The study of two-dimensional materials is a topic of growing interest within the field of condensed matter physics, as two-dimensional materials are a relatively new discovery with many potential applications. My PURM project was to carry out the first stages of the “EAGER” project. The long-term goal of the EAGER project is to use two-dimensional materials to create a quantum logic system that can operate at room temperature—that is, to essentially create a quantum computing system. Through PURM, my goal was to carryout the first major step of the EAGER project: to develop a method that will consistently yield monolayer VSe2—my material of interest—from the bulk crystal form of the material.
Developing a standard protocol for exfoliating VSe2 to monolayer and subsequently transferring it to a desired substrate introduced me to several aspects of the research process. I learned the importance and role of published research, as developing my protocol for VSe2 exfoliation and transfer involved reading many scholarly articles and then implementing the methods that other scholars had found successful. I also learned the importance and role of experimentation within research. There is very little published work on the exfoliation and transfer of VSe2, and, as a result, I often had to manipulate existing protocols for other materials to make the protocols functional for VSe2. I was also introduced to the importance of collaboration within scientific research, as the development of the protocol for transferring monolayer VSe2 from one substrate to another involved a significant deal of working with and learning from collaborators from groups at other universities.
By participating in PURM, I had hoped to discover if scientific research is a field that I am really interested in. Having completed my PURM project, I am now as eager as ever to continue with research and plan to continue with research throughout my time at Penn and beyond. Through PURM, I have found a lab and a project that I am extremely excited about and hope to continue with the lab throughout the school year.