Doctoral student wins Materials Research Society Silver Award

Kun Wang, a doctoral student in department of physics and astronomy in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia, received a Materials Research Society (MRS) graduate student award for research he presented at the recent 2016 MRS Fall Meeting in Boston.

Wang, who has been conducting nanoelectronics research in the College of Engineering, is the first UGA student to receive the prestigious MRS research award. In all, 19 students received the silver award, which recognizes students whose academic achievements and materials research display a high level of excellence and distinction. Seven students received gold awards in the competition.

“It’s a great honor, especially to be the first student from UGA to receive the award,” said Wang. “I was surprised to be selected as a finalist because I was competing with some very talented student researchers.”

Wang won the award for his work on designing molecular-scale electronics, research that could pave the way toward smaller and more powerful electronic devices. Working with his faculty adviser, Binqian Xu, a professor in the College of Engineering, and a team of other researchers, Wang helped investigate the use of single DNA-based molecules as a replacement for conventional electronic diodes. The team’s research was published in the journal Nature Chemistry.

“This was the first time DNA had been used as a functional electronics device,” said Wang. “It’s an important project because it has implications in many other areas of nanoelectronics research.”

Prior to beginning his graduate studies at the University of Georgia, Wang received his bachelor’s degree in physics and microelectronics at Shandong University in China. Wang defended his dissertation this semester and plans to continue investigating molecular-scale electronics as a post-doctoral fellow.

Additional information about Wang’s research is available at his website,

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