Research at the Nano Level

Starting strong with electrical properties research in the Aidala Lab at Mount Holyoke College.

Academic focus: Physics major

Ye Zhang has been working in the Aidala Lab at Mount Holyoke for a year. The main goal of the research is to understand the various properties of a semi-conducting material, including how different factors affect charge mobility and trapping, using technologies such as Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM).

She and her fellow researchers also use a more specific measure called Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy (KPFM) in order to collect data about the material at hand, such as surface potential data. Specifically, they are looking at the electrical properties of materials, and KPFM is used as one of their tools of measurement.

This semester, Ye is studying a material called quantum dots and her work has applications in solar cells, optoelectronic devices, and novel computing devices. Her goal is to study how oxidation affects charge mobility and other properties of this material, in particular, using the technologies at her disposal. 

In the summer of her first year, Ye learned the foundations of the lab and studied the fabrication and characterization of organic semiconductor examples. Ye also did a short-term internship in Shanghai for a specialty chemistry company where she worked in the department of trade and distribution.

Ye emphasizes that a profound factor in helping her choose her major was the support and encouragement she received from the Physics Department at Mount Holyoke.