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Undergraduate Student Ankit Sharma Investigates Nanoelectronics

Texas ECE undergraduate Ankit Sharma worked on a research project that looks at nanowalls as a potential material for light sensors. Ankit has worked with Prof. Deji Akinwande on a project called “The Optoelectronic Properties of CVD-grown MoS2 Nanowalls.” 

Conversation with Ankit previously posted on the site of the Office of Undergraduate Research

Briefly describe your research project.

My research project is called “The Optoelectronic Properties of CVD-grown MoS2 Nanowalls.” MoS2 is a compound that displays interesting electronic properties when exfoliated into thin layers, similar to carbon-based graphene. My project aims to study a nano-wall structure of MoS2, isolated through experimentation, as a potential material for low-power, light-sensing electronic sensors.

How did you decide that you wanted to pursue research?

I became interested in research after joining my high school’s robotics team. I learned a lot about general engineering concepts and ended up getting involved in robotics research at a local university. When I started working on real engineering problems in a collaborative setting, I knew that research was an activity that I would enjoy in the future.

How did you get involved with your current research project?

I became involved after contacting my professor, Dr. Akinwande, after reading about some of his work. He invited me to his group meetings and introduced me to some graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, and soon I started helping them out with their existing projects. Before long, a study I was able to pursue materialized, and I was able to collaborate with other researchers to carry out the steps of the project.

Do you see your research connecting with your plans for your future?

I am interested in the cutting-edge of electronic devices, and research has given me a chance to become part of their creation. Research has given me a great preview of graduate education, and I’ve learned just as much about collaboration as I have about nanoelectronics. I also think the investigative mindset that research has given me will be useful throughout my academic and professional career.

What’s it like working in an electronic fabrication lab?

Working in the electronics lab is interesting, but just like any research, it takes plenty of dedication. I have spent days, nights, and weekends at the laboratory, often working on a single step of my project for several weeks. That being said, it’s an awesome feeling when you make progress on a problem with your colleagues.

What’s been the greatest reward of doing research? The greatest challenge?

Being persistent long enough on one problem to make progress on a solution is a constant challenge. However, the greatest reward had to be the feeling of accomplishment after completing my project and being able to present it, which made the difficulty worth the effort.

What advice would you give to a student who was thinking about research?

An important step is contacting your favorite professors about research and attending research seminars and group meetings. Also, reading articles from research journals is a great way to start learning about the current progress and horizons of a topic you are interested in.

Research Week showcases the exciting work of undergraduates across campus and highlights opportunities for students interested in getting involved. Co-sponsored by the Senate of College Councils and the School of Undergraduate Studies, Research Week takes place in the middle of April each year. Take a look at the online schedule of events to find out more about Research Week events.