During the Summer of 2018, Angela Paoletta ’19 participated in research at Penn State University as a Toshiba-Westinghouse Undergraduate Fellowunder the guidance of Prof. Aman Haque. Her project explored the effect of ion irradiation on Gallium Nitride (GaN) high-electron mobility transistors (HEMTs). GaN HEMTs are more radiation-hard than other types of field-effect transistors, which makes them more suitable for aerospace and nuclear applications that involve large doses of radiation. Angela characterized both fresh and irradiated GaN HEMTs to reveal their failure mechanisms under the effect of radiation. By quantifying the reliability of ion irradiated GaN HEMTs, this research illuminates areas where these devices could be improved in order to become even better suited for radiation-heavy applications.
The Toshiba-Westinghouse Undergraduate Fellows Program at Penn State is a great opportunity for students who are looking to do something completely new and different. While the focus is nuclear engineering, a Fellow’s lab placement is likely to be quite interdisciplinary.
Due to the learn-as-you-go nature of research, no prior exposure to nuclear engineering is required to learn the basics of the lab’s work or the specifics of the research project. A great deal of support is provided to the small group of fellows, especially by the program’s Director.
Additionally, this program provides many opportunities to bond with students from other schools through countless out-to-eat meals and fun-filled activities, such as escape room challenges, day trips, and overnight field trips. The culmination of the program involves a presentation to Westinghouse executives and a day of networking at the Westinghouse headquarters.
Information & eligibility: https://www.mne.psu.edu/TWFP/About.html