Information on the Youth Scientist Program has been updated for 2023.


Since 2011, the National Graphene Research and Development Center (NGRD) has established the Youth Scientist Program (YSP) for high school students. Participants in this program collaborate their intelligent minds with high-performance computers to pursue scientific research achievements and enjoy productive and fulfilling research experiences. Students enjoy an increase in their scientific interest, intellectual challenges, and the satisfaction of having their personal potential fully realized. The training they receive will benefit them for life. Most graduates are admitted to top universities in the United States, such as Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Yale University, Princeton University, California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, University of Chicago, Duke University, University of California, Berkeley, and others.

Over the past decade, YSP students have received numerous high school science research awards, including the Science Talent Search (STS), the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS), the S.-Y. Yau High School Science Award (YHSSA), and the Siemens Competition. In addition, many students have been accepted into highly competitive summer programs such as the Research Science Institute (RSI), Garcia, Simons, and others.

Research Advisors

Dr. Qian and Dr. Luo, the founders of YSP, have been engaged in scientific research for more than 20 years in world-class research institutions such as the Institute of Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the Carnegie Institute for Science. They have published several first-author articles in the highest journal of the American Physical Society, Physical Review Letters, some of which have been selected by the British scientific journal Nature as one of the four research highlights of the week. In addition, Dr. Luo has more experience in high school science research and has been a senior research lab director at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, the top-ranked high school in the United States, specializing in guiding high school seniors to complete a research project between 2015 and 2019.

Previous Achievements

Research Competitions

  • Y.-S. Yau High School Science Award (YHSSA): 1 North America Silver Medal 2023
  • Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS): 2 Finalists 2023
  • Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS): 8 Scholars (2019-2023)
  • Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF): 5 Finalists 2018-2023
  • Siemens Competitions: 2 National Awards; 17 Silver Medals (Regional); 63 Bronze Medals (SemiFinalists) 2011-2017

Peer Reviewed Publications (2019-2022)

  • Xu, C. and Luo, X., 2022. First-Principles Investigation of Graphenylene as a Long-Life Cathode Material in Aluminum Ion Batteries. ACS Applied Energy Materials, 5(4), p.4970.
  • 2. Zhu, A. and Luo, X., 2022. Detection of covid-19 through a heptanal biomarker using transition metal doped graphene. The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 126(1), p.151.
  • Song, O. and Luo, X., 2022. Zinc-doped hydroxyapatite and graphene oxide composites for bone and teeth implants: a theoretical understanding. Materials Advances, 3(22), p.8323.
  • Wang, K. and Luo, X., 2022. Transition-Metal-Doped SiP2 Monolayer for Effective CO2 Capture: A Density Functional Theory Study. ACS omega, 7(41), p.36848.
  • Zhang, A. and Luo, X., 2022. Tuning the optical properties of monolayer WS 2 for near-infrared-II photothermal therapy: a first-principles study. Materials Advances, 3(14), p.5845.
  • Sun, C. and Luo, X., 2022. Tuning the magnetic and electronic properties of monolayer VI3 by 3d transition metal doping: A first-principles study. Applied Surface Science, 571, p.151208.
  • Xia, S. and Luo, X., 2021. Analysis of 2D nanomaterial BC 3 for COVID-19 biomarker ethyl butyrate sensor. Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 9(44), p.9221.
  • Wang, A. and Luo, X., 2021. Topologically nontrivial type-I and type-II nodal-line states inmagnetic configurations of square-net pnictide CeCuBi2. Computational Materials Science, 194, p.110434.
  • Pu, A. and Luo, X., 2021. Li-doped beryllonitrene for enhanced carbon dioxide capture. RSC advances, 11(60), p.37842.
  • Liu, C. and Luo, X., 2021. Potential molecular and graphene oxide chelators to dissolve amyloid-β plaques in Alzheimers disease: a density functional theory study. Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 9(11), p.2736.
  • Wen, H. and Luo, X., 2021. Tuning bandgaps of mixed halide and oxide perovskites CsSnX3 (X= Cl, I), and SrBO3 (B= Rh, Ti). Applied Sciences, 11(15), p.6862.
  • Fu, J. and Luo, X., 2020. A first-principles investigation of α, β, and γ-MnO 2 as potential cathode materials in Al-ion batteries. RSC advances, 10(65), p.39895.
  • Yuan, K. and Luo, X., 2020. A density functional theory study of the structural and electronic properties of pure and H2 doped polyethylene under high pressure and high temperature conditions of earth layers. AIP Advances, 10(6), p.065326.
  • Wang, B. and Luo, X., 2020. A first-principles study on potential chelation agents and indicators of Alzheimer's disease. RSC advances, 10(58), p.35574.
  • Jia, K. and Luo, X., 2020. Adsorption behavior of CO2 molecule on AlN and silicene—application to gas capture devices. PeerJ Materials Science, 2, p.e3.
  • Zhang, C. and Luo, X., 2020. DFT screening of metallic single-replacements for lead-free perovskites with intrinsic photovoltaic functionalities. RSC advances, 10(40), p.23743.
  • Cai, Y. and Luo, X., 2020. First-principles investigation of carbon dioxide adsorption on MN4 doped graphene. AIP Advances, 10(12), p.125013.
  • Lolla, S. and Luo, X., 2020. Tuning the catalytic properties of monolayer MoS2 through doping and sulfur vacancies. Applied Surface Science, 507, p.144892.
  • Yang, E. and Luo, X., 2020. Theoretical pressure-tuning bandgaps of double perovskites A2 (BB’)X6 for photo-voltaics. Solar Energy, 207, p.165.
  • Tseng, J. and Luo, X., 2020. First-principles investigation of low-dimension MSe2 (M= Ti, Hf, Zr) configurations as promising thermoelectric materials. Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids, 139, p.109322.
  • Shi, L. and Luo, X., 2019. A first-principles investigation of spintronics of nitrophosphorene doped with 3d transition metals. Journal of Applied Physics, 125(23), p.233902.
  • Zhan, R. and Luo, X., 2019. Topologically nontrivial phases in superconducting transition metal carbides. Journal of Applied Physics, 125(5), p.053903.
  • Li, J. and Luo, X., 2020. Tunable bandgap of graphene/MS2 (M= W, Mo) heterobilayers for photovoltaic materials. Materials Research Express, 6(12), p.1250k7.
  • Pavuluru, N. and Luo, X., 2019. The investigation of 2D monolayers as potential chelation agents in Alzheimer’s disease. AIP Advances, 9(12), p.125104.
  • Mei, A. and Luo, X., 2019. The structural, electronic and optical properties of γ- glycine under pressure: a first principles study. RSC advances, 9(7), pp.3877.

Preprint Publications

  • Wu, C. and Luo, X., 2022. First Principles Investigation of Transition Metal Doped WSe2 Monolayer for Photocatalytic Water Splitting. arXiv preprint arXiv:2201.00396. `
  • Lolla, S. and Luo, X., 2019. A Systematic Study to Improve the Performance of SrCoO3 as anAnion-Intercalation-Type Electrode for Supercapacitors Through Interface, Oxygen Vacancies, and Doping. arXiv preprint arXiv:1908.10494.
  • Shi, C. and Luo, X., 2018. Characterization of lattice thermal transport in two-dimensional BAs, BP, and BSb: A first-principles study. arXiv preprint arXiv:1811.05597.

Meeting Oral Presentations and Abstracts

Youth Scientist Program

The youth scientist program consists of three consecutive sessions:
  1. Research Preparation Session:
    Students will learn science knowledge and scientific research skills, such as basic scientific reading and writing skills, basic physics and chemistry knowledge for research projects. More universal computation skills are also taught, such as using Linux, writing scripts, writing papers, collecting references and plotting view graphs, etc. With foundations laid throughout this session, students will be prepared to execute a real research project.
  2. Research Project Session:
    Students will execute a real, cutting-edge research project in one of the following categories: Physics, Chemistry, Neuroscience, Biophysics, Bioengineering, Environmental Science, Materials Science, Earth Science, and Geology. Students will conduct computational experiments utilizing computer resources. By the end of research project session, each student will complete a research paper and be able to deliver a presentation of their work in front of the entire class, including parents.
  3. Research Paper Session:
    After the research project session, the mentor will help revise and edit the research paper. With mentor's approval, the research paper may be submitted to research competitions and/or peer-reviewed journals. Mentors may also invite students to attend professional conferences, such as American Physical Society (APS), American Chemical Society (ACS), Materials Research Society (MRS)..

Registrations and Applications

The application process is three-step:
  1. Call (202)-384-5595 to discuss options and set up an interview
  2. Conduct the interview
  3. Submit application package
The deadline for applications is May 28th, 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What is the schedule for the Youth Scientist Program?
    Starting in the summer of 2023, YSP will add new research mentors and research projects. Project 1 – Summer Pre Research class for 7th and 8th grade students - YSP alumni who have already entered Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton, California Institute of Technology, and Cornell will explain their research process, published research articles, and advancements in related research fields. Project 2 - Summer research class for high school science research competitions – advised by Dr. Luo and Dr. Qian. Project 3 – Year round Individual Research for peer reviewed publications – supervised by Dr. Luo
  2. Where is the class located?
    • On-site class location is 2 miles off exit 54 on I-495 (near TJHSST).
    • Online zoom class
  3. Should I do an individual or team project?
    Students are welcome to choose either option. If you would like to be in a team, you can form teams with your classmates or friends on your own. Each team consists of 1 to 2 students. There is no cost difference between registering as an individual or as part of a team.
  4. Are there any equipment requirements/recommendations?
    You will need to prepare a laptop with high speed, high memory and multi-CPU for high performance computing.
  5. Can I publish my research paper?
    Depending on the quality of the work, at the mentor's discretion, students' research results may be published in peer-reviewed journals. Students may be the first author, depending on their contributions.
Intellectual Property: All research results belong to National Graphene Research and Development Center.

National Graphene Research and Development Center
Phone: (202)-384-5595