My PhD focusses on improving materials for solar cells. One of the ways we can do this is by understanding more about their fundamental structure. So, in the last days of January I headed out to the Institute Laue-Langevin (or ILL) in Grenoble, where we can use neutrons to peer into the crystal structure of solar cell materials.
As it was my first trip to the ILL I spent my time observing and being trained on how to run the experiment. Although, reflecting on my trip afterwards, how to experiment with neutrons wasn’t the only thing I came away learning. Here are my 7 reasons to experiment abroad:
1) You get to work in places like this; The ILL (Institut Laue-Langevin) a world leading neutron scattering facility...
2) … and learn cutting edge experimental techniques first hand.
3) Your coffee breaks look like this.
4) When you set off a 30 hour scattering experiment you have time to go to places with a view like this (the Bastille in Grenoble)….
5) … and get American tourists to take pictures of you in front of mountains.
6) Not forgetting the chance for Instagram photos like this.
7) Then leaving after a week having had a crash course in a new experimental technique, a chance to practice another language and mountains of all important data.
Bethan is working on her PhD project: 'Structure, spectroscopy and photoelectrochemistry of photovoltaic materials' with Professor Mark Weller, Dr Daniel Wolversonand and Dr Laurie Peter.