Polymer Science prof. receives research grant
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 00:01
A University of Southern Mississippi professor in the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials received a grant to continue progressive research on solar cells.
Sarah Morgan, an associate professor in the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials, received a $60,000 grant from the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, which is a part of a $270,000 group of grants for sustainability programs, which was issued to other schools, such as Auburn University, Arizona State University and Georgia Institute of Technology.
Morgan said she believes research is an incredibly important part of the student’s education.
“The generous funding from the Ray C. Anderson Foundation will support undergraduate and graduate students to pursue research in polymeric solar cells,” Morgan said. “Research is an integral part of the students’ education. Research focused on renewable resources is of paramount importance for a sustainable future.”
Morgan, alongside a team of researchers, is working to create a portable energy source through gathering light from the sun, which will then produce organic solar cells. The goal of the research is to transform light from the sun into electricity that can be used for basic needs in all aspects of daily life.
Kelly McLeod, an undergraduate researcher in Morgan’s lab, explained their research process and intent in depth.
“We are working on organic photovoltaic cells,” McLeod said. “These will be cheaper to make and take less processing (and less energy) to produce. The current problem is that our cells are not efficient enough in the electricity they produce to be able to be economically competitive with the inorganic cells. So we are researching ways to increase the efficiency of organic photovoltaics so we can get to that point.”
McLeod went on to explain the different uses for the solar cells the lab is hoping to accomplish.
“We also hope to be able to put them on flexible substrates so that, for example, you could roll a sheet of solar cells, hang it on a wall, and then roll it up at night,” McLeod said. “You could also attach it to the material of a backpack and use the energy gained while walking around campus to charge your phone.”
The School of Polymers and High Performance Materials at USM is known for its progressive research and has been nationally recognized and widely used across the world.
The Ray C. Anderson Foundation was launched in 2012 as a tribute to the late Ray C. Anderson, who is the founder of Interface, Inc., which has been globally recognized as a pioneer for the environment. To learn more about the foundation, visit www.raycandersonfoundation.org