At the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, “ensur(ing) access to affordable,reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030 1” is adopted by 161 countries as asustainable development goal. Development of sustainable energy is urgent and inevitable for oursustainable development, and my goal is to work as a professional to contribute to this cause.The world’s energy demand, which depends 80% on fossil fuels, is estimated to increase by 30%by 2040 2.
Sustainable energy is the key to “promote sustainable economic growth”, “makehuman settlements sustainable”, and “combat climate change”, which are 3 goals adopted at thesummit. Solar power has gathered increasing interest in the last decade, but remains as low as 2%of the entire energy demand 3. The domaining material in solar power is crystalline-silicon,which has an indirect bandgap.
This requires a stack of silicon layers to absorb sunlight, leadingto a high cost for the protection of crystalline-silicon upon installation. At Yale University, Dr.Gary Haller and Dr. Lisa Pfefferle have done research on increasing the efficiency and decreasingthe cost of solar cell devices by using nanomaterial additives, such as quantum dots and carbonnanotubes. If admitted, I wish to work with Dr. Haller or Dr. Pfefferle on developing thesetechnologies, which I believe are necessary to develop clean and sustainable energy solutions.My childhood in China has made me a first-hand witness of the pollution fueled by the rapidgrowing economy.
Energy supply in China depends heavily on coal, which produces nitrogen andsulfur oxides which seriously pollute the air. The air was opaque due to air pollution (PM 2.5)throughout the year. The rapid economic development caused a shortage of energy supply perperson, shifting the government’s focus to meeting the energy supply rather than protecting theenvironment. It was clear to me that the implementation of sustainable energy is the only way toensure sustainable growth in such a developing country with an expanding population andeconomy. This experience is the genesis of my academic and professional path.I pursued my undergraduate degree in Applied Chemistry at Waseda University after returning toJapan.
Waseda University is not only the best private school in Japan in academia, but also themost diverse, accepting and graduating the largest number of international students. In the firsttwo and a half years, I dedicated myself to absorbing the wide range of knowledge andexperimental skills. In addition, I committed to gain a broader context by studying English andAmerican culture in Boston and Florida during my vacations. In the last one and a half years, Iconducted research on Applied Crystallization at Hirasawa-Kohori Lab. Professor IzumiHirasawa is a leading chemical engineer in Japan (https://www.wasedaapplchem.
jp/en/faculty/izumi-hirasawa/).I collaborated with an engineering company and pilottesteda new prototype for synthesizing organic nanocrystals. I was invited to present this work atthe annual meeting of the Society of Chemical Engineers, Japan. I am currently working with professor Ayaskanta Sahu at New York University.
We focus onnovel organic-inorganic hybrid nanocrystals (Quantum Dots) that are cheaper and less toxiccompared to Cadmium chalcogenide and Indium pnictogenide QDs. Recognizing that scalableand affordable access to environment-friendly materials is the gateway toward implementation ofclean energy, I led our first project on colloidal IV-V family quantum dots focusing on tinphosphides. Metal phosphides have recently been identified as a promising family of earthabundant electrocatalysts for the hydrogen-evolution reaction (HER) 4. My objective was todevelop a benchmark HER electrocatalyst. To date, most phosphides are synthesized with costlyand pyrophoric phosphorous precursors. I have synthesized phase pure crystalline tin phosphideswith a novel phosphorous precursor which is safe in contact with air and economically favorable.I fully characterized the nanocrystals regarding crystalline phase, morphology, surface conditionand spectroscopy (please see my writing sample).
In addition, I spent some time in professor Dong Kyun Ko’s lab at New Jersey Institute of Technology learning thin film device fabricationand characterization. We hope this experimental work will contribute to the development ofsustainable energy.My long-term goal is to actively promote the worldwide implementation of green energy to meetthe need of the expanding population and advancement of technology.
The increasing efficiencyof solar modules will propel the implementation of photovoltaics along with continuous supportfrom governments and organizations. Asian Development Bank (ADB) has funded numerousprojects so that many developing countries in Asia now benefit from solar power. This effort hasled to the result of Asia contributing to 60% of the total photovoltaics newly installed in 2016 3.Working at such an inter-disciplinary and international organization requires a strong expertise.As an example, one out of three ADB employees have earned PhD degrees. I want to polish myknowledge and experience working alongside Dr. Haller or Dr. Pfefferle as my next goal in mycareer path.
I am expected to earn my Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from NYU, one of the mostoutstanding private universities in the United States. I speak Japanese, Chinese and English. I amconfident in living in a multicultural environment and communicating with people from differentbackgrounds.
I have passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE Chemical) exam. I am activelypursuing funding for my PhD study, including one result coming out by the end of February. Asshown in my engagement in multiple duties at our lab (please see my resume), I am a dedicatedand responsible person.
I am also motivated and excited that the experience at Yale University isan important step towards my future.