My project was to investigate alternative battery chemistries to those commonly used in commercial applications. More specifically, I was to investigate thin film anodes for use in magnesium based energy cells. Magnesium cells are an attractive alternative to lithium due to the higher stability and abundance of magnesium. The main issue that arises in magnesium cells is poor reaction kinetics. During the course of my work, I made anodes from tin of varying thickness to test what thickness creates the optimal reaction kinetics for the cell.
I very much enjoyed my time researching this summer. My professor was an incredible resource, as were the graduate and PhD students I worked with. This research opportunity allowed me to learn more about the overall investigative process involved in research. It also gave me the opportunity to be trained to use many different types of lab equipment. This summer has laid a foundation for possible future work into research. This research experience has also given context to my education in materials science and engineering up to this point. I was able to use the topics I had been taught in the classroom and apply them to real situations that arose this summer.
I would recommend this program to anyone who has interest in pursuing research in an academic setting. It was overall very rewarding in terms of both my education and experience. This summer has informed what I am planning to do once I graduate from Penn. I could not be happier with the experience that I had this summer.