MRS: A good start

A nice, sunny afternoon in San Francisco, and my jet-lag seems to be under control. As it is my first time at the MRS, not to mention my first meeting as a Nature editor, not to mention my first attempt at blogging, I will try to keep this short and sweet. the meeting is of a manageable size (i.e. it doesn’t take half an hour to walk from one talk to the next), a big plus on my side.

There is plenty of interesting stuff to see. In particular a session on 3D architectures for energy storage: Debra Rolison talked about building batteries out of porous MnO2 networks, on which an electrolyte layer is then grown, and RuO2 anodes are deposited, which seems an intriguing idea.

Joanna Aizenberg showed nanorods which become humidity responsive when immersed in a polymer hydrogel, creating surfaces that can be hydrophilic in dry conditions, and superhydrophobic in wet conditions (when it rains?).

Another nice talk by Mike Crommie (of quantum corrals fame) was on STM studies of gated graphene, where he showed that shifting the gate voltage it is possible to image the presence of charge puddles on the sheet, and they are due likely to impurities trapped in the silica substrate.