Dr. Jerry Harris, associate professor of chemistry, was accepted as a NASA Faculty Fellowship member. Harris will work to develop more efficient solar cells to support research for the Exploration Mission Directorate. He and his intern, Nick McKibben (Nampa, Idaho), will be working at NASA Glenn in Cleveland, Ohio, for ten weeks with other scientists from NASA’s Photovoltaic and Power Technology branch.
Harris specializes in materials chemistry and the production of new compounds and is going to NASA Glenn with McKibben to work with several scientists in NASA’s Power Technology branch. Due to a grant provided by the NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium, McKibben, a senior chemistry major, will assist Harris. This is not Harris’ first experience with NASA; he was with them ten years ago on other solar cell and battery projects.
The project focuses on creating a solar-cell growth design that allows for evenly distributed quantum dot structures and therefore, more efficient solar cells. But this research doesn’t only benefit NASA. “The partnership will strengthen the tie between NNU and NASA Glenn Research Center and provide a valuable research experience for me, which will ultimately impact many STEM students when I return to campus,” said Harris.
Harris and McKibben will be leaving the end of May to begin the project on June 3.