UCLA Materials Scientist Named 2023 Moore Inventor Fellow

Ximin He

UCLA Samueli

Oct 4, 2023

UCLA Samueli Newsroom

Ximin He, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, has been named a 2023 Moore Inventor Fellow by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to support her research in developing flexible and energy-sustaining electronics technology.

Funded by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore and his wife Betty, the foundation set up the annual fellowship program to support inventors who create new tools and technologies with a high potential to accelerate progress in scientific discovery, environmental conservation and patient care. He is one of five new fellows selected from 200 nominees this year and will receive $825,000 over three years in research funding for the development of flexible, nonflammable and long-life batteries.

At UCLA, He leads a research group that creates energy-efficient, environmentally responsive materials and devices that can be utilized in a broad range of applications — from biological and chemical sensing and separation technologies to energy harvesting and conversion. 

Her most recent project, which the fellowship will support, focuses on developing improved polymer composite electrolytes that — when applied to energy storage — could lead to ultra-long-life batteries while eliminating the flammability found in mass-market batteries. The technology could also transform batteries’ structure from rigid to flexible, opening up new possibilities for soft robots and implantable devices.

Previously, He and her research team have developed a tendon-like tough hydrogel that combines the lightness and strength of wood with the toughness and malleability of muscles; sunflower-like biomimetic omnidirectional trackers, or “SunBOTs” for short, that continuously move to face a direction with optimal light absorption; and soft-bodied swimming robots whose movements are solely powered by a light source.

He has been recognized with several major early-career honors. The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) named He a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar in 2019, and the UCLA Society of Hellman Fellows awarded her a fellowship in 2018. She has also received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the agency’s highest honor for researchers at the outset of their careers.

The Moore Foundation launched the fellowship program in 2016 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law, which predicts that the number of transistors on a microchip doubles about every two years, and thereby leads to computers with increased speed and capability at lower costs.

Previous fellows include Mona Jarrahi, the Northrop Grumman Professor of Electrical Engineering at UCLA Samueli, who is an inaugural recipient of the Moore Fellowship for her research into terahertz-based imaging.

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