I explore the frontier of materials science and understand
I have been fascinated by the combination of materials and physics since I learned how graphene was discovered
by the seemingly simplest but revolutionary experiment. However, this is just the start of low-dimensional
materials, and I believe we have only begun to shed light onto the physical essence of the nano-world.
Impassioned, I majored in condensed-matter physics and profoundly explored the mysteries of materials.
Currently, I am fully prepared to pursue a Ph.D. in this intriguing field with the intention of addressing the most
formidable challenges at the frontier.
To gain comprehensive knowledge regarding the nano-world, I dedicatedly distinguished myself in academics at
University of Science and Technology of China (USTC). Due to my diligence, I obtained an excellent GPA,
ranking 3rd out of 330 in the School of Physics, as well as many scholarships, such as the Zhang Zongzhi SciTech
Scholarship (top 5%) and the National Scholarship-the highest scholarship for Chinese undergraduates
granted by China’s Ministry of Education. My excellent academic work provided me with a strong foundation for
my studies in materials physics and allowed me to master the tools and skills that make a successful materials
scientist. However, my passion for materials science was not limited to the classrooms. In the summer of my
sophomore year, I joined Professor Hongbin Yao’s group in the Chemistry and Materials Department. Under the
guidance of a Ph.D. researcher, I learned the necessary experimental skills required in chemistry. We aimed to
improve the quality and productivity of ZnS nano-scale materials by changing the reaction conditions. To
overcome the drawbacks of hydrothermal reactions, we developed an amine molecule-assisted refluxing method
to synthesize highly uniform ZnS(DETA)0.5 hybrid nanosheets and nanobelts on a large scale. As Co-Author, I
published a VIP paper on the Angew.Chem.Int.Ed and applied for a Chinese patent for our synthesis method.
This research allowed me to experience the magic of materials science, making me truly excited about creating
novel materials, especially those with promising industrial and commercial applications.
To explore the frontier of materials science and understand their practical applications, under the guidance of
Professor Yao, I researched the synthesis of the electrode materials. To synthesize excellent anodes with high
capacity, I collaborated with a PhD mentor and assembled an experimental platform to produce graphene oxide
wires. After obtaining carbon nanotubes through reduction reactions in the oven, I placed these nanotubes in the
molten lithium to take advantage of capillary effect and saturate the nanotubes with lithium. To synthesize cathode
material, I mixed sulfur nano-particles with graphene oxide and sealed this mixture in a glass tube for the later
calcine treatment. In this way, we assembled a linear lithium-sulfur battery that exhibited high pliability and may
have great potential in the wearable devices in the future. Presently, we are summarizing our work in a paper.
In addition to gaining experimental skills, I wished to become adept at theoretical calculation and simulation and
gain unique insight into materials science, so this summer, I joined Professor Hong Tang’s laboratory in the
Department of Electrical Engineering at Yale University as a visiting scholar. In these two months, I designed a superconducting electro-optical modulator, with electrode materials NbTiN and optical waveguide material AlN,
using COMSOL modern physics and Sonnet. To calculate the essential parameters of a transmission line, I
developed a code to calculate the capacitance and inductance of a transmission line’s arbitrary geometric
configuration. Furthermore, to improve modulation, I designed a Klopfenstein taper in Sonnet, a software that
can simulate the superconducting transmission line. To make the phase velocities of optical waves and
microwaves match each other, I designed a splitter-shape circuit, that allowed the optical wave to meander along
the transmission line. At the final presentation, Professor Hong evaluated my work as excellent and impressive.
This precious experience equipped me with useful, expert simulation skills, which will assist me along my journey
as a materials physicist.
Along with excelling academically and conducting research, I enjoy both working in a team and competing with
others. In USTC’s 2016 Physics Research Experiment Contest, I collaborated with three other classmates and
won the special prize with the report, “Synthesis of Novel 2-Dimensional Materials”. Under Professor Xiaoliang
Xu’s guidance, we learned how to deposited monolayer MoS2 on monolayer graphene using Chemical Vapor
Deposit. During this process, we made numerous attempts to determine the most suitable reaction conditions.
Moreover, we utilized the Raman and PL spectrum to analyze our synthesized material, which exhibited excellent
electron transport properties. This experience taught me how to collaborate with others and gave me great
confidence in materials synthesis.
In retrospect, my previous education and research experiences spanning from MSE to EE equipped me with
excellent research capabilities, comprehensive knowledge and practical simulation skills, all of which will lead
me to excel in my future research. My summer project at Yale, which focused on superconducting electro-optical
modulator design, strengthened my passion for in nanophotonics. Is there any possibility to improving both the
impedance and phase velocity of a transmission line? How can we design the configuration of waveguide to
possess a wider bandwidth but lower optical loss? Is it feasible to synthesize novel optical waveguide materials
(other than AlN) to optimize optical communication? There are just too many ideas and formidable challenges
worth dedicating my career to. Therefore, I wish to continue my research in Prof. Hong’s lab, where I will sharpen
my research capabilities, fully develop my interests and fulfill my potential in this field. Furthermore, I strongly
desire to explore the profound physics in novel low-dimensional materials (like graphene) and cutting-edge
technology of materials synthesis. Thus, I am extremely impressed by Prof. Judy Cha’s research on 2-D layered
chalcogenides and their unique electronic properties, and I am especially inspired by their success in visualizing
the nucleation and crystallization of nanorods.
The home of numerous revolutionary breakthroughs, Yale University has always been my dream graduate school.
There remain many exciting branches of nano-engineering that I wish to further explore. Therefore, I want to
pursue a Ph.D. degree at Yale University, and I sincerely look forward to your favorable review of my application.