Abby Grosskopf, 2017, Chemical and Biological Engineering

My internship with the Loo Group exposed me to the world of materials science and organic electronics. This summer I worked with Triethylsilylethynyl anthradithiophene (TES ADT), a solution-processable organic semiconductor. Thin films of TES ADT spherulites, a type of crystal, have lots of exciting applications such as solar cells, and organic thin film transistors. My task was to develop and refine methods for growing TES ADT in narrow channels. By understanding more about the growth of TES ADT in channels, we hope to pattern electronics in more elaborate and efficient ways to create new devices and save energy. Recently collaborators in Mikko Haataja’s group in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) department developed a computational model of TES ADT growth and theorized that below a critical channel width, the crystallization process becomes arrested by physical forces. In order to verify these results experimentally, I used patterning techniques to fabricate constrained channels and observe the crystallization behavior of TES ADT. I learned new lab techniques, data analysis skills, and the fundamentals of day-to-day laboratory research. I have a new perspective on the vast amount of applications of chemical engineering in scientific research, and hope to use what I learned this summer in future independent work.