Congratulations to Lee Aspitarte, 2015 recipient of the Ben and Elaine Whiteley Materials Research Fellowship
Lee Aspitarte is a fourth year PhD student working with Prof. Ethan Minot, and recipient of this year’s Ben and Elaine Whiteley Materials Research Fellowship. He is studying photocurrent generation in photodiodes fabricated from single carbon nanotubes (CNTs). CNTs are exciting candidates for next generation solar technology because they undergo Multiple Electron-hole pair Generation (MEG), where carriers excited by a photon with an energy of more than twice the band gap can decay by exciting additional electron-hole pairs. By utilizing MEG, CNT based solar technology could exceed the theoretical limit on solar power conversion efficiency for silicon based technology, 29%. The research funded by this fellowship will study MEG in CNT photodiodes by manipulating the dielectric environment surrounding the CNT, affecting the electron-electron scattering processes that lead to MEG. The knowledge gained from this study could directly impact design considerations for next-generation high-efficiency MEG based solar cells. Mr. Aspitarte received the Peter Fontana Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award in 2012 and has already co-authored two papers on his research at Oregon State.
The Ben and Elaine Whiteley Endowment for Materials Research, established in 2007, provides support for materials research in the College of Science. In particular, it provides fellowship support for students to work full time during the Summer in a research laboratory, working on materials research related topics.