Meet the Future – Physics PhDs Present

The School of Physics at UNSW offers guided expertise to early career physicists throughout their PhDs.  Across a spectrum of specialised fields, these young researchers are expected to undertake in depth studies and conduct original analysis.  Part of the process of gaining one’s PhD is garnering the ability to present in a public arena on a unique scientific topic.  As our PhD students near graduation, presentations are organised within the school so that fellow PhDs, scientists and academics can listen and make comment.  These are the Physics PhD Presentations for December 2021:  


Friday 10 December 9:30am

Joe Chen - Early Career Cosmologist 

Chasing neutrinos in the sky

Joe’s PhD aims to improve the understanding of the impact massive neutrinos have on the cosmic large-scale structure. The relic neutrino background plays a major role in shaping the evolution history of the Universe, in particular during the late time gravitational clustering of matter. The ongoing effort to incorporate massive neutrinos alongside cold dark matter in cosmological simulations is necessary for the analysis of upcoming observational survey data from experiments such as the ESA Euclid mission. Though the inherent nonlinear nature of the dynamical process in structure formation, in combination with neutrinos' thermal characteristics are extremely costly computationally to achieve high resolution results for a wide parameter range.

In Joe’s thesis, novel techniques in perturbative representations of massive neutrinos are presented and implemented in cosmological simulations. This culminates in the hybrid n-body pipeline and contributes to higher resolution predictions in large scale structure clustering statistics.

Event Link

Friday 17 December 10am

Lara Gillan - Early Career Condensed Matter Physicist

Understanding the role of carrier and spin dynamics in emerging photovoltaics

Lara’s PhD work examines the properties of emerging photovoltaics which effect the power output of these devices. With excellent capacity for cost-effective power generation, emerging solar cell technologies based on organic and perovskite materials are compelling alternatives to conventional semiconductor technologies currently dominating the commercial market. While there has been much work investigating novel materials and architectures to improve the performance of these devices, a sufficient understanding of the physics which dictate their operation remains yet to be achieved.

In order to optimise emerging solar cell technologies, it is crucial to understand the processes intrinsic to charge carrier generation and the material properties which determine the evolution of these states. Here we employ a combination of electron spin resonance spectroscopies and time resolved microwave conductivity measurements to unravel the dynamics of photogenerated species in both thin films and operating photovoltaic devices.

These studies contribute to more informed understandings of how these emerging photovoltaic materials operate, which will help to pave the way for improvements in material and device design.

Event Link