Electronic, optical, and magnetic materials: Preparation for graduate school
Recent UW MS&E graduate Ehren Mannebach reflects on his time as an undergraduate at Wisconsin: “I think that because I was able to get into the lab and do real hands-on research early on, starting as a sophomore and straight through to graduation, that really gave me huge a leg-up for graduate school.”
Ehren’s interest in research developed out of his coursework. He credits professor Chang-Beom Eom for giving him a solid foundation in the physics of x-ray diffraction, describing how, “[Professor Eom] taught the material in a really intuitive way, not just how to calculate things but also how to think about them, and apply the concepts to different problems we might not have talked about in class.”
Ehren worked hands-on with these ideas in an extensive undergraduate research project with the Paul Evans' group. He worked closely with graduate student Josef Spalenka to make transistors in which the organic semiconductor active material that carries the current is only one molecule thick, just a few nanometers. A week-long trip to perform synchrotron x-ray diffraction experiments on his monolayer transistors at Argonne National Lab was one of the highlights of Ehren's undergraduate research experience. During his week at the synchrotron, Ehren discovered that the crystal structure for monolayer thick films was different than for thicker films of the same material. Ehren was able to cap his research experience by publishing a first-author paper in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.
Ehren is now a graduate student at Stanford University. He is exploring research projects there using ultrafast time resolution in x-ray scattering, which is a natural extension of his undergraduate experience at Wisconsin. On how his time in the UW Materials Science department prepared him for graduate school Ehren says, “the upper-level undergrad courses I took at UW overlap very well with what is being taught now in my first semester here at Stanford, so I feel that my early introduction to this material puts me a step ahead of other students who may not have seen it yet.”