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User Meeting Blog

Welcome to the Molecular Foundry’s User Meeting blog! This blog is updated during the Foundry’s Annual User Meeting conference by volunteer writers.

The Foundry’s Annual User Meeting conference focuses on frontier research topics of interest to that community of users, providing a forum to disseminate results and exchange ideas, and bringing together leading researchers, junior scientists, postdocs, and students. Follow along the meeting with us as our guest-bloggers share snapshots of their meeting experience.

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Quantum Materials for Classical Computing

August 21st, 2020 by

By Shannon Ciston On August 21, 2020, the second day of the Molecular Foundry Annual User Meeting, I attended the symposium: Quantum Materials for Classical Computing, hosted by Foundry scientists Sinéad Griffin and Archana Raja. The virtual context made for a highly international slate of speakers, with speakers joining us from France, and Ireland, as well […]

Organic and Hybrid Organic-Inorganic Semiconductors: Advances and Applications

August 21st, 2020 by

By Yi-Hsien Lu Hybrid and organic solar cells are rapidly emerging photovoltaic technologies with encouraging cell efficiency and flexible manufacturing processes. However, instabilities against the exposure of humidity, oxidation, temperature variation, and light illumination are the main challenges for commercialization. In this symposium, seven speakers all presented incredible research activities to tackle these challenges.A number […]


August 21st, 2020 by

The UEC recognized Colin Ophus with the Outstanding Staff Service award for his exceptional support for users as well as his professionalism and collaborative spirit. Users described his support as simply phenomenal, that his contributions elevated their work, and that he is an excellent mentor always ready to help. Poster competition – Four winners were […]

New Foundry Capabilities

August 21st, 2020 by

Day 2 of the Annual User Meeting started off with an overview of new capabilities that are coming soon or are already underway. Stefano Cabrini presented for the nanofabrication facility. The current E-beam lithography system is a VB300 Vistec/Leica that is the only one of its type left in operation in the world! It still […]

Virtual Poster Session

August 20th, 2020 by

By Clarissa Bhargava At 11:35 AM on Day 1, the Foundry launched on its first-ever Virtual Poster Fair! From 80 submissions came 67 posters touching all seven Foundry facilities, plus industry users and prospective new users from around the world. Spanning 43 individual Zoom meetings, attendees had spirited discussions on nanowire growth (Edy Cardona), perovskites […]

Assembly-associated trans-to-cis amide bond isomerization with peptoid B28 nanosheets

August 20th, 2020 by

By Annelise Barron On Day 1 of the 2020 Annual User Meeting of the Molecular Foundry, a very exciting User Highlight talk was given by Professor Anant Paravastu from Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Anant gave a lecture entitled, “Assembly-associated trans-to-cis amide bond isomerization with peptoid B28 nanosheets”. The talk highlighted his […]

Designing polymers for the future of electronics

August 20th, 2020 by

By Brooke Kuei Although modern technology such as smart watches have already enabled us to stay constantly connected, the future of electronics may include devices that can integrate directly with skin or internal organs. Conjugated polymers are promising for these devices because they are electronic materials that are flexible and stretchable. In one of this […]

Atomic Electron Tomography: Capturing the Structure and Dynamics of Materials at 4D Atomic Resolution

August 20th, 2020 by

By Chenhui Zhu John Miao, a professor at UCLA, gave a user highlights talk on atomic electron tomography (AET), a recently developed technique that provides 3-D atomic structure of crystalline defects and noncrystalline systems.  His group has been working on developing cutting edge imaging techniques, including coherent x-ray imaging, and atomic electron tomography, and applying […]

Keynote #2: In Search of the Perfect Plastic

August 20th, 2020 by

By Sarbajit Banerjee On Day 1 of the Molecular Foundry User Meeting, Prof. Geoffrey W. Coates from Cornell University delivered an inspiring keynote lecture outlining the need for a new paradigm of sustainable polymer chemistry where plastics are designed keeping in mind their environmental impact and end-of-life disposal. Plastics are ubiquitous and this ubiquity is […]

Confronting the unmet need of safe drinking water using a low-cost defluorination method

