The Robert W. 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 select a paper published in that month’s issues via a rigorous nomination and voting procedure. The winning paper is selected from the twelve finalists by a separate panel of distinguished materials scientists. 

The authors of the winning paper receive an award of $5,000.

The 2021 Cahn Prize

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The Winner of the 2021 Robert W. Cahn Prize for Journal of Materials Science is: 

"Dislocation-based crack initiation and propagation in single-crystal SrTiO3"
By Xufei Fang, Kuan Ding, Christian Minnert, Atsutomo Nakamura & Karsten Durst 

Characterising deformation and cracking in ceramics is crucial to better implement them into small-scale functional devices. In this article, the interpretation of nano-indentation experiments in strontium titanate single crystals, which result in slip planes and cracks, is combined with a discussion and demonstration of dislocation theory. The authors skilfully weave both experiments and fundamental dislocation analysis to address important aspects of the mechanical properties of materials and reveal how deformation occurs in this ceramic.

Even since the concept of dislocations hypothesized by G. Taylor, E. Orowan, and M. Polanyi independently in 1934 and the first unambiguous experimental observations of dislocations by R. Cahn’s report of polygonization in 1949 [1], the research interest in dislocations has gone far beyond metals and alloys. It expanded later into semiconductors, and now attracts wide attention in ceramic oxides such as SrTiO3 for harnessing a variety of functional properties.

“We are really excited about winning the 2021 Cahn Prize, and it is certainly a great recognition of our ongoing studies on dislocations in ceramic oxides,” says Dr. Xufei Fang, first and corresponding author of the prize-winning article “Dislocation-based crack initiation and propagation in single-crystal SrTiO3” that appeared in Journal of Materials Science in March 2021. “By understanding the critical conditions for dislocation-induced failure in functional oxides, we aim to set a framework within which we can focus on engineering dislocation-tuned plasticity to boost the functionality, for instance, ferroelectric/dielectric properties [2].”

Dr. Fang is currently working on “Dislocations in Ceramics” as a group leader (in Prof. J. Rödel’s lab) at Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany and guest associate professor (in Prof. A. Nakamura’s lab) at Osaka University in Japan.

[1] A.L. Greer, Obituary: Robert Wolfgang Cahn (1924–2007), Nature Materials, 6 (2007) 477.
[2] M. Höfling, X. Zhou, L.M. Riemer, E. Bruder, B. Liu, L. Zhou, P.B. Groszewicz, F. Zhuo, B.-X. Xu, K. Durst, X. Tan, D. Damjanovic, J. Koruza, J. Rödel, Control of polarization in bulk ferroelectrics by mechanical dislocation imprint, Science, 372 (2021) 961-964.

To see the Current Contenders for 2022's Prize, click here!

Previous Cahn Prize Winners and Finalists

2020 Cahn Prize

Highly stretchable, breathable and negative resistance variation textile strain sensor with excellent mechanical stability for wearable electronics
By Kai Zhao, Wenbin Niu & Shufen Zhang 

See all 2020 finalists here.

2019 Cahn Prize

Robust raspberry-like all-polymer particles for the construction of superhydrophobic surface with high water adhesive force
By Cheng Chen, Liping Zhang, Mingfei Sheng, Yu Guan, Hao Dong & Shaohai Fu 

See all 2019 finalists here.

2018 Cahn Prize

Measuring solid–liquid interfacial energy fields: diffusion-limited patterns
By Martin E. Glicksman & Kumar Ankit 

See all 2018 finalists here.

2017 Cahn Prize

Stress and strain mapping of micro-domain bundles in barium titanate using electron backscatter diffraction
By Jane A. Howell, Mark D. Vaudin, Lawrence H. Friedman & Robert F. Cook 

See all 2017 finalists here.

2016 Cahn Prize

Exploration of the mechanisms of temperature-dependent grain boundary mobility: search for the common origin of ultrafast grain boundary motion
By C. J. O’Brien & S. M. Foiles 

See all 2016 finalists here.

2015 Cahn Prize

Structure, composition, and defect control during plasma spray deposition of ytterbium silicate coatings
By Bradley T. Richards, Hengbei Zhao & Haydn N. G. Wadley 

See all 2015 finalists here.

2014 Cahn Prize

Mechanical characterization of hollow ceramic nanolattices
By Lucas R. Meza & Julia R. Greer 

See all 2014 finalists here.

2013 Cahn Prize

Dislocation controlled wear in single crystal silicon carbide
By Maneesh Mishra & Izabela Szlufarska 

See all 2013 finalists here.

2012 Cahn Prize

Room temperature fracture processes of a near-α titanium alloy following elevated temperature exposure
By A. L. Pilchak, W. J. Porter & R. John 

See all 2012 finalists here.

The 2011 Sapphire Prize

The 2011 Sapphire Prize commemorated the Journal's 45th Anniversary, and was later adapted into the annual Cahn Prize. 

Giant carbon solubility in Au nanoparticles
By Eli A. Sutter & Peter W. Sutter 

You can see the 2011 Sapphire Prize Finalists here.