Project Title: Two-Dimensional Materials: Science and Applications

Rachael working at wet bench




Project Summary

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.