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let there be light

Poornima Peiris

Epi. #13 Meet the Curator | let there be lightPranoti | Poornima
00:00 / 04:28

Harvard University

Epi. #14 Meet the Curator | let there be lightPranoti | Poornima
00:00 / 12:37

Please explain your research in simple words

I'm currently working with a Nanophotonics group that studies the absorption of nanomaterials, multispectral analysis as well as nanostructured semiconductors and metallic nanowires. These materials are used to fabricate electromechanical and photonic sensors for various applications such as precision medicine, agriculture, environmental studies and microfluidics. I am specifically focusing on dveloping a state of the art multispectral imaging camera/technique for a mining application etc.

First gen student/opportunities/nanophotonics simplified/scicomm ways to connect

What can the followers expect in your curation week?

How did you end up in your current research field?

I just have always had a fascination for things in the nanoscale and how we can manipulate them at such a small scale. Also I realized there is not much women working in these area whether its lack of exposure or not much inclusivness in the area. I had some experience in the clean room in a nanoscale facility and thought it was very intriguing,even though at times with the kind of procedures it was kind of overwhelming, such as handling some deadly neurotoxins to get good results. Thereon after I took a class on BioMEMS devices and afterwards talking to the professor and geting introduced to his lab group, I started working in this field.

Nanophotonics, I would say there's lot of physics involved and specifically and looking at optical properties, so you could say in the optics section and the interaction of light with different objects and analyzing those properties at the nanoscale.

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'm currently new to the field so, still discovering my footing and I suppose the project I am working on currently will require more time and commitment. However, due to funding/publishing and etc I cannot reveal too much into the specifics of the nature of the project as the information is still limited to those within my group. It is basically analyzing a multi spectral sensor equipped with special nanowires to image certain objects that is not usually visible in the RGB range cameras and in the future could potentially be used with a handheld device.

1. Unlimited access to a mentor, 24/7 and direct replies to emails right away ( I know they have a life! in the real world haha)

2. Being able to instantly digest a research paper/program that is helpful for the next steps in my research so I can proceed quickly.

3. Being able to read minds, specifically withing my research group so I can better interact and know exactly what my lab partner means to avoid any confusion!

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 progressing with the mining project I am working on seeing where it leads and what new things we discover in relative to our sensor/device. Also perhaps some happy accidental discoveries, as recently we had a similar experience and it worked in our favor.

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

I think funding is still a major issue in all areas of science but specifically in certain specified fields that incorporate many different components. But also I think operating at such a small scale, instrumentation to analyze certain procedures or look at devices is still being developed and also very expensive. I think manipulating materials and how we can apply it to certain uses is still a big question mark and how these materials/devices can impact humans and animals alike especially when interacting in the body etc.