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Little lights with big ideas

Rachel Oliver

Epi. #19 Meet the Curator | Little light with big ideasPranoti | Rachel
00:00 / 04:10

Professor of Materials Science

University of Cambridge

Epi. #20 Meet the Curator | Little light with big ideasPranoti | Rachel
00:00 / 34:51

Please explain your research in simple words

I work on a material called gallium nitride. If you have energy efficient light bulbs at home, based on light emitting diodes (LEDS) then gallium nitride is the material that the actual LEDs are made of. I look at the small scale (nano) structure of the material in devices like LEDs and try to understand it and engineer it, to get those devices to work better. I also engineer new nanostructures, for new devices.

Monday: What is a light emitting diode and why should you care?
Tuesday: Why does nanostructure matter in light emitting diodes?
Wednesday: How do we look at nanostructure in light emitting diodes?
Thursday: What else can gallium nitride do for you?
Friday: Diversity in (nano)science.

What can the followers expect in your curation week?

How did you end up in your current research field?

My training is in materials science, and the heart of that for me is the link between structure and properties of materials, and how you engineer those structures and properties to get better performance when using those materials in the real world. For many materials, the nanoscale structure is hugely important, and this is particularly true of gallium nitride.

My training is in materials science, and the heart of that for me is the link between structure and properties of materials, and how you engineer those structures and properties to get better performance when using those materials in the real world. For many materials, the nanoscale structure is hugely important, and this is particularly true of gallium nitride.

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 really proud of my work on atom probe tomography of nitrides. I am happy to explain this in simple words.

(admin note - listen to the extended podcast. Trust us, the decription is fascinating!)

I currently teach courses on Device Materials and Atomic Force Microsocopy.

If you teach, which are the courses would you like to mention?

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

Equality. Diversity. Inclusion.

We have recently installed a new microscope - it's a scanning electron microscope built to achieve world-class results in cathodoluminescence studies. I'm looking forward to seeing new data on a range of materials coming from that system. We should be able to do unique experiments.

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

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

For novel devices and quantum systems, one of the big challenges is manufacturability - going from making hero devices (where one excellent device allows you to write a fancy paper and all the others may fail) to manufacturing devices with a yield in excess of 90% or even of 99.9% is a huge leap, and many technologies fail to make it across that gap.