Sending Boron Nitride Nanotubes to Space

week 28_Haley.jpg

Haley Harrison

#65 Sending Boron Nitride Nanotubes to Space | Under the MicroscopePranoti | Haley
00:00 / 04:11

Doctoral Candidate of Nanoscience

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (USA)

#66 Sending Boron Nitride Nanotubes to Space | Under the MicroscopePranoti | Haley
00:00 / 15:18

Please explain your research in simple words

I work with boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs), and the goal of my work is to improve the compabitility between boron nitride and high temperature stable structural materials. My work is separated into two areas, the first focuses on improving stablility of boron nitride (BN) in solution via surface modification. The second area focuses on how we can use these materials effectively in structural materials.

I will start by introducing myself and explaining my background in science and how I got into the nano space. I will spend some time talking about my research and sharing about what boron nitride nanotubes are and what aerogels are and why they are interesting to nanoscientists like myself.

What can the followers expect in your curation week?

How did you end up in your current research field?

I found out that I like working with spectroscopy as an undergraduate student. I learned that spectroscopy was a fundamental tool for nanoscientists, and I ran with my interest from there.

I am a "nanoscientist" by training and my research spins from my interest in answering fundamental questions that have hindered the development of BNNT applications. For example everyone always wants a better answer to this question:
"How can we keep BNNTs from sticking together in solution?" This keeps me very busy.

How and where does your research fall in the domain of materials/nano science?

Which research project are you most proud of and could you explain it in simple words in the section we call #InOtherwords?

I am most proud of my work with aerogels. Aerogels are lightweight materials that, due to their nanoscale pore system, are extremely successful insulators. 

I would ask for better remote connectivity. In the time of COVID-19 the most important thing is to be able to communicate with everyone including the instrumentation. Like I said, I love spectroscopy, and our techs are doing most of the work right now. I wish I could log in remotely and see data and manage my experiments!

If you had 3 wishes to improve your research experience, what would you ask for (not promising anything here!)?

What are you most looking forward to in the next 3 months?

I am looking forward to finding some motivation to write my dissertation!

In my experience, there is a misconception that nano is a completely separate field from the other scientific disciplines. This rift causes problems because nano is not a separate field, it is very interdisciplinary by nature. I work with all types of chemists, engineers and physicists regularly and that interdisciplinary nature is why our field is so powerful.

Which challenges/questions is the nano/materials science field facing at the moment?