Junior, Materials Science and Engineering
Hometown: Snohomish, WA
Faculty Mentor: Tom Bitterwolf
“Low-cost and efficient semiconductors can benefit society in many ways. Semiconductors make up solar panels, computer chips and many other electronic devices. Solar only makes up 1 percent of energy use in the U.S. Hopefully, with lower cost energy options to consumers, they will switch to solar power that gives off less pollutants.
My research will include attending a Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society conference, using a transmission electron microscope, scanning electron microscope, and nuclear magnetic resonance instruments on campus, and sending samples to a fabrication clean room off campus.”
I have already learned how to take nuclear magnetic resonance samples and various air-free chemistry techniques through my research. I hope to gain skills with the transmission and scanning electron microscopes on campus.
My project overlaps with chemistry, since it’s a chemistry-based project that focuses on developing new molecules.
I will act like a project manager. I have a budget to manage and people to contact outside of the university. I also added an accounting minor to understand the flow of money.
I have multiple Alternative Service Break trips with the U of I Center for Volunteerism and Social Action. While I was in Ecuador, I saw the destruction of rich biodiverse forest in an effort to gather more oil, which sparked my interest in renewable energy.
This project helps bring to light the problems of expensive solar panels and the inability for the middle class to afford them.
Grand Challenge Focus Area
Make Solar Energy Economical
As a source of energy, nothing matches the sun. Only a small fraction of the sun’s power output strikes the Earth, but even that provides 10,000 times as much as all the commercial energy that humans use on the planet.