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AIO 2018: Focus on Dr. Cheng Zhang, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), USA

Cushla McGoverin

What do you think people will learn from your talk as a take-home lesson?
I hope I could help the audience to learn the important role of new photonic materials, and how they could enable novel optoelectronic device applications.
What do you spend most of your time doing?
I spend most of my time in the lab, doing numerical simulation, working on device fabrication / characterization, and writing papers. When I am back to home after work, I like to watch TV shows and movies. I also enjoy a lot go out dining or playing board games with friends.
When are you most fully yourself?
I feel most fully myself when I am by myself. It can be either I am working alone in the lab or lying in bed and watching my favorite TV shows after a long-day of work at late night.
Where would you like to see your research in 5 years?
I will continue my exploration of new optical materials and their applications in nanophotonic systems. These new materials can be either natural materials which people have rarely looked into so far, or artificially engineered materials (e.g., metamaterials). I also hope that some of my past research outcomes could be translated into commercial products.
Which companies should be interested in your research and why?
My research of ultra-thin and high-quality doped Ag could be of interest to companies working on displays, solar cells, light emitting diodes, and smart windows. A common key component of the above products is the transparent electrode. The ultra-thin, smooth and low-loss doped Ag films provide both a high optical transmittance and low electrical resistance, making them a viable candidate for transparent electrode. In addition, compared to the currently widely used transparent electrodes such as Indium Tin Oxide (ITO), doped Ag films have a lower cost, faster/ simpler preparation procedure (at least potentially), and more importantly, good mechanical flexibility (which ITO doesn’t have).
Is there a single word or phrase that would describe you?
Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.
What motivates you to do what you do and where does your passion come from?
I am fascinated by the power of light in enabling various aspects of the human society, from our daily appliances to scientific instruments and industrial tools. To make better use of light, it is critical to understand how it interacts with matter and how to control its various properties (e.g., intensity, direction, polarization, spectrum, etc.) There are many different ‘answers’ to this big ‘question’, and my personal ‘viewing angle’ is to study optical properties of novel materials and investigate metamaterials which control light in unconventional ways which do not exist in nature.
What do you think makes AIO meeting a remarkable meeting? Why do you think AIO is a useful meeting to attend?
I feel AIO meeting will be a wonderful place to for researchers to get their research ‘out of the lab’ and build collaborations with people.
What is the question that you wish the attendees asked you after your talks and they never ask?
Well, one thing I can think of is that no one has asked me how I came up with the idea of doping silver to improve its quality. 
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