Auburn engineer extends art competition hot streak with Yoda image

By Jeremy Henderson

Published: Jun 12, 2019 12:00:00 AM

“Mxene Yoda” was created from a SEM scan of oxidized 2-D V2CTx particles that show promise as electrode material for supercapacitors and batteries. “Mxene Yoda” was created from a SEM scan of oxidized 2-D V2CTx particles that show promise as electrode material for supercapacitors and batteries.

Won again, he has.

Yes, Armin VahidMohammadi, a doctoral student in materials engineering, has taken home yet another blue ribbon, his second in a row, from the prestigious Materials Research Society’s semi-annual Science as Art competition for a depiction of the “Star Wars” character Yoda rendered from a family of 2-D nanomaterials called MXenes.

Using a $500,000 JSM-7000F scanning electron microscope, the images VahidMohammadi mines from MXenes have in recent years dominated the growing competition circuit created by materials engineers who celebrate the artistic aspects of their research.

Last fall, he wowed attendees at the 2018 Fall MRS Meeting and Exhibit in Boston with the first place “MXene Turtle Under the Sea” he spotted in clouds of vanadium carbide.

Two years earlier, his “Nano Lord Voldemort” was deemed best in show.

At April’s Spring MRS Meeting and Exhibit in Phoenix, he was again a Force to be reckoned with.

His “Mxene Yoda,” created from a SEM scan of oxidized 2-D V2CTx particles that show promise as electrode material for supercapacitors and batteries, not only placed second, it put him in the record book.

He’s now the most highly decorated Ph.D. student in the 14-year history of the competition, which is open to the nearly 15,000 MRS members across the globe.

“The MXene Yoda image is particular in its own way, maybe similar to the Voldemort image, as it means a lot to the people in the United States,” VahidMohammadi said. “He is also one of my favorite characters in the ‘Star Wars’ series. I’m glad I was able to find him in the nanoscale world.”

So is Majid Beidaghi, an assistant professor in materials engineering and VahidMohammadi’s faculty advisor.

“Our findings are very important and hopefully will result in many different research directions in the future,” Beidaghi said after VahidMohammadi’s previous “Science as Art” win. “But with the art Armin’s doing, you get that same kind of exposure, and maybe even more, because it’s not limited to any one journal. All people working in materials science are exposed to the competitions at these [MRS] conferences. I think there are 10,000 attendees. So the exposure [for Auburn] is, I think, much higher.”

Media Contact: Jeremy Henderson, jeremyhenderson@auburn.edu, 334-844-3591

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