I work. I’ve been attracted by the physics world

I would like to apply for the Ph.D. program in Mechanical Engineering& Materials
Science at Yale University. I’m very interested in Professor Udo Schwarz’s research
work.
I’ve been attracted by the physics world since my high school time. I enjoyed taking
physics lessons and doing physical experiments. In order to continue to exploring this
amazing 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 the
recipient of Ny Tsi-Zé Talent Scholarship, which is jointly awarded by University of
Chinese Academy of Sciences and BIT. All in all, my efforts allowed me to master the
comprehensive physical knowledge and build a solid theoretical foundation for my
future research.
In order to broaden my horizons, I applied for the Summer School Program at
University of California, Berkeley (UCB). Through the two-month study, I quickly
adapt to the life abroad and I found that I love the academic environment at United
States. I get much more inspiration through the discussion and debate with professors
and classmates. My excellent grades (92/100) at UCB helped me gain a lot of
confidence to pursue an advanced education overseas. After returning to China, I am
motivated 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 interest
during my study at BIT. In my second year of college, I started to act as a Research
Assistant for Professor Junfeng Han at Quantum Functional Materials Design and
Application Laboratory. During this period, I participated in the research on the
Properties of Graphene and other 2D Materials. From this project, I grasped some
methods in preparing two-dimensional material samples, such as using mechanical
exfoliation to prepare graphene and molybdenum disulfide. I also learnt how to
exfoliate the easy-oxidized materials like Black Phosphorus in the Glove Box. In
addition, I trained myself to proficiently operate some instruments, such as Scanning
Electronic Microscope (SEM), Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Raman
Spectroscopy. From this experience, I started to get involved in real research and enjoy
the exciting moments when we make discoveries. In the following time, I had many
other attempts. For example, I did research on Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) at
Professor Bo Wang’s lab. In this project, I mainly analyzed the sensing properties of
MOFs and made special equipment for testing. It was fun to synthesize chemical
materials. 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 progress
is often driven by measurement technique evolution. Thus, I hope to participate in some
research which could develop new detection techniques, like advanced microscopy, to
help us see more fundamental details of materials and understand their structures and
mechanism better. Luckily, Professor Xinghua Lu happened to give a lecture on
Scanning 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’m
working at his lab in State Key laboratory of Surface Physics, Chinese Academy of
Sciences 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-tip
through different methods, processing samples and using R9 software to control
scanning. We have acquired satisfying surface images of copper 111 and HOPG under
the room temperature. However, the pan-type scanner failed to approach in liquidnitrogen’s
temperature (77k). After testing the equipment, I found that the
piezoceramics we use, which includes shear-piezo and z-piezo, were somehow
depolarized and lost their original performance. Thus I made, pasted and tested new
piezoceramic plates for the scanner. Besides, we improved the “fast process” of the
driving high-voltage. At present, we are trying to get a satisfying performance of spinSTM
under liquid-Helium temperature (4k). With these in-depth researches, I have a
better understanding of microscopies and materials. In the future, I want to apply these
techniques to study new materials or understand new physical mechanism in them. I
believe 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 Udo
Schwarz’s work on the development of scanning force microscopy. After a skype talk
with him, I learnt more details about his ongoing research on microscopy and exploring
the structure of metal-glass. Talking to Professor Schwarz greatly stimulated my
interest 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 that
there 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 starting
my doctoral study at Yale University. Thanks for your consideration.

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