Materials Science & Engineering
Jacob Jones Group – NCSU
Alex Hsain is a Ph.D. student, NSF GRFP Fellow, and 2017 Truman Scholar studying Materials Science & Engineering. Hsain’s research aims to enable the next generation of low-powered electronics by studying promising lead-free, HfO2-based ferroelectric materials. Ferroelectrics are an inversion symmetry-breaking class of materials that possess a spontaneous polarization that can be switched by an external electric field. This property allows ferroelectrics to store memory without an external power source and can be used in a wide suite of consumer electronics. Hsain fabricates ferroelectric films via Atomic Layer Deposition in a clean room environment and utilizes the Analytical Instruments Facility (AIF) at NC State to characterization their properties. She uses techniques such as X-Ray Diffraction, X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, and Piezoresponse Force Microscopy to probe the atomic structure of HfO2 films. In concert with her scientific curiosities, Hsain is also passionate about STEM education and science policy. She is co-founder of NC State’s SciBridge, an organization that builds lesson plans and experiment kits on sustainable energy topics and ships them to partner universities in East Africa, and co-founder of SciPolPack, a science policy advocacy group in collaboration with the National Science Policy Network (NSPN).
Expected graduation date: Fall 2022
Personal website: www.alexhsain.org