Kristen Parratt, 2013, Chemical Engineering

This summer while working in Professor Lynn Loo’s laboratory in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, I tested fullerene derivatives for their usefulness in organic electronic applications. While organic solar cells are currently less efficient than silicon, their processing and physical characteristics make them an important area of material and energy research. My work involved incorporating the derivatives into solar cells, transistors, and single carrier diodes. Their properties could then be measured and compared. Over the course of the summer, I learned about gold/aluminum evaporation, lamination, and data analysis techniques among others. In my work, I found that the derivatives I worked with actually behaved very differently than predicted and most of my summer was spent investigating this discrepancy. In my final presentation I was able to explain why the reverse trend was observed and present some possibilities for how it could be fixed. The Loo group is an extremely supportive and welcoming lab, and I feel that I learned a great deal about the research process in addition to the topics I was investigating.