Welcome to my research page! Here you will find information on research projects that I've participated in, including finished papers and posters. So far I have participated in two different labs at my undergraduate institution and completed an independent project in each of them. Here you will find descriptions of my experiences in these labs, and both of the research posters I created.
During the summer of 2018, I completed my second research project as an undergraduate at Mount Holyoke College. Throughout this time I worked with Professor Spencer Smith in his lab at Mount Holyoke where we used mathematical and computational methods to explore the behavior of fluid systems. There are a few different projects that are conducted in his lab, which I spent some time exploring during the Spring 2018 semester before beginning my project over the summer.
During the Spring 2018 semester, I also took a course taught by Professor Smith titled "Themes in Physics and Art". In this course we explored the intersection between physics and art by examining the role that physics plays in artistic media and composition, as well as discussing how physics can be an inspiration for art. For one of the units of this course, we studied the art of paper marbling, and how this particular artistic medium is highly dictated by physics, particularly fluid dynamics. During this unit, Spencer invited a couple of professional paper marblers who have a studio in Amherst MA to come in to our class and give a demonstration on paper marbling. Everyone in the class was fascinated by the process of paper marbling, as well as the beautiful patterns that emerged from it.
Feeling inspired by this course, I decided that I'd like to use my time during the summer to study the intersection between physics and art more in depth. After discussing this with Spencer, he came to me with the perfect project to meet this goal: the paper marblers who gave the demo for our class showed an interest in working with us to study the physics behind the art of paper marbling, and would allow us to study the physics behind the art of paper marbling, and would allow us to come in to their studio to conduct experiments. This proposal was really exciting to me, so I agreed to participate in this project.
While taking the physics and art course, I also developed an interest in fractals. When observing the images created from paper marbling I noticed that they appear to have similar properties to some fractal images, particularly those that exhibit self-repeating patterns. This inspired me to incorporate fractals in to my study and analyze the marbling images by determining if they have any fractal properties.
Throughout the summer, Spencer and I worked on developing a program that analyzed the fractal properties of an image, particularly the fractal dimension, that would be used on the images we create from paper marbling. Additionally, we spent two days in the paper marbling studio creating images by experimenting with the viscosity of the solution the paints are dripped on to, and the number of times we dragged the comb through the paints. The result was a collection of beautiful marbling images, most of which we ran through the program that was written to analyze them. The result from our analysis of the images was the conclusion that the images created from paper marbling have fractal properties to them.
To present these findings, I created a research poster which I presented at the Mount Holyoke College SPS Summer Research Poster Session in September 2018. This project also led me to the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Conference which took place in Atlanta Georgia in November 2018. At this conference I presented my poster at the technical poster session, and attended some talks on various applications of fluid dynamics.
I have shared this poster below, which goes over some background information on paper marbling and fractals, then discusses the theory behind the project, which was inspired by a paper cited in the poster. It also outlines the processes we used to create the marbling images, and analyze the images using a program written in Python. Finally, it discusses the results of the projects as well as possibilities for future work.
A full sized version of the poster can be viewed by clicking on the image.
For more information on the professional paper marblers we worked with please visit Chena River Marblers on their website by clicking here
The summer of 2017 was my first experience participating in research in a physics lab. That summer I worked with Professor Alexi Arango in his lab at Mount Holyoke College, where we attempt to create devices that generate electricity using solar energy. The ultimate goal of this lab is to construct efficient tandem cells, which would lead to large-area, lightweight, flexible solar cells. Conducting research in this lab was a lot of fun and an excellent first experience in a physics lab. It was also very rewarding since it contributes to the increasingly important task of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions.
The summer I was working there we focused on experimenting with lead-sulfide (PbS) quantum dots as an absorption layer for the devices we constructed. Quantum dots are basically very small semiconductor particles that are only several nano-meters in diameter. Lead-sulfide quantum dots are an attractive material for creating solar cells because they have a low fabrication cost. Throughout the summer, I worked with a few other students to familiarize ourselves with the process of creating PbS quantum dot solar cells by taking part in experiments on each of the different steps in fabricating these solar cells, collecting data on absorption, open-circuit voltage and efficiency, and understanding what the data we collected was telling us about these devices. By the end of the summer, all of us had chosen a part of the fabrication process of these solar cells to conduct our own experiment on, and present our findings in a poster.
The part of the process I chose to focus on was the ligand exchange treatment ft the PbS absorption layer of the cells. The goal of my experiment was to try out a different chemical for the ligand exchange treatment in the cells than the one we had been using for most of the summer.
The poster I have shared below begins by providing details on the role that the ligand exchange treatment plays in the function of the solar cell. It then discusses the purpose of conducting this experiment, the process of the experiment, and the results. Finally, it presents the possibilities for future experiments. I presented this poster at the Mount Holyoke College SPS Summer Research Poster Session in October 2017.
A full sized version of the poster can be found by clicking on the image.
For more information on the Arango Lab please visit the website by clicking here