Congratulations to Desheng Yao, a Ph.D. student from Prof. Xiaoyu (Rayne) Zheng’s group (Additive Manufacturing and Metamaterial Laboratory) in Civil Engineering & Environmental Department at UCLA, who won the 1st Place Prize in the Annual Material Advantage Graduate Student Poster Contest at Material Science and Technology (MS&T) Conference in Portland, Oregon on Oct 1, 2019. Yao presented his research poster entitled presentation “Achieving the Upper Bound of Piezoelectric Response in Tunable, Wearable 3D Printed Nanocomposites”

This award, presented annually by the MS&T technical meeting and exhibition, is to recognize superior research performed during graduate study. MS&T technical meeting and exhibition is the international long-standing, recognized forum for fostering technical innovation at the intersection of materials science, engineering, and application.  Yao’s poster won the top place among 300 international competitors. Co-authors of the poster include other members in Zheng’s group, Huachen Cui, Ryan Hensleigh, and Xiaoyu (Rayne) Zheng.

The research Yao presented demonstrated the formulation and design principle for a class of a 3D printable, wearable piezoelectric nanocomposite that breaks the conventional sensitivity/compliance tradeoff in functional materials. Yao’s design allows targeting desired structural flexibility while retaining high sensitivity and detection ranges via selections of constituent colloidal nanoparticulate parameters. Based on these findings, the research team presented highly sensitive wearables that detect low pressure air (<50 Pa) coming from different directions, as well as wireless, self-sensing sporting gloves for simultaneous impact absorption and punching force mapping. Desheng’s work has also been featured on the Front Cover of Oct 17, 2019 issue of the journal, Advanced Functional Materials.