August 20th, 2020 by

By Cheryl Tajon Dr. Katya Cherukumilli is the CEO and Founder of the non-profit agency, Global Water Labs, and is a Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Washington.  She delivered a scientifically compelling and aspirational presentation on developing low-cost technologies to provide safe drinking water across the globe.  The audience was challenged with the connotation the […]

Strain-driven phase transitions in 2D van der Waals based devices

August 20th, 2020 by

By Shannon Ciston Over 100 participants were in attendance to hear the latest research developments from Stephen Wu, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and of Physics, at the University of Rochester. Professor Wu described a compelling case for the power of quantum scale materials science to drive the development of new electronic devices. Today’s talk, Strain-driven […]

Keynote #1: Applications of emerging technology to challenges in chemistry

August 20th, 2020 by

By Arkadeep Kumar At the Molecular Foundry’s Annual User Meeting 2020, the Keynote speaker was Dr. Jeannette (Jamie) Garcia from IBM Almaden Research center. She introduced the diversity of research topics done at IBM Research, with researchers collaborating across the globe and time zones. She presented her research on two topics aimed at solving the […]

Welcome to the 2020 Virtual Annual User Meeting

August 20th, 2020 by

The morning kicked off with a welcome message from the UEC meeting subcommittee Chair, Annelise Barron of Stanford University. She introduced the Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Sciences and former Foundry Director, Jeff Neaton who introduced the new Director of the Molecular Foundry, Kristin Persson. Kristin discussed her passion for team science and how the […]

The AUM is ready to go virtual!

August 19th, 2020 by

It’s that time of year again for our Annual User Meeting, though this time under unprecedented circumstances. Nonetheless we are excited to virtually welcome all of our attendees tomorrow! If there is a silver lining to the limitations the pandemic has posed on everyday life, it is that going virtual with our annual meeting means […]

Thanks for attending!

August 22nd, 2019 by

The 2019 Annual User Meeting came to a successful conclusion today, August 22, with over 300 attendees. Our congratulations go to the User Executive Committee, and in particular Francesca Toma, Greg Su, and Keiko Munechika for putting together an excellent meeting! Many thanks also to the Foundry’s User Office staff: Alison Hatt, Stephanie Didas, Dmitry Soustin, […]

Cutting-Edge Research at the Bio/Nano Interface

August 22nd, 2019 by

By Annelise Barron The symposium “Cutting-Edge Research at the Bio/Nano Interface” was well-attended throughout the afternoon, and included a series of 8 Californian academic superstars: Eric Appel from Stanford, Rachel Rosenzweig from UC Irvine, Ali Khademhosseini from UCLA, Sanjay Kumar from UC Berkeley, Maxim Prigozhin at Stanford, and Joel Finbloom from UCSF, all highlighting incredible […]

New directions in phase contrast microscopy

August 22nd, 2019 by

By Brooke Kuei Phase contrast electron microscopy, a form of microscopy that takes advantage of interference between scattered and unscattered waves, has recently seen significant advances due to new instrumentation and computation algorithms. Today’s afternoon symposium titled New Directions in Phase Contrast Microscopy featured the many different and creative ways in which microscopists have been […]

Winners of the Poster Competitions

August 22nd, 2019 by

Out of the 300+ attendees at the user meeting, we had over 80 poster presentations! Several of these presenters entered our annual poster competition. With two categories, students and postdocs, judges from the User Executive Committee scored each entry. For students, participants in the competition also had to present their work as a single slide […]

Outstanding Staff Service Award

August 22nd, 2019 by

The Molecular Foundry User Executive Committee (UEC) solicited nominations for the Outstanding Staff Service Award to recognize staff that have provided outstanding service by going above and beyond to support ​the user community. There were 18 nominations, demonstrating the quality and dedication of Foundry staff. We wish that all those nominated could have been awarded, […]

Double perovskite nanocrystals and watching the structure formation of solution-cast perovskite films

August 22nd, 2019 by

By Greg Su Double perovskites are promising forms that may help address issues of lead toxicity in standard perovskite structures. Jakob Dahl from UC Berkeley reported on the synthesis of lead-free double perovskite nanocrystals of the form Cs2AgMX6. These nanocrystals can be made down to 10 nanometers in size. At these size scales, quantum confinement […]