Project Report

The objective of this project was to further develop a numerical model previously implemented by the principal investigator to allow prediction of electrooptical properties of semiconductor nanostructures for high efficiency solar cells. Currently, there is an important drive to improve solar cell efficiency beyond that of conventional thin film devices. Nanostructures such as quantum dots (QDs) and nanowires (NWs) are of interest because their electronic energy levels differ significantly from bulk materials, and it is postulated that they can provide absorption of more solar energy over a broader wavelength range. Thus, predicting the optical properties of such nanostructures in terms of size and shape serves as a guide in manufacturing the next generation of solar cells. During the EAPSI program, the principal investigator collaborated with the host and his graduate and undergraduate students. The main focus of their research was to experimentally determine mechanical properties of nanoparticles under applied stress and strain forces. The mechanical behavior on such small scales is also very different from that of bulk materials, and applied forces directly alter the electronic properties as well. Nanomaterials currently have a wide range of applications including consumer electronics. Through discussion and analysis, the principal investigator developed a new method of applying her model to predict outcomes of such mechanical experiments and the subsequent electronic structure of interest to both herself and her host. The EAPSI program was of significant impact to broader cultural and educational aspects beyond science and techonology. The principal investigator was encouraged by the host and his students to become integrated into their academic and social sphere during her stay in the host country. She was able to improve her proficiency in the local language, which she had studied for 4 years prior to participation in the EAPSI. She was introduced to scientific terminology specific to her field of study. The principal investigator accompanied her colleagues on visits to historical sites, and travelled with them to a scientific conference in a different city. There, she established contacts with other leaders in her field from universities and institutes around the world. The principal investigator also presented two talks in English to her colleagues describing her research work, as well as her personal educational background, career plans, and extracurricular pursuits. These talks generated very interesting discussions among her peers, comparing various socioeconomic conditions in the U.S. and host country. The principal investigator aided her colleagues to improve their English skills. In addition, she continues to provide guidance drafting personal statements and resumes to her colleagues in the host country, many of which are seeking admission to U.S. academic institutions. The principal investigator made three professional visits after the end of the EAPSI program while still in the host country, visiting the centers of three researchers that were acquaintanced with her U.S. advisor. These personal contacts generated further plans for future collaborations. The principal investigator continues to maintain all of the relationships established throughout her stay in the host country. Overall, the EAPSI program facilitated an invaluable means to broaden the applicability of her research, and to forge lasting ties with scientists in the host country.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Office of International and Integrative Activities (IIA)
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Program Officer
Carter Kimsey
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Sburlan Suzana
United States
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