Søren Ulstrup, an ALS postdoc who received his Ph.D. from Aarhus University in Denmark last year, was selected by the Aarhus University Research Foundation as one of five promising young scientists to receive its prize for outstanding doctoral thesis. The title ofSøren’s thesis was “A Direct Study of the Electronic Structure of Graphene.”
With these awards, the Aarhus University Research Foundation recognizes work that includes a significant amount of new and important results that have been communicated extensively to both peers in the scientific field and to a broader audience via public media. The official Aarhus University Research Foundation video of Søren describing his work is posted below with English subtitles:
Søren’s full award citation (in Danish) can be found at the Aarhus University Research Foundation site. In translation, it says, in part:
Laser Pulses Reveal Huge Potential in 2D Fabric
With his studies of graphene, Søren Ulstrup, among others, showed how to manipulate the substance’s electronic properties and its quality in the manufacturing process. And these factors are also crucial.
“Graphene has some really wonderful features that you want to use in combination with other materials. It can be used for enhancing surfaces and protection against corrosion, but because of its ability to conduct electricity and heat, it is particularly relevant to electronic components and energy storage in solar cells, for example,” he says.
“We exposed the graphene to some ultrafast laser pulses. And it turned out that with the laser light we could bring many of the material’s electrons out of their ground state. The energy the free electrons create inside the graphene could be ‘harvested’ in a solar cell,” says Søren.
The consequence is that a graphene-based solar cell has the potential to be extremely effective. Whether it works in practice remains to be seen. But the international attention on Søren Ulstrup’s result is beyond doubt—and he leaves it to others to build the solar cell.
Søren is currently investigating the electronic properties of new low-dimensional material systems with the MAESTRO group at Beamline 7.0.2. The goal is to use state-of-the-art photoemission experiments with nanoscale spatial resolution in addition to energy and momentum resolution to uncover the electronic texture of complex nano- and micron-sized materials.