SciSoc Spotlight Issue 2 – Prof Rachel Oliver

14 September 2020. Professor Oliver is at the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy. A PDF version of this Issue is available here.

Research focus: Light-emitting semiconductor materials

My research interests focus on the characterization and exploitation of nanoscale (very small!) structures in semiconductor materials, particularly gallium nitride (GaN). The broad aim of my work is to achieve improved performance in GaN-based electronic and optoelectronic devices and to develop and implement novel device concepts.

What made you decide to pursue research?

I’ve always been really interested in the properties of the materials around me, and what causes them. As a child, I used to drive my Mum mad with questions like “Why isn’t milk transparent?” and “Why does metal feel colder than stone on a snowy day?”. Doing a degree in Materials Science in Engineering, answered some of my questions, but also opened up loads of others, so carrying on to research Materials Science further struck me as an exciting prospect.

What would be your advice to aspiring researchers?

It’s important to focus on the questions that really interest you! Research can be tough and frustrating at times, but if you really care about the questions you’re trying to answer it will help you stay the course.

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