Prof. Yin Liu Wins NSF CAREER Award for Research in Materials Science

Professor Yin Liu (Photo credit: Rebecca Ross)

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina State University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering is excited to announce Assistant Professor Yin Liu has been awarded the esteemed National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award. This recognition comes as a testament to his innovative research in electronic and photonic materials and has far-reaching implications for the rapidly evolving fields of optics and nanotechnology.

Arranging Metasurfaces

Compact optical devices with incredible capabilities can be created by arranging tiny structures, known as metasurfaces, made from special optical materials at the nanoscale. These metasurface devices find applications across a broad spectrum of photonics. While there have been exciting advancements, metasurfaces are typically static, and their optical behavior is predetermined by the materials used and their initial design. The challenge lies in developing techniques that allow metasurfaces to have an adjustable optical response, a crucial feature for various applications. The research team is taking on this challenge by introducing a novel approach using van der Waals materials to create compact photonic devices and metasurfaces that can be tuned with electrical bias. Through a combination of computational simulations and real-world experiments, the team aims to showcase the ability to dynamically switch and tune the optical properties of these van der Waals devices and metasurfaces in the visible spectral range. This project opens up new possibilities for programmable wavefront manipulation, optical modulation, and sensing for applications both in free space and on-chip. Beyond the research, the team is committed to education and outreach. Their integrated plan involves engaging students from grades 7-12 up to the graduate level. By participating in this project, students get exposure to rapidly evolving fields such as materials science, optics, and nanotechnology, contributing to their educational journey and fostering interest in cutting-edge technologies.

Engineering Beyond the Lab

Dr. Liu’s research focuses on low-dimensional materials for their novel optoelectronic properties and potential applications. His team is interested in using TEM imaging and spectroscopy in combination with optical spectroscopies to understand excitons, polaritons, and optically active quantum defects in 2D materials.

Liu Research Group L-R: Van Tu Vu, Yueyin Wang, Ben Sheldon, Dr. Yin Liu, Konnor Koons, Saud Alssaidy, and Zisu Meng

A Look Ahead in Research

The NSF CAREER Award recognizes early-career faculty members poised to serve as academic role models in research and education, and to spearhead advancements in the mission of their department or organization. This award underscores Dr. Liu’s significant contributions to his field and his promising trajectory in the pursuit of future breakthroughs.

Please join the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in congratulating Dr. Liu on this well-deserved recognition. We look forward to the invaluable contributions his research will continue to bring to North Carolina State University and the improvement of compact optical devices.