Meet Mary, Our Latest PhD Student Collaborator!

Posted on Thu, Dec 13, 2018 by Ashley Wong

As scientists ourselves, we understand the importance of scientific collaboration between industry and academia. Over the years, we've worked together with various research groups and taken many PhD students on board with us. The latest PhD student collaborator to join us is Mary O'Kane!

Mary Ossila PhD student

Mary recently completed a internship with us. She has since started her PhD in Perovskites at the University of Sheffield with the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in New & Sustainable Photovoltaics (CDT-PV), also in collaboration with Ossila.

As part of this collaboration, Mary will continue to work with Ossila and produce theory guides for readers - so keep an eye out for those by subscribing to our newsletter, or following us on LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter!

During her internship at Ossila, Mary worked with our Dip Coater. Her main task was to use the Dip Coater to create uniform thin films with varying concentrations of PEDOT:PSS (AI 4083). We roped Mary in for a quick chat so you can find out more about her internship!

What did you work on during your internship?

Mary: My main task was to dip coat substrates with uniform thin films of various thicknesses, using different concentrations of PEDOT:PSS (AI 4083) solution and varying the temperature of the solution. I started by carrying out theoretical research on dip coating and looked up many different recipes. As it was my first time ever dip coating, it was very much a trial and error process!

Can you tell us about your experience with dip coating?

M: I didn't have much practical lab experience to begin with - most of my time in the lab previously was spent observing other researchers conduct experiments. However, l found the Dip Coater software really user-friendly and straightforward, so it was easy getting started after doing some research for beginners! Dip coating is a simple technique, and it is a great choice for when you want to scale up your device fabrication.

Ossila PhD student, Mary, working on substrates in the lab
Working with devices in the lab.

As a beginner, which feature of the Dip Coater did you find most useful?

M: I really liked how there was an option for automatic programming. It was useful because it lowers the chance of human error and increases the reproducibility. Also, as I was trying out quite a few different recipes, the automatic programming gave me confidence that any variability in my coated films was due to the different parameters I was testing, and not because I made a human error somewhere along the way!


What have you enjoyed most about your time here?

M: There was a lot of open collaboration going on. My colleagues were friendly and always willing to help whenever I had questions. My ideas and suggestions - including a few that I presented based on my experience with the Dip Coater - were always welcomed!

Ossila PhD student, Mary, using a glovebox
Coating substrates in a glovebox.

Can you let us know the area of research that your PhD focuses on?

M: My PhD focuses on perovskite solar cell (PSC) fabrication. A good thing about PSCs is that all of their layers can be solution-processed (e.g. dip coating). They've also achieved efficiencies similar to those of silicon solar cells. This makes PSCs a great candidate for large-scale manufacturing - I will be studying the feasibility of that. I think that's the plan anyway... I hear the "plan" can change a lot as you go through!


If you are a hardworking & ambitious individual who is interested in doing a placement, secondment, or internship at Ossila, please contact us.

Author: Ashley Wong

Hailing from a Psychology background, Ashley has an MSc in Organizational/Work Psychology from the Sheffield University Management School. Prior to joining Ossila, Ashley worked with two multi-national organizations, researching emotional labour in the life insurance industry. In 2017, she successfully led the process of writing & applying for a prestigious Institute of Physics Business Innovation Award, which resulted in Ossila winning its first-ever industrial award.