Physics Department Student Research

Uploaded by MountHolyokeCollege on 19.04.2011

Janice Hudgings, professor and chair of physics: We see the education of physics majors as
being a combination of classroom work and then this very strong emphasis in the
research labs. We require that all students do independent research. We think of this as the
heart of what a physics education should be about.
Amy Plunk '11, physics major: I wanted to get involved in creating efficient lighting.
We are looking at an organic LED. We have high current through it using these two probes.
Hudgings: We make these thermal maps of devices as they're operating and we look for hotspots in them
that will tell us where things are going wrong. Plunk: All the little circles you're seeing
are damage on the device. We are really trying to understand how and why those damaged areas
form. I was able to use a lot of my skills from both the optics class and my first semester
working in her lab and apply them to working with OLEDs (organic light emitting diodes).
Hudgings: We built a lab for a new professor who came aboard, Alexi Arango.
And this lab is really neat. It's a fabrication facility where now we can build next-generation
solar cells and organic LEDs. So, energy efficient lighting, right here at Mount Holyoke.
Emily Tansey '13, physics major: Since I was going to be an environmental studies major
prior to this, obviously solar energy is right up my alley. I wanted to get involved with this project.
I think this is an amazing way to contribute to renewable energy research innovation.
Alexi Arango, assistant professor of physics: Undergraduate students can come into this
lab and in a matter of days be experts at fabricating solar cells.
Student: So we'd be bringing the vial in and the chloroform, just like we're doing right now.
Arango: It's quite unique for a liberal arts college to have this fabrication capability.
Hudgings: The research experience in combination with journal publications and conference talks are
exactly what students need for getting into some of the best graduate schools in the country.