Like so much of the work conducted at Clarkson, Kelly Mulvehill's research uses complex science to meet future challenges.
Using computer modeling, she's taking an in-depth look at silicon and the way it changes form — like water — from solid to liquid to gas.
"Silicon is key to so many of the products we use," she says, "like solar panels. Right now, I'm helping to find a way to make silicon wafers more efficiently. These are used in the photo-voltaic cells that make solar panels produce energy. If I'm successful, my research could make solar a lot more affordable."
"This would mean more wide-spread use of solar as an energy source and less reliance on fossil fuels, like coal and oil," says Brian Helenbrook, professor of mechanical and aeronautical engineering at Clarkson. He's been instrumental in forging and strengthening the long-standing relationship between the University and solar cell equipment manufacturer Applied Materials, which is helping fund this project.
A junior at Clarkson, Mulvehill praises the University's Summer Research and Honors programs for giving her the opportunity to conduct such high-level research — while receiving housing and advising.
"And doing this in summer," she says, "lets me take part in other programs only offered during the school year, like a semester overseas. This fall, I'll be taking classes and doing more research in Singapore. I feel like Clarkson is the key. It's unlocked so many doors for me — and my future."