Every member of the global research community has been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But for Australian scientists, already geographically removed from their colleagues elsewhere in the world, the enforced isolation has been even more keenly felt.
Thankfully, conditions in 2022 have enabled Exciton Science representatives to travel widely and relatively freely for the first time in three years. Eliza Rokhsat, a third-year PhD student based at the University of Melbourne, was among the Centre members to begin reconnecting, travelling to the Graphene 2022 conference in Aachen, Germany.
For Eliza, who is studying the synthesis and characterization of 2D materials for electronic devices, it was an important, albeit daunting, opportunity to gain knowledge and inspiration from some of the leading members of her field.
“At first it was a bit scary, but they were very kind and very welcoming in the conference,” she said.
“Also, they were excited because no one else was from Australia. They were like, ‘all the way from Australia here, that's very exciting.’ They were also super keen to hear about what we are doing here.”
Eliza was particularly impressed by the plenary talk of Camilla Coletti, a member of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Italy.
“She is working on graphene and graphene based devices,” Eliza said.
“I was really impressed by how confident and powerful she was in explaining what she's doing in her group.
“I also heard from another scientist from Spain, Marianna Sledzinska of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, and she was talking about thermal connectivity of 2D materials and her recent works on MoS2/hBN heterostructure.
“She was also very good and I spoke with them both. There were a lot of women scientists there actually, working on electrical properties and thermal properties of 2D materials. It was very impressive. I was really inspired by these women.”
“Their lab is a miniature factory for electronic devices,” she said.
“I did one experiment with them, synthesizing of heterostructures of 2D material. I saw how they get a sandwich of different layers on top of each other for their transistor devices.”
Eliza is now aiming to use the knowledge she gained to replicate similar techniques back in Melbourne, and hopes for productive collaborations between Exciton Science and her new friends in AMO centre in Germany.
“What we hope to do is to directly deposit different 2D materials and make heterostructures with them,” she said.
“So it was really important to develop high quality 2D materials for the future of solar cells, transistors and memory devices.
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