demonstrate that brush-like ZnO nanowires are potential as a novel sensing material for practical gas-sensing applications.



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Simultaneous optimisation of orientation and constituent volume in piezoelectric composites

K. P. Jayachandran, J. M. Guedes, H. C. Rodrigues

...Four different composite configurations of single-crystal/polycrystal piezoelectric with polymer are analysed. Yet the polarisation orientation is found to play a crucial role in the piezoelectric response of ferroelectrics. The choice of an optimal composite is complicated, and it is impossible to analyse all possible permutations and combinations of the piezoelectric volume fractions, grain orientation distribution parameters (in the case of polycrystalline piezoelectrics plus polymer) or the crystallographic orientation angles (in the case of single-crystal piezoelectrics and polymer) themselves. Optimal design variables which would generate single-/polycrystalline configurations that enhance the macroscopic piezoelectricity of the composite are identified. It is found that juxtaposing a preferentially oriented piezoelectric material with a polymer into a composite would result in enhancement of piezoelectric figures of merit from constituent phases...



Cu-Ga-In thermodynamics: experimental study, modeling, and implications for photovoltaics

Christopher P. Muzzillo, Carelyn E. Campbell, Timothy J. Anderson

...Using the assessed parameters, the model predicts that at temperatures typically used in CIGS processes, Cu–Ga–In films should undergo equilibrium phase transformations. Slight changes in composition are found to determine whether or not these transitions occur, and at what temperature. Equilibrated precursor films are calculated to have high γ-Cu9(Ga,In)4 phase content, where reducing equilibration and γ-Cu9(Ga,In)4 formation have previously been found to improve photovoltaic performance.


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Flexographic printing of nanoparticulate tin-doped indium oxide inks on PET foils and glass substrates

Moritz Wegener, Dieter Spiehl, Hans Martin Sauer, Florian Mikschl, Xinxin Liu, Nadja Kölpin, Michael Schmidt, Michael P. M. Jank, Edgar Dörsam, Andreas Roosen

This contribution deals with flexographic printing of nanoparticulate tin-doped indium oxide (ITO) inks for the manufacture of fine lines on PET foils and glass substrates. The development and optimization of ITO inks, based on solutions of water and ethanol, for the flexographic printing process is presented. The influence of the solvent composition, of the particle content, and of the molar mass of the binder polyvinylpyrrolidone on the printing result is shown. ITO lines with a minimum line width of around 120 μm were printed using a printing plate with a feature size of 50 μm; the ITO lines exhibited a thickness of around 1 μm. Laser post-treatment was used to consolidate the top layer of the nanoparticulate ITO structures resulting in improved electrical properties; low sheet resistance values of around 300 Ω/□ were achieved.



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Effect of alloying on the stabilities and catalytic properties of Ag–Au bimetallic subnanoclusters: a theoretical investigation

Yuhua Chi, Lianming Zhao, Xiaoqing Lu, Changhua An, Wenyue Guo, Chi-Man Lawrence Wu

Density functional theory has been applied to study the geometric and electronic structures and the catalytic properties of Ag and AgAu clusters for CO oxidation. The calculated results suggest that the doping of Au atoms improve the stability of AgAu clusters.Correspondingly, the binding energy (BE) per atom of AgnAu is larger than that of pure Agn+1 cluster, due to strong hybridization between the d orbitals of Au and the s orbitals of Ag in AgnAu clusters. 


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Modeling contrary size effects of tensile- and torsion-loaded oligocrystalline gold microwires

E. Bayerschen, A. Prahs, S. Wulfinghoff, M. Ziemann, P. A. Gruber, M. Walter, T. Böhlke

... In the present work, the size-dependent mechanical response of the microwires is modeled with a gradient plasticity theory. By finite element simulations of simplified grain aggregates, the influence of the texture on the size effects is investigated under both loading conditions. It is shown that the experimentally observed contrary size effects can only be reproduced when taking into account the individual textures of the microwires of different thicknesses within the modeling.


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Biocompatible silk fibroin scaffold prepared by reactive inkjet printing

Patrick Rider, Yu Zhang, Christopher Tse, Yi Zhang, Dharana Jayawardane, Jonathan Stringer, Jill Callaghan, I. M. Brook, Cheryl A. Miller, Xiubo Zhao, Patrick J. Smith

It has recently been shown that regenerated silk fibroin (RSF) aqueous solution can be printed using an inkjet printer. In this communication, we demonstrate an alternative reactive inkjet printing method that provides control over RSF crystallinity through β-sheet concentration. A biocompatible film has successfully been produced through the alternate printing of RSF aqueous solution and methanol using reactive inkjet printing. Control over the formation of the β-sheet structure was achieved by printing different ratios of RSF to methanol and was confirmed using Fourier Transform Infra Red spectroscopy. The biocompatibility of the printed silk scaffold was demonstrated by the growth of fibroblast cells upon its surface.


New colloidal fabrication of bioceramics with controlled porosity for delivery of antibiotics

Lydie Ploux, Mihaela Mateescu, Lise Guichaoua, Jules Valentin, Judith Böhmler, Karine Anselme, Eric Champion, Nathalie Pécout, Roxana Chotard-Ghodsnia, Marylène Viana

Bone tissue regeneration with bioceramics-based biomaterial can suffer from associated bone infections. The objective of this study was to develop new antibiotics drug delivery systems, composed of ceramics matrix with a controlled porosity aiming at releasing the antibiotics loaded in the matrix, in the bone implantation site and in a controlled way...


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Quality by design approach for SrTiO3 perovskite nanomaterials synthesis

Fabio Zaza, Giovanna Orio and Emanuele Serra

...The aim of this work is to study how the synthesis conditions affect the properties of sensing nanoparticles of strontium titanate perovskite oxide and develop mathematical models with predictive ability for the design of materials...


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Crystalline coherence length effects on the thermal conductivity of MgO thin films

Kelsey E. Meyer, Ramez Cheaito, Elizabeth Paisley, Christopher T. Shelton, Jeffrey L. Braun, Jon-Paul Maria, Jon F. Ihlefeld, Patrick E. Hopkins

...We experimentally demonstrate that the phonon thermal conductivity of MgO thin films is proportional to the crystal’s coherence length, a property of a solid that quantifies the length scale associated with crystalline imperfections... We find that the measured thermal conductivity of the MgO films varies proportionally with crystalline coherence length, which is ultimately limited by the grain size...