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March 23, 2016 at 1:04 pm

Prasai Awarded Fellowship for Computer Design of Materials

By Jean Andrews
Physics & Astronomy

Physics PhD student Kiran Prasai

Physics Ph.D. student Kiran Prasai

Kiran Prasai, an Ohio University doctoral student in Physics & Astronomy, has received the Donald Clippinger Graduate Fellowship for the 2016-17 academic year. The award includes a $15,000 stipend plus a full tuition scholarship for fall and spring semesters.

Prasai is a fifth-year student pursuing a Ph.D. in Physics. He is writing his dissertation under the supervision of Dr. David Drabold, Distinguished Professor of Physics. He is from Jhapa, Nepal.

His dissertation project is ‘Gap Engineering and Simulation of Advanced Materials.’

“I’m investigating how to design a material so that it possesses a specific property of our choosing,” Prasai explains. “For example, we might want to design a semi-conductor with wide bandgap to be used in LED devices or we might want to design inter-convertible conducting and insulating phases of a material so that it can be used in data storage devices.”

“My research for past three years at Ohio University has led to a new method of constructing computer models of materials with a desired electronic band gap. The band gap of materials is central to their applications, particularly for photovoltaic or memory materials. An ability to engineer materials with a desired band gap may enable us to improve these materials in terms of their performance and cost.”

Prasai will use the fellowship to further develop his method and to use the method to gain insights into the structure of advanced materials.

“I hope to fully develop my method of gap engineering by integrating it into a state-of-art ab initio molecular simulation method. This is a more sophisticated and computationally demanding scheme, but offers greater accuracy and flexibility than our earlier calculations. I hope to use it to study and understand memory materials used in CBRAM, which is a new class of memory materials, known as Conducting Bridge Random Access Memory.”

The Donald Clippinger Fellowship is one of five Named Fellowships funded each year by Ohio University. Schools and departments may nominate one graduate student for the competitive program, which is managed by the Ohio University Graduate College. The program features the John Cady Fellowship, the Donald Clippinger Graduate Fellowship, the Claude Kantner Graduate Fellowship, the Anthony Trisolini Graduate Fellowship, and the Graduate College Fellowship.


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