Cho wins MRS Gold Award


Julia Park

Chulhee (Chase) ChoThe Materials Research Society (MRS) has named MechSE doctoral student Chullhee (Chase) Cho a winner of the society’s 2021 Gold Award.

The MRS Graduate Student Awards are intended to honor and encourage graduate students whose academic achievements and current materials research display a high level of excellence and distinction. Cho was honored in April during the MRS 2021 Spring Meeting.

Cho’s research in Associate Professor SungWoo Nam’s lab focuses on strain and interfacial engineering of atomically thin 2D materials. In his most recent published work, in Nature Electronics, he helped provide a readily adoptable solution to thin-film metal-based flexible/wearable electronics by inserting an atom-thick layer within conventional metal electrodes. This improved the strength and stability of electronic devices by several orders of magnitude.

Cho also recently investigated the light-matter interaction (i.e., interlayer exciton energy modulation) in a van der Waals (MoS2/WSe2) heterostructure via strain engineering. “Highly strain-tunable interlayer excitons in MoS2/WSe2 heterobilayers” will be published in Nanoletters and is a collaborative work with faculty at Caltech.

MRS Spring Meeting screenshot
Screenshot from the MRS Spring 2021 GSA awards ceremony held via Zoom on April 22. Cho has the Illinois orange virtual background on the right panel.

Additionally, as a result of his previous NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship, Cho studied an energy harvester based on crumpled structures of two-dimensional materials to ensure mechanical flexibility, frequency tunability, and radiation-tolerant, lightweight features.

Cho will be joining the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center as a civil servant early next year after the completion of his PhD.  “My short-term career goals are to actively support science/engineering space missions, focusing on cryogenics, optical/mechanical sensors and actuators. As a continuous pathway in the not-so-distant future, I am looking forward to engaging with local schools to educate a diverse public as well as support internships/fellowships aimed at increasing minority representation in the sciences,” Cho said.

Cho earned his BS and MS degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering in 2011 and 2013 from Seoul National University, South Korea. He worked as a research engineer for Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH) until 2016, when he began his PhD program at MechSE.