Zakaria Y. Al Balushi, MRS Graduate Student Gold Award at the 2016 MRS Fall Meeting

Zakaria Y. Al Balushi

Zakaria Y. Al Balushi, Alfred P. Sloan Scholar, was the recipient of the MRS Graduate Student Gold Award at the 2016 MRS fall meeting.

From quantum dots to thin films, group-III nitrides (AlN, GaN, and InN) are considered one of the most technologically important classes of materials since the discovery of silicon. They were key to the realization of efficient light emitters (visible and UV), robust high frequency power electronics and other disruptive technologies that now have become truly ubiquitous. In order to shape next generation technologies, innovative research must be undertaken to extend the properties of such materials beyond what is currently possible. This “extension” may be realized through extreme confinement of these materials in two-dimension, leading to massive changes in electronic bandstructure with as-yet unpredicted properties. To accomplish this, Zakaria has developed an alternative growth scheme to realize two-dimensional forms of conventional bulk semiconductors, such as wide-bandgap 2D nitrides, utilizing the mechanism of adatom intercalation from the vapor phase in an MOCVD growth environment into the interfacial region of graphene formed on SiC. This synthesis process, referred to as “Migration Enhanced Encapsulated Growth” (MEEG), establishes an entirely new platform to realize tunable optoelectronics that may frame next-generation technology. The authors have published this work in the Journal Nature Materials in August of 20161.

Short Bio: Zakaria received his B.Sc. with honors in 2011 and M.S. in 2012 both from the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Penn State and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Materials Science and Engineering in Prof. Joan M. Redwing and Prof. Joshua A. Robinson groups working on metalorganic chemical vapor deposition of group-III nitride semiconductors, and the synthesis of epitaxial graphene (and related 2D materials). He is currently an Alfred P. Sloan Scholar and a 3M Graduate Fellow.

1Two-dimensional gallium nitride realized via graphene encapsulation, Zakaria Y. Al Balushi et al, Nature Materials 15, 1166–1171 (2016) doi:10.1038/nmat4742.