Kerry Rippy, a chemistry graduate student with the Department of Chemistry was selected to receive a 2018 Endeavour Research Fellowship. This award is a prestigious program offered by the Australian Government to support high-achieving individuals to undertake study, research, and professional development and gain international experience. For the duration of her fellowship, Rippy will be working in Sydney at Macquarie University in the laboratory of Nikos Kopidakis, Ph.D. for four months, and will return in December. While in Australia, Rippy’s research will involve testing acceptor materials in organic solar cell devices.
For the duration of her fellowship, Rippy is working on using microwave and laser light to measure how many charges are generated when materials for solar cells are illuminated. This is a quick and easy way to screen potential new materials for solar cells without having to make whole solar panels and test them. Since hundreds of new materials could potentially be useful for solar cells, and it takes a lot of time to fabricate and optimize a real solar cell, this is a very useful technique.
In her time abroad, Rippy stated that “This experience gave me further insight into the international renewable energy community. Here, I am working with lasers, whereas at CSU I mainly worked with synthetic chemistry. It was good to branch out and experience a new aspect of research. I will be graduating in the spring, and I intend to pursue a postdoc. This experience has really inspired me to branch out beyond synthesis of organic semiconductors, my former comfort zone.”
When asked about the future of her research and interests, Rippy referenced a recent UN report. She expressed that “If we don’t have a radical shift away from coal, etc., and focus on sustainable technologies, the planet is in danger. This article really drove home the reasons I care about my research. One major finding of the report was that if we don’t move away from fossil fuels, especially coal, temperatures will rise, and the reefs will die. Therefore, we need to develop and adopt renewable energy technologies like the ones I’m working on. It’s an amazing opportunity to be here and actually see the reef, one of the things I’m trying to help save through my research.”
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