CEMS graduate student Yi "Johnny" Zhang wins prestigious Ovshinsky Student Travel Award

Yi "Johnny" Zhang, a fifth-year materials science Ph.D. student in Professor Chris Leighton's research group, recently won an Ovshinsky Student Travel Award to participate in the 2023 American Physical Society March Meeting, sponsored by the Division of Materials Physics. Zhang presented his work on the chemical vapor transport (CVT) crystal growth and thermal properties of the delafossite material PdCoO2. The most conductive oxide known, PdCoO2 is attracting attention due to its extraordinary electron mobility. With the CVT method, applied here for the first time, Zhang grew significantly larger single crystals of PdCoO2 than prior methods, enabling further research of properties previously limited by size. The work also addressed the thermal properties of PdCoO2. Using a combined first-principles and experimental approach, Zhang and Leighton, working with Associate Professor Turan Birol's research group, studied the electronic and phononic properties of PdCoO2, achieving quantitative agreement between theory and experiment on structure, thermal expansion, and specific heat.