I would like to apply for the Ph.D. program in Mechanical Engineering& MaterialsScience at Yale University. I’m very interested in Professor Udo Schwarz’s researchwork.I’ve been attracted by the physics world since my high school time. I enjoyed takingphysics lessons and doing physical experiments. In order to continue to exploring thisamazing science, I chose Physics as my major at Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT).
Thanks to my hard work during my study at BIT, I got 90.8/100 as my overall GPA,which ranks me the top 3 in the Physical Elite Class. Besides, I was selected as therecipient of Ny Tsi-Zé Talent Scholarship, which is jointly awarded by University ofChinese Academy of Sciences and BIT.
All in all, my efforts allowed me to master thecomprehensive physical knowledge and build a solid theoretical foundation for myfuture research.In order to broaden my horizons, I applied for the Summer School Program atUniversity of California, Berkeley (UCB). Through the two-month study, I quicklyadapt to the life abroad and I found that I love the academic environment at UnitedStates. I get much more inspiration through the discussion and debate with professorsand classmates. My excellent grades (92/100) at UCB helped me gain a lot ofconfidence to pursue an advanced education overseas. After returning to China, I ammotivated to work harder, to prepare myself as a better qualified candidate for a Ph.
D.program.Apart from learning theoretical knowledge, I was always exploring my research interestduring my study at BIT. In my second year of college, I started to act as a ResearchAssistant for Professor Junfeng Han at Quantum Functional Materials Design andApplication Laboratory. During this period, I participated in the research on theProperties of Graphene and other 2D Materials. From this project, I grasped somemethods in preparing two-dimensional material samples, such as using mechanicalexfoliation to prepare graphene and molybdenum disulfide. I also learnt how toexfoliate the easy-oxidized materials like Black Phosphorus in the Glove Box.
Inaddition, I trained myself to proficiently operate some instruments, such as ScanningElectronic Microscope (SEM), Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and RamanSpectroscopy. From this experience, I started to get involved in real research and enjoythe exciting moments when we make discoveries. In the following time, I had manyother attempts.
For example, I did research on Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) atProfessor Bo Wang’s lab. In this project, I mainly analyzed the sensing properties ofMOFs and made special equipment for testing. It was fun to synthesize chemicalmaterials. I learnt a lot of chemical knowledge and got hold of some chemical methods. Through my former experience on materials research, I realize that scientific progressis often driven by measurement technique evolution. Thus, I hope to participate in someresearch which could develop new detection techniques, like advanced microscopy, tohelp us see more fundamental details of materials and understand their structures andmechanism better.
Luckily, Professor Xinghua Lu happened to give a lecture onScanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) at BIT, and I was deeply attracted by his talk.After that lecture, I contacted Prof. Lu, and applied to join his research group. Now I’mworking at his lab in State Key laboratory of Surface Physics, Chinese Academy ofSciences and we are building a homemade spin-STM. In the initial stage of my research,I learnt the whole procedure of using STM to scan samples, including preparing W-tipthrough different methods, processing samples and using R9 software to controlscanning.
We have acquired satisfying surface images of copper 111 and HOPG underthe room temperature. However, the pan-type scanner failed to approach in liquidnitrogen’stemperature (77k). After testing the equipment, I found that thepiezoceramics we use, which includes shear-piezo and z-piezo, were somehowdepolarized and lost their original performance. Thus I made, pasted and tested newpiezoceramic plates for the scanner.
Besides, we improved the “fast process” of thedriving high-voltage. At present, we are trying to get a satisfying performance of spinSTMunder liquid-Helium temperature (4k). With these in-depth researches, I have abetter understanding of microscopies and materials. In the future, I want to apply thesetechniques to study new materials or understand new physical mechanism in them. Ibelieve a Ph.D.
program at your university could help me gain more research experience,which will also help to achieve my career goal as a faculty in a university.During browsing the website of the Yale University, I was attracted by professor UdoSchwarz’s work on the development of scanning force microscopy. After a skype talkwith him, I learnt more details about his ongoing research on microscopy and exploringthe structure of metal-glass. Talking to Professor Schwarz greatly stimulated myinterest to join his team. With my research experience in fabricating materials and STM,I believe I can contribute to the research in his laboratory well. I know for sure thatthere will be many challenges and difficulties but I’m ready to face and overcome them.
As a student with great curiosity and the spirit of adventure, I look forward to startingmy doctoral study at Yale University. Thanks for your consideration.