Leslie Jimison to Receive Klein Award
Stanford materials science graduate student Leslie Jimison has been chosen as the recipient of the 2009 Melvin P. Klein Scientific Development Award for her work at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Jimison will accept the award October 19 at the joint SSRL-Linac Coherent Lightsource Users' Meeting.
The recognition, which has been awarded annually since 2006, is given to undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs for outstanding research conducted at SSRL. The award comes with a $1,000 prize to help recipients disseminate their scientific results.
"The award is a kind recognition for my work at SSRL," Jimison said, adding that she will use the award funds to offset travel expenses. "It will allow me to attend a conference not otherwise possible, where I will share my ideas, learn new ideas from others and meet other people in my field."
Using the SSRL beamline, Jimison studied the conductive properties of semiconducting polymers—organic materials that could see use in technologies ranging from solar cells to flexible displays. The materials are characterized by amorphous regions punctuated by crystallites—tiny structures made of ordered patterns of atoms. Previous studies have shown that the arrangement of the crystallites within the non-crystalline regions has a large effect on the materials' electrical properties. Jimison's goal was to improve the overall understanding of the relationship.
"Because these organic films are relatively new materials, we don't know how the microstructure details affect charge transport," Jimison said. "We're trying to fill in the story."
Using the SSRL beamlines, Jimison and her colleagues developed a technique that combined X-ray diffraction data from several different analysis methods. The end result was a diffraction pattern that allowed the researchers to quantify aspects of the material structure not previously possible, including the ratio of crystalline to non-crystalline material present in the sample.
Jimison then applied the new technique to study the crystal structure in several lab-prepared samples. Jimison also made transistors out of the materials to study their electrical properties, looking for a correlation between the arrangement of crystallized regions and the materials' conductivity.
Working with her colleagues, Jimison is currently writing a paper to describe the new technique. Over the next few months, she hopes to refine the analysis method in order to extract more information and to study other materials systems.
"This was designed to be the first of a more general approach to study the microstructure of semiconducting thin films," she said. "There is lots of room for improvement."
Jimison is a fifth year doctoral student at Stanford. She was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow from 2005 to 2007, and received a bachelor's degree in materials science and engineering from North Carolina State University in 2004. She has co-authored journal articles in Advanced Materials, Physical Review and the Journal of Vacuum Science