Thursday, January 2, 2020

URSP Student Dina Michel Investigates the Anomalous Hall Effect to Find Materials Which Overcome Silicon’s Limitations in Order to Push Technology Forward

I am a senior in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and I participated in condensed matter physics research this semester thanks to my URSP funding. In my project, I investigated how the Anomalous Hall Effect (AHE) seen inCoNb3S6was affected when I doped the compound with 10% iron (Fe) in order to create Co0.9Fe0.1Nb3S6. I first got interested in this project when I saw a presentation that my now-mentor Dr. Nirmal Ghimire gave about the importance of researching quantum materials. The technologies that govern our everyday lives rely on silicon, which will soon reach its limit. The solution is to find materials which overcome silicon’s limitations in order to push technology forward–the applications of research in this field would eventually make quantum computers a reality!

I hope to pursue graduate studies in physics, so participating in this project has helped me to prepare for that next step in my academic career by allowing me to conduct an impactful and innovative research project as an undergraduate. On a weekly basis, I worked in the lab almost daily to synthesize crystals, prepare suitable samples for measurement, and measure their properties –in particular, the Hall effect. At the same time, I continued reading papers and books relevant to the subject of my research in order to build a solid foundation of knowledge of the topic. Over the course of the semester, I learned that conducting research is unpredictable–often we end up doing work that is different than what we had originally set out to do. I have also improved my time management and my ability to communicate scientific topics to a general audience –skills that I will find useful in any professional as well as academic setting in the future.