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International IGERT Internships from the University of Delaware


In the last year of the University of Delaware IGERT, Solar Hydrogen, we have concentrated on giving the students chances for international internships. Internships give the students great advantage in seeing new science, and building international networks. Nevertheless, these internships are often seen as interfering with the students PhD research. This year we are having four students interning domestically and abroad. Short descriptions of these experiences follow.

Erik Koepf— During my three month internship at eSolar as a Systems Engineer I was able to gain invaluable experience in the field of concentrated solar thermal power. As an industry leader in power-tower solar-steam electricity systems the experience I gained working with eSolar has already bolstered my academic career. I was able to learn the practical approach to working in industry that is sometimes lost in academia, and at the same time my engineering colleagues appreciated my extensive academic experience in solar receiver/reactor design and modeling. My career has been enriched greatly with this internship and I am grateful to NSF and the IGERT program for providing me with this opportunity.

Roy Murray— As a fourth year Physics PhD student, the opportunity to perform a 3-month internship at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Freiburg, Germany was an amazing benefit for my studies. My research focuses on organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices. Due to the specialized nature of the work, there are very few other students or faculty at the University of Delaware to discuss my research with. Joining the 25 member OPV research group at the ISE allowed me to work with many other students and researchers and learn from them. I was able to both learn more techniques about my own research and branch out and learn new techniques to apply in my lab at UD. I presented my results from the internship at the APS March Meeting and am currently writing up a paper from the internship.

Jonathan Church— In a collaborative effort with Air Liquide Laboratories Inc. located in Tsukuba, Japan I will be doing research in the development and application of gases used in the electronics industry. The internship period began in March 2013. It was clear before this project that I would be working with the international science community on large scale problems facing the world’s technology sector. The scope of this internship is to understand, develop, and engineer the factors in developing the next generation technology. Today there is a struggle to find materials that not only have superior characteristics but are compatible, affordable and inert to the environment and people. The research and development center at Air Liquide Laboratories is capable of synthesizing, depositing, and characterizing novel materials for the emerging electronic devices. I will be acquiring valuable knowledge about the chemistry, growth, and analysis of next generation technologies. More specifically I will be working with a deposition team to perform atomic layer deposition, chemical vapor deposition, and plasma enhanced atomic layer deposition. A key quality to be met is the quality of the film on common substrates like Silicon, Silicon Dioxide, and various metals. Ultimately more advanced and efficient electrical devices will reduce energy consumption. Improving areas like memory storage will possibly extend the lifetime of a device’s usability, thereby reducing waste in our landfills and resource requirements. Having capable and knowledgeable developers of these technologies can and will pave the path forward, this internship is my opportunity to become one such developer.

Chelsea Haughn—will intern at The University of Dublin, Trinity College Dublin in Dublin Ireland for 5 weeks (April 28 – June 1). Colloidal quantum dots have applications in a broad range of technologies including low cost thin film photovoltaic devices. Our group has collaborated with Dr. Cloutier on quantum dot cascade structures that demonstrate exciton funneling and an energy transfer process that could be useful in designing novel PV structures. We hope to broaden our collaboration and work with Dr. Louise Bradley at Trinity College Dublin, whose work on energy transfer in colloidal quantum dots dovetails with our work in this area. My previous work with Dr. Cloutier involved creating cascade structures of PbS colloidal quantum dot and using NIR time-resolved photoluminescence to probe the exciton transport. We found evidence of exciton funneling and trap state recycling in the PL enhancement and the PL lifetime. We hope to collaborate with Dr. Bradley on doing similar experiments with CdSe/CdS quantum dot cascade structures in the visible PL range. Additionally, I hope to use transient absorption spectroscopy with Dr. Bradley’s help to probe the absorption and relaxation rates in the QD cascade structures. TA would allow us to observe depopulation of trap states in the cascade structures and to quantitatively examine the mechanisms of energy transport. During my time in Ireland I hope to deposit CdSe QD cascade structures and characterize the energy transport and trap state depopulation using TRPL and transient absorption spectroscopy. I hope to come back to UD with enough preliminary data for a manuscript and a deeper understanding of trapping and energy dynamics in colloidal QD thin films.

Address Goals

This year four IGERT students have or will take international internships to broaden their research experience, as well to build international networks. In every experience, the students will gain experience not available to them in their home institution, but also bring their skill sets learned in graduate school to bear in problems at their interning institutions. These internships are clear examples of advancing the frontiers of knowledge in a broad, world-class manner.