Ziwei Leng, 2014, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

As an intern in Professor Lynn Loo’s laboratory, I developed a method for making ­organic semiconducting nanowires for applications in organic electronics such as the organic ­solar cell, which is a cheaper but currently less efficient device compared with ­silicon-based solar cells. I also conducted characterization studies of the nanowires using the scanning electron microscope (SEM) for topographical studies, transmission electron microscope (TEM) and electron diffraction for crystallinity and structural studies, ­differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) for crystallinity and phase change studies, and conductivity tests. Controlling the sizes of materials, as well as changing their molecular packing, can improve the ability of charge transport, which can in turn help increase ­efficiencies in organic electronics. I worked under the guidance of Jeff Mativetsky, a postdoctoral associate, and Professor Loo herself. They gave me the responsibility to ­create and refine a viable process of making and retrieving organic nanowires. They have also been very helpful in answering my questions and helping me solve the many problems that I encountered. Working with the group over the summer has been a great experience as well as an encouragement for me to keep pursuing a career in research